Conorschild's Workshop: Brevity is the So

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Update 27/03/08

This workshop is now CLOSED. All entries are at the end of this journal. As always, we encourage you to critique each other, and those of you who did not participate should try offering critique as well, to be involved if not anything else. There are 8 entries in total.

Thank you

:postit: conorschild’s Workshop: Brevity is the soul of wit

conorschild has been a member of deviantArt since 2005, and has certainly made his mark in a rather different way than most. In fact his writing ability is often underestimated, often overshadowed by his massive impact with in the deviantArt forums. Nevertheless, his charming work and good ideas have led to him hosting this rather interesting workshop.


"Brevity is the soul of wit," said Shakespeare. But being concise in your writing shouldn't just be restricted to humour: it's paramount in all kinds of writing. While details are important, too much background and information that isn't related to the plot can slow down your piece and make the reading painfully boring. With some bias, I must direct this at some fantasy writers - while your magical worlds can be very interesting, spending excessive time on them can send a reader (well, me) to sleep!

Although this workshop is aimed at prose, poets should take note too - keeping your lines short and to the point is significant in making a powerful piece.

And those of you who are currently doing coursework, this is key too! I myself was chastised for going into too much detail about the Senecan model of tragedy (I'm a hit at parties, believe me) during a recent essay. Interesting notes are good to keep people hooked, but it's important not to lose focus of what you're writing about.

So, that's why being concise is important. But what do I want you to do?

For this workshop, I feel you need to take a look at your writing to see what's really driving your plots and stories. Examining your work in such a way will help you to see what is significant in creating a good plot. Remember: the details are crucial in creating a well developed piece, and I'm not saying we should all be aiming for cut-back bare boned pieces. But at the same time, you can't allow yourself to be driven too far from the path.

Your task, then: Take a 1,000-3,000 word piece from your gallery, and cut it down to 500 words or less. Sounds tough? Good. Look out for important plot points and significant lines and make sure they're included. When reading your work, I want to get the same emotions from both versions of your piece.

If your piece is a longer (around 2,500-3,000 words) then some leeway can be given on the 500 words, but I don't want anything over 1,000 words being sent to me.

Don't have any pieces over 1,000 words? You have three options: 1, write both the long and short versions. I'd recommend that you'd write the longer one first or it'll defeat the point of this workshop :P. 2, take a look in my gallery and choose a piece to shorten. All I ask is that you link this in your shortened version. 3, if you don't like any of my pieces (and who can blame you?) then you can always ask someone else on deviantART. Ask VERY NICELY, don't be surprised if they say no, and link them gratuitously!

Send a note to me containing BOTH of the pieces. (You may, going to my page, notice I've been suspended. Don't worry, I can still receive notes, and I'll be free to give crits before the workshop ends.)

For an example of what I want, I offer this extremely poor example of my own:… (long) and… (short.) I wouldn't use these as an example of quality :P

Some useful articles:…………

How to Submit

After submitting your entry as a new deviation or scrap, send us a note with a link to your poem. Include the subject line "Brevity" in your note. The deadline is midnight March 27th, 2008. All times are set for GMT. conorschild will respond to the entries on March 30th, 2008.

:bulletred: Please note when you submit, to send in a copy of the original piece and the new version. These should be two separate deviations.

A note from Writers-Workshop Please note that this is a PROSE workshop, meaning that we will accept prose entries only. Proofread your work before you send it in so that grammatical and spelling errors are minimal. And most of all have fun with it!

:postit: On Accepting Critique

:bulletblue:Always thank the critic. This gratitude must be as sincere as possible, even if you did not like the critique given, because the critic has taken time to offer his/her opinion of the piece.
:bulletblue:If you do not like the critique, it is not necessary to mention so. Simply thank the critic and move on. You can always ignore their suggestions, while not making a scene of it.
:bulletblue:If you are unsure of what the critique means, feel free to ask the critic what s/he meant. Building rapport with your critic is one of the best ways to survive in a workshop and to learn. If you want examples, ask. Similarly, if you like the suggestions given, mention it. Critic's have feelings too. :)
:bulletblue:In the unlikely case that a critic offers rude/sexist/racist/etc comments, feel free to contact Writers-Workshop in a note and we will try to help you. A decision regarding the rudeness of the critique will be taken, and if we're not sure ourselves, we will consult with one of the GDs or anyone else high up on deviantART.

:star: Don’t forget to show our news article some love :heart:

The Entries

In reverse alphabetical order

CH 1 by Squarix
Original version

Moonlit Rendevous by PrincessMelissa83
Original version

False Encounter by Moyrn
Original version

Meloday Apple-Simpson by itzjusdrama
Original version

Can you Feel It? by illuminara
Original version

Take the Plunge by Erin88
Original version

Valerie by darksouldream
Original version

During by JessaMar
Original version

The results will be discussed on Sunday, as well as a very special announcement about something different happening next week!

CSS by Freesong
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fense's avatar
I just couldn't get around to completing this one. :(