So I’m a fast writer, or maybe a slow one?

For the readers at home, this type of entry used to be Becoming an Author.  Now it’s not.  Because I AM an author, just not a published one.  So it’s not technically wrong and technically is always the best kind there is. Mlah.

So yesterday some asked me to write them a story with a soft limit of 700 words.  Sitting down I figured it was no problem. Sure enough an hour later the story was done.  Great. Then I clicked the word count. I had pumped out 2000 words.

For the next 4 hours, I trimmed, cut, condensed and pared it down.  I cut out character building details and life events. An important conflict brought down to 3 sentences. Several detailed searches of the setting were cut, including a folk song in Russian that brought something to the character that was missing.  Then I ran hemmingwayapp and pared again. I finally got the story down to *close* to the limit and sent it to them.

Then I checked the next morning and the story was exactly what he DIDN’T want.  He was looking for more of a bio and less of a story. At least the limited was upped to 900 words.  So I wrote the bio, put in details of family and friends, important events and an asked for separate physical description.  Word count check 1800 words. I had to cut 900 words, so gone were the detailed descriptions. Important family members went from paragraphs to sentences.

The most important part to the person was the character’s early history.  I had devoted a lot of space to that and ultimately had to squish it into 2 paragraphs.  It was painful to cut the details that added so much richness, but ultimately I delivered what was asked for.  After 5 hours of painstaking editing.

Did I mention I’m getting $15 for this?  Cause I’m getting $15 for this. I’m thinking I should charge more for short stories than I do long ones.  I guess I just tend to be a bit wordy. At least I’m better than Robert Jordan. That’s something, right?

Published by Robert C Hartwell

I live in Northeastern Vermont in the US. I am currently working towards becoming an author. I am the proud father of two great kids.

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