A very good customer of mine recently asked me to write “exactly 100 words” to present their products in a conference workbook … by tomorrow.
I duly dropped everything and did this, agonising over the sentence structure, cutting adjectives, checking the word count, then sent it off, a masterpiece! Only then to be told “Oh, I’ve just heard that we have to put in an opening sentence about sponsoring the conference, so that’ll mean cutting about 10 words…sorry!”
Not their fault, but ‘slash!’ there goes the splendid opening sentence, and after much shuffling about, a revised version was dispatched to joyous acclaim. Not quite the same you might say as getting everything you want to say into the editorial page of The Times or The Economist, but a good exercise in word discipline all the same.
So if anyone ever complains about “having to get it my essay argument into just 5,000 words” tell ’em it’ll stand them in good stead later.
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