Saturday, September 10, 2011

Getting tighter

I'm going to use this sentence to make my continuing point about tightening copy.

Until tonight, no rookie NFL history had ever had a scoring reception and a kickoff return for a touchdown in his team's season opener.

Actually, I think he meant "no rookie in NFL history..." Anyway, let's try again:

Until tonight, no NFL rookie had scored on a reception and a kickoff return in a season opener.
The rest is just embellishment.

More editing/writing blog entries


  1. Sometimes leaving a word or two in there makes the sentence a bit more conversational (a decision best left to editors, mind you.)

    I think for emphasis it would not have hurt to say
    "Until tonight, no rookie had ever scored..."

    Granted it's not absolutely necessary but sometimes copy can be a bit too lean if you slice every gram of fat.

  2. I agree in theory. In the real world of newspapers or magazines, you often have to cut every unnecessary word. And sometimes you have to cut a few that the writer thought were necessary.