One of my favorite events of the year is always the Miami Book Fair, which is held the week before Thanksgiving. It is one of the premier venues where authors and book lovers gather to meet, mingle and discover new books. Along with the usual schedule of activities and outstanding street fair, this year included an interesting community event called #6wordsmiami. The premise was really simple. People submit a six-word Miami-influenced story and the Fair published the best from among the 4,000+ entries.
Six words does not sound like a lot, but as the list below shows, a writer can express significant meaning in a mere half-dozen words. Here are some of my favorites.
- You: Category 5 hurricane. Me: shutters
- Tie that mattress down good, bro
- Without Castro, there is no me
- T’was a dark and stormy party
- Liquor smell. Like home. Like Dad.
- He came. He saw. Date over.
Now why is something like #6wordsmiami helpful for writers to know about? Three reasons immediately come to mind.
- Sometimes you can say more by actually saying less.
- The right words, even if only a few, can create a powerful image that engages all the senses
- It is a reminder of how important it is for writers to choose their words carefully
So as you write and rewrite and rewrite again, ask your self these two questions.
- Could I say what I just said with fewer words?
- Could I use a different word or sentence structure to create a more powerful image for the reader?
Chances are if you take an honest appraisal of your work, you will find places where you can improve it by simply remembering to use fewer words or using an even better word than the one you have chosen so far.
Remember no one buys a book based on the number of words or page count. They buy it because it is good writing that impacts them.