Writing Tips

Writing Tip: Spotlight (Joss Whedon)

Earlier on, I encouraged your to prune away the unnecessary in your work. How has that been going?

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Joss Whedon is an American screenwriter, director, producer, comic book writer, and composer. I love his work in Firefly and Serenity.  Joss encourages us to cut away parts of our work in order to improve it. Just because you cut something now, doesn’t mean it is gone forever.

Here is the full quote:

“Here’s one trick that I learned early on. If something isn’t working, if you have a story that you’ve built and it’s blocked and you can’t figure it out, take your favourite scene, or your very best idea or set-piece, and cut it. It’s brutal, but sometimes inevitable. That thing may find its way back in, but cutting it is usually an enormously freeing exercise.” – Joss Whedon

How is the editing going? Have you found it beneficial?

Happy Writing Everyone!

16 thoughts on “Writing Tip: Spotlight (Joss Whedon)”

  1. I know of his work Buffy the vampire slayer was a favourite. Spike and Willow were favourite characters.

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  2. I do this. At first I resisted it; but resisting it didn’t help because the problem was always there, staring back at me defiantly, baiting me to act. So I did it. And it worked. But I always save the bits I cut out in a separate file. Sometimes they become the seeds for another story; or for a scene in another story. And most times they just sit there, in the file, waiting patiently, not doing anyone any harm. But sometimes I end up reinstating them to the story from which I excised them because the problem – the real problem – was that they were in the wrong place originally.
    I find that this compromise – cutting but never actually throwing away – works for me

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    1. That sounds like an excellent system! To be honest I hadn’t thought much about keeping past work once it’s cut but I can see now how effective that system is! Definitely going to cut away the necessary but keep it just in case. Especially since, like you said, it doesn’t hurt to keep it 👍🏻

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  3. Cutting away sentences hurts, especially when it’s for an assignment in class. You have to reach a certain word limit and when you cut out all of those unnecessary words, you ended up with five hundred or so words below the limit. I’m doing that now and paired with my inability to form a good argument, my close reading essay is turning out to be crap. 😦

    When it comes to my own personal creative writing, I find keeping a lot of sentences or scenes that I cut off in a story and use that to start a new one to be quite helpful. They give me an idea of where to start.

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    1. I find in essays it’s alway good to base your paragraphs off this structure: Topic sentence, concrete detail, support, support, contrite detail, support, support, concluding sentence 👍🏻 That format helps me flush out ideas. What are you working on?

      I’ve heard that a few times and I think it’s such a great idea! I’m definitely going to start doing that more now!

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  4. My editing process is haphazard…usually I write the first draft however I want, revise, send it to one or two betas and they critique it, I revise, I let it sit for a few weeks and I revise two times after that. Then if I get feedback for an editor or whatever, I revise again a time or two. Writing isn’t for sissies, that’s for sure!

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    1. It is such a great idea to give your time writing, to set it aside for awhile and get back to it. One of my professors told me that we have to give our writing space in order to truly see it the next time around.

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