Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Cutting Words

I have a job to do today. I need to cut 200 words from an article called "Contests Calling--Are You Ready?" I submitted the article to an editor who responded immediately that she thought it was a terrific article but she was no longer using them on her ezine. She suggested I send to another publication which she named.

I scoured the internet looking for writers guidelines for this particular publication that is a part of a large national organization of childrens' writers. I found the website but nowhere did I see anything about guidelines. Guidelines are important as they give word counts, format, whether reprints are accepted and much more. There was a link for Contact Us, so I clicked on that and sent a query regarding the article to the address that popped up.

Much to my surprise, only hours later I received a response from the editor saying he'd published a piece on contests about a year ago but would be willing to take a look at my article. Then came the killer statement--:"...of 750 words or less."  My article is 945 words.

A writer hates to cut words they've written. We sometimes take it rather personally. Those words belong to us. It takes a good eye to find the right words to cut and still leave the main idea and something of interest to the reader. On the other hand, cutting words can make a good article even better.

I had some options in this instance. I could send the article as is, and the editor is probably going to toss it aside in a hurry because I didn't follow the guideline he set. I could send the article as is and tell him that I would be willing to cut it to 750 words if he is interested in the article. That way, I will find out if he has interest in the article before I go to all the work of cutting those words. And third choice--I can revise the article, dumping 200 words and send it to him.

I had pretty much decided which of those three options to take, but I sent a message to my online critique group for some help in deciding. Every one of them said to cut it to the 750 words and send it, which is exactly what I'd decided to do. But having them all say the same thing made me feel it was the best choice.

Now--to cut and slice and chop at those words.

1 comment:

  1. Cutting and chopping is not fun, but sometimes necessary. Good luck with the piece.