The economy of words… State your case clearly and concisely… Less is more… Why use four words when one will suffice… Keep it simple… Get to the point….
Lately, I have been hearing these words in one form or another on almost a daily basis. My wife, my editors, my family, and even my friends remind me that having an extensive vocabulary doesn’t mean you need to use it every time you speak or write.
Don’t get me wrong; it’s sound advice. In fact, it is advice that I have given on many occasions. As with all things in life, moderation is key. If you can write a compelling 100,000 word novel without adjectives or adverbs, then more power to you.
Although less is usually more, it is not always more.
Sure, I could simply write, “she ran.” That would effectively convey the message, but it doesn’t ignite the imagination. For example, I might want to make the scene a bit more descriptive: “Breathlessly, she ran as fast as she could, her calves burning as she sprinted down the narrow alley.”
I digress. The point of this article is that I decided to challenge myself with the concept of economy of words. I’m not one to back down from a challenge, even if it is self-imposed. Perhaps you would like to try this one yourself.
Utilizing the concept of less is more, write a compelling short story with at least one relatable character and a clear beginning and ending while keeping it as short as possible.
Today, I wrote the short story, Imprisoned. At less than 1,500 words, it is very short. As the shortest story I have ever written, I feel that I met the challenge. Imprisoned has a relatable character, a thought-provoking beginning, and a revelatory climax (yes, editors, I used the word revelatory because it adds weight to my point).
Honestly, I wasn’t sure I could do it. When I think beginning, progression, and ending, I’m normally thinking in the 50,000 to 100,000-word range. Oddly enough, I am very satisfied with this 1,500-word story.
I added Imprisoned as the top entry on my Short Stories page. Check it out and let me know what you think. Also, if you decide to accept the challenge, post a comment with a link so we can all check out your work.
If this challenge gains enough interest (likes, comments, and shares), I will post others and highlight those who successfully complete them.
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