Here is the first paragraph of David Foster Wallace’s “Good People” rewritten:
Lane A. Dean, Jr. and his girlfriend sat at a picnic table. They’d gone to different high schools but attended the same junior college. Now it was springtime and they were near a lake. The air was suffused with honeysuckle and lilacs, almost too much for them to take in. The recent storms had downed trees. One tree had collapsed near the shallows of the lake where Lane and his girlfriend were now sitting. Lane liked his girlfriend and her smell, but he was distracted by another man, whose incongruous hat reminded him of his grandfather. This stranger was still, more like a man than a picture.
DFW’s paragraph is 502 words. My revised paragraph is 107 words.
© 2007, Edward Champion. All rights reserved.