Eliminate Words


The exercise is to create a story title by combining a color and a noun, an exercise meant to write a concise piece and to practice eliminating unnecessary words.  Rewriting and editing are hard tools for writers and I am no exception.  I remember as a young writer I never wanted to do the difficult editing, I just wanted to write it perfectly the first time. As I got older, I began to appreciate the opportunity to have a “do over,” a chance to correct and improve.  If only it were that easy in life.  If those opportunities existed, I can think of storylines in my life I would rewrite with abandon.  Of course, the elimination of words is a process that is difficult, we don’t like to eliminate, and we like to acquire:  clothes, people, possessions, and money.  We want more of most things so perhaps the lesson then, is to learn to want less, to say more with fewer words and to live more with less and to need less.  Here is my attempt to reduce.

The Taupe House

The house sits on a slightly raised lot, a bit higher than its neighbor to the west, which gives it a vantage point.  The front yard with its curved driveway and ample parking is small but welcoming and the vines trailing down beside the windows are lush and require frequent trimming.  It is the back yard that acts as a secret fantasyland complete with jungle-like foliage and pool.  The escape from the outside world is treasured.  Golden silence.

Another view and eliminate 20 words…

The Taupe House

I sit proudly on my perch looking down, just a bit, on my neighbors.  I am graced with swiftly growing vines.  My backyard is sheltered and jungle-like with a pool as the centerpiece.  I provide escape, relaxation and privacy.  Golden silence.

Eliminate 20 more words….

The Taupe House

I sit proudly on my perch graced with swiftly growing vines, my backyard sheltered, jungle-like, featuring a pool providing escape, relaxation and privacy.  Golden silence.


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4 responses to “Eliminate Words

  1. Kim

    Very nice – beautifully worded. Each reduction somehow seems to speak more; fewer, more carefully selected words hold deeper meaning.

    Also, that is a beautiful picture of the yard 🙂


  2. Nancy

    I like the photo too! It is interesting how you you can paint a picture with so few words. This is so hard for me to do! Also, once I write something it gets so stuck in my head, it is hard to see it another way. Excellent that you could shorten and rewrite…TWICE!
    Keep it up!


  3. What a beautiful, serene photograph and a wonderful exercise. To be able to communicate succinctly and clearly – and with beauty – is a gift, but can also be learned. It reminds me of my favorite quotation from The Dhammapada (Buddha’s Teachings): “Better than a thousand useless words is one single word that gives peace.”


  4. karen

    Barry’s been away for several days–that’s golden silence for me! 🙂 Love this picture and scene and seeing how you actually complete the exercise each time. Great idea!


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