An Exercise in Purging: Pencils down, everyone.

Yesterday I posted some bad fiction and asked for people to make it good. We got some great comments that all zeroed in on the biggest sin: It’s just wordy. So many sentences can be collapsed from meaningless phrases into robust prose. Here’s the original fiction:

The night was as close to complete blackness as was possible during the course of a month. It was a new moon so although the moon was present in the sky, it was jet black and attributed no help in illuminating the night sky. Only, the faint twinkle of stars and the steady small dull glow of satellites lit the night sky for a faint trace of light. The wind was completely still like the calm before a storm. Several coyotes can faintly be heard yipping and howling in the distance from a recent kill that appeared to be a team effort. A small slim figure moves ever so slowly in the desert sand but it is barely discernable from the cactus and sparse vegetation which dots the landscape.

And now, my attempt at stabbing it with a fork. I do not claim to be an expert, and many of our commenters really did a great job capturing the meaning of the words in better combinations. I say this only as a disclaimer: this is my stab, not necessarily the best stab.

The darkness of the new moon dominated the sky. The still air burdened the desolate landscape, forbidding any movement. Coyotes yipped in the distance. Between the dark blots of cactus, one slim figure lurked.

Eh. Take it for what you will.

Did you enjoy the exercise? Looking for more “bad literature” to fix? We may have more coming. Keep your eyes open!

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