Exercise Five

Source: Writing Forward. Take an original paragraph you’ve written and cut everything you can without losing the original meaning of the work.

Original:

Exhaustion of the deep, bone-weary variety has a unique way of numbing an emotional response. The trio — Addy, Khalid, and Markus — had watched the supply hopper come in through the dust storm, it’s drive flaring brightly enough to provide some light. When the exhaust plume went parallel to the ground, momentarily, and then inverted, they had enough energy to crouch as low as their pressure suits would allow. The hard whump of exploding fuel tanks rattled through their feet, and debris, mostly their provisions for the rest of the climb, rained down around them.

Edited:

Exhaustion of the bone-weary variety has a way of numbing emotional response. The trio had watched the supply hopper come in, it’s drive flaring brightly enough to provide some light. When the exhaust plume went parallel to the ground and then inverted, they had enough energy to crouch as low as their pressure suits would allow. The exploding fuel tanks rattled their feet, and debris rained down around them.

9 thoughts on “Exercise Five

  1. @Melissa Donovan
    At what point does the exercise become converting prose into journalism, though? It would seem that I would be repeating one of the things I hated so much about Asimov’s Foundation series. I found the writing incredibly dry, and newspaper-like.

  2. Well, I think the point of the exercise is to eliminate all of the modifiers so you can see the skeleton of the writing – the bare essentials. Then, you can go back and add the adjectives and adverbs that truly make the text more meaningful. It’s also a great exercise for increasing awareness about how a writer is using modifiers (too few? too many?). It could also be used for lessons in identifying parts of speech.

    Having said all that, there are no rules and ultimately you should use your own judgment when tackling writing exercises like this. I think you did a fantastic job and made excellent choices.

Comments are closed.