2 comments on “Shorter

  • My uncle had to keep writing on his PhD thesis until it went from 1200 pages to the 600 page maximum. He was upset that all the detailed information he had researched (on Hellenization of Jews under the Greek empire – things like attempts to reverse circumcision) couldn’t be crammed into 600 pages. He had to like, select the most significant items.

  • Robert Heinlein – Stranger in a Strange Land. The originally published novel received many compliments – and a few complaints – for how few superfluous words it contained. Tight. It had 160,087 words. The publisher had asked for 150,000, but allowed 160,000. Heinlein offered to put the final 87 words on a postcard, if needed. It was accepted, without postcard. The original finished manuscript had ca. 220,000 words. Eek.
    I have the opposite problem – trying to add enough detail and color to make a story more than a short-short. When I’m flowing, I type 19 words per minute. So about 200 words in a good hour – the flow is not continuous. 220,000 words – that’s 1100 good hours, on the same subject matter. Perhaps if a gun were pointed in my direction… Nah.

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