Writing Right with Dmitri: Precision Prose
A lot of the work I do lately requires tight prose. One specific task involves the 150-word discussion. You may not realise how difficult this is until you try it. A 150-word page requires focus.
How can I tell the students about the Black Panther Party in 150 words? It's tricky. First, I need to know exactly what I want to say. How do I underscore the take-home message? I need a good thesis statement.
Before you can write short, you have to think long. Outline the larger context. I often start with 200 words or more, and then pare it down. The tricks you learn by doing this will be useful anywhere.
You may never need to do this. Maybe you will always have enough space to hold forth. But learning to pare down your prose will teach you to be precise, and still get your message across.
1. Go back and count the words in the preceding section.
Now, write a 150-word text based on the picture below: short-short story, essay, advert, whatever. See how hard easy it is?