Best Advice I've Ever Heard

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I cannot remember where I first heard this (though I'm leaning towards something I picked-up while working in theatre), but the greatest advice I've ever heard about cutting, and storytelling in general, is to find the one story and tell it.  I think when you get to the basics of figuring out what to cut and what to leave in, knowing what that one story is will be more than enough to know what needs to be kept.  Do you need that subplot to tell your story?  No?  Then chop it.  Do you need that minor character?  No?  Leave him/her out and redistribute their lines if necessary.  

Obviously there are some nuances and details about cutting that help make a better version (like knowing how to create builds).  However, this basic principle of telling that one story serves as a blueprint for figuring out what should remain--which often is the main problem concerning cutting.

Simple.  Effective. 



That is great advice for cutting!  Although, I would add it helps to choose a piece that is short and needs little to no cutting anyway :D


I think one of the best things I've heared is that even when you screw-up, never acknowledge it.  If you act like it's nothing and try not to show you're reaction to knowing you messed-up, then judges/audiences will think less of a minor slip-up.  Or even that you must be a terrific performer for not falling apart because you screwed-up a sentence's delivery.   

This is would be helpful when cutting a larger piece down. Certainly helps focus the plot.

That is great advice for cutting! I am currently working through a very last-minute cutting of a book, so it was something I really needed to hear. Thanks @lisS!

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