The above statement (and title of this post) is the most succinct and to the point sentence that Polonius utters during a long-winded speech to King Claudius in the play, Hamlet. Whether it’s a novel, a short story, a blog post, or even an author biography for your website, a good editor will help to keep your work tight and effective.
So, keeping that in mind, I’ll be brief.
The first draft is to just write – to tell yourself the story, have fun and get everything you want to say out. This is where you get be extravagant with words, to be as playful and as wordy as you want as you explore what you want to tell.
The second draft is to shape the piece so that it aligns with your vision. Sometimes this means adding new pieces or moving existing ones around until they fit.
The third draft (and every draft thereafter) is to hone it down to its bare essence, so that what you want to say comes through succinctly. This is where you simplify your language to invite your readers in.
In short, murder your darlings, dear writer. Cut the excessive wordage out and simplify.