When To Cut A Long Story Short: Tips And Tricks

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Are you struggling to keep your audience engaged during a long story? Do you find yourself rambling on about unnecessary scenes or characters? It’s time to learn when to cut a long story short with these tips and tricks.

Whether you’re a writer, storyteller, or just trying to keep a conversation interesting, knowing when to cut a long story short is a valuable skill to have.

With this article, you’ll learn how to consider the purpose of your story, keep it engaging, and use editing to your advantage.

Don’t let your audience get bored or lose interest, learn how to keep them hooked with these tips and tricks.

Key Takeaways

  • Consider the purpose and audience of the story before streamlining it to its essential parts.
  • Use engaging storytelling techniques, such as plot twists and descriptive language, to keep the audience interested.
  • Discern and eliminate extraneous scenes or characters while balancing cutting with character development.
  • Use editing techniques to make the writing concise and impactful, seeking feedback from others to identify areas for improvement.

Consider the Purpose of the Story

So, you’re about to tell a story, but before you dive in, take a moment to consider why you’re telling it in the first place. Is it to entertain your audience, or is it to convey a message or lesson?

Once you’ve identified your purpose, you can streamline your story accordingly and cut out any unnecessary details that don’t contribute to your message or theme.

Identifying your audience is also crucial when deciding how to tell your story. If you’re talking to a group of colleagues, you might want to focus more on the business aspect of your tale, while a casual conversation with friends might allow for more personal anecdotes.

Simplifying the plot can also help keep your audience engaged and prevent them from getting lost in a sea of details. By trimming down your story to its most essential parts, you’ll be able to keep your audience’s attention and ensure that your message is heard loud and clear.

taking a moment to think about the purpose of the story
Taking a moment to think about the purpose of the story

Keep the Story Engaging

You wanna keep your audience on the edge of their seat, like a snake charmer enticing a cobra with the sway of their flute.

Engaging storytelling techniques are important to ensure that your listeners are captivated by your story. To keep them hooked, try incorporating captivating plot twists that will keep them guessing what happens next.

One effective technique is to start your story in media res, or in the middle of the action. This will immediately grab your audience’s attention and make them want to know how the story began.

Another technique is to use descriptive language to paint a vivid picture of the setting and characters. This will help your listeners to visualize the story and feel like they are a part of it.

Finally, don’t be afraid to add humor or suspense to your story to keep your audience engaged and interested. Remember, the key to a successful story is to keep your audience captivated from beginning to end.

Know When to Cut Out Unnecessary Scenes or Characters

It’s essential to discern which scenes or characters are extraneous and eliminate them to maintain the flow and coherence of the narrative. A story that rambles on without a clear purpose or direction will lose your audience’s interest quickly.

Eliminating redundancy is crucial to keep the story engaging and moving forward. As you revise your work, ask yourself if each scene or character is necessary to move the story forward. If it’s not, consider cutting it out.

At the same time, it’s important to balance cutting out unnecessary scenes or characters with character development. You don’t want to eliminate a character or scene that provides significant insight into the story or helps to develop the characters.

As you revise, pay attention to the roles each character and scene play in the story. If a character or scene doesn’t add to the story’s development, it’s likely unnecessary. Cutting out the extra fluff will help you create a more concise and engaging narrative.

Use Editing to Your Advantage

Editing is a powerful tool that can take your writing from mediocre to exceptional by carefully scrutinizing each word and sentence. One of the most important editing techniques is to cut out excess words and phrases to make your writing more concise.

This not only makes your writing clearer and easier to read, but it also helps to keep your readers engaged and interested in your story. To achieve this, start by identifying any sentences or phrases that don’t add value to your writing. These can be anything from unnecessary adjectives to redundant phrases.

Once you’ve identified these, try to simplify your sentences and remove any repetition. Remember that concise writing doesn’t mean sacrificing detail or depth, but rather using words that are necessary and impactful.

By using editing to your advantage, you can turn a long and winding story into a succinct and powerful piece of writing that will captivate your readers.

removing the excess and unnecessary words to make the story short
Removing the excess and unnecessary words to make the story short

Seek Feedback from Others

Receiving feedback from others can be a valuable tool in improving your writing. It’s like a fresh breeze that clears the cobwebs and invigorates the mind.

Sometimes, when we get too close to our own work, it can be difficult to see the areas that need improvement. That’s where seeking feedback from others comes in handy. It allows us to get a fresh perspective and identify potential issues or areas that need refining.

When seeking feedback, it’s important to get opinions from a variety of sources. This can include colleagues, friends, or even a writing group. Be open to constructive criticism and use it to refine the details of your writing.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions or follow up with clarifying information. Ultimately, the feedback you receive can help you to cut a long story short and create a more polished piece of writing.


As you wrap up your story, think about what message you want to convey to your audience. Does it align with the purpose of your story?

Remember, your audience wants to feel something, so use symbolism to create an emotional response. Whether it’s a character’s journey or a plot twist, consider how your readers will interpret the ending.

Editing is key to creating a powerful story. Cut out unnecessary scenes or characters that don’t contribute to the message. Use your words wisely and keep your story engaging.

By mastering these tips and tricks, you can create a story that’s both memorable and impactful.

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Jessica started off as an avid book reader. After reading one too many romance novels (really... is it ever really enough?), she decided to jump to the other side and started writing her own stories. She now shares what she has learned (the good and the not so good) here at When You Write, hoping she can inspire more up and coming wordsmiths to take the leap and share their own stories with the world.