Friday, 9 February 2018

The AWC Editing Competition

AWC: Twitter Competition. Round 3.

Describe the competition
The AWC posts a long sentence. Whoever shortens it in the most elegant way without losing any important ideas or information wins the prize.

What is the purpose of the competition?
To draw attention to the editing process and to bust the myth that good writing is just a function of talent and inspiration. There is no ‘good writing’, just good editing.

Absolutely. If writing is about catching your raw ideas, editing is about giving them form. Some people think editing is the same as proofreading, but this is not the case.

You’re  saying editing is not the same as proofreading?
When you proofread, you look for minute errors, but you do not change the text. When you edit, you look for more interesting ways to express your ideas. You do not look for mistakes. You do not beat yourself up. You are supposed to have fun.

So what do the results of the competition tell us about approaches to editing at NUIG.
We got some really funny entries. One person shortened the sentence by getting rid of vowels. Others sent us gifs. There was a lovely poetic attempt: ‘Dragons are friend-shaped’. It didn’t win because it didn’t answer the criteria, but it was very good in its own right. We got some proper responses too, and the sentence was by no means easy. It had a twist in it, that you could easily miss when editing.

What are your hopes for the competition?
That it becomes a campus wide celebration of editing skills.

So when is the next round?
It's on now. Edit the sentence below and tweet it to @AwcNUIG or just email it to

Without doubt,  January, despite being objectively and measurably the same length as six other months of the year, is in many non-measurable ways significantly longer, gradually sapping the life-force of poor January-dwelling souls as they sleepwalk their way through the post-Christmas period in a haze of diets, dark evenings, and empty bank accounts, every weekend regretting their naïve resolutions and cursing whoever came up with “dry January” as they sit in front of the TV with their lumpy quinoa and flavourless kale, forcing themselves to watch yet another re-run of Friends and Instagramming their gym selfies in a futile effort to convince themselves that this is better than going out or getting a takeaway, and as they stare out into that ever-encroaching darkness, feeling that damp cold that seeps into your bones in such a way that you feel at least ten years older but no wiser, they welcome the slow approach of February, a month that is, demonstrably, shorter than all the rest, but as they do so, and as some of them feebly celebrate the arrival of the mysterious Celtic spring, whose beginning is admittedly just as cold and ever-lastingly miserable as Celtic winter,  they wonder if in fact, in trying to hurry through it they have overlooked some essential truth about January, that there is some secret way in which it could have been enjoyed and remembered with pleasure. 

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