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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am taking an online American/Texas government course for which I have to write 8 500 word papers (I already have my BA but I'm taking some community college classes for the GI Bill money). How do you write a biography of a great historical figure in 500 words <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/banghead.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="banghead"> .<br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">
 

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Is it going to be a problem if it's too long? Or is it supposed to be an exercise in brevity/conciseness? Cut out all adjectives and unnecessary words; be sure you are using active voice so you aren't using up words with helper verbs...
 

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There's this function in MSWrod called autosummarize. It's under "tools."<br><br>
You highlight the part you want to summarize (whole thing is fine) and then say how much you want summarized. If your paper is 1000 words, then select a 50% summary.<br><br>
It spits out something that sometimes makes sense. It may be a way to cut out some unnecessary parts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
These are good suggestions. Sometimes I go a bit over but I feel that 700 over is too much. K, now its 502 over<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> . Dh has had a couple of word count meanies; over count papers are more work for them. My prof hasn't said anything (I turn them in at the end of the term) but I don't want to push it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It's now 482 over but at least it is confined to three pages <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/loveeyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Loveeyes">: .
 

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Honestly, I think it's important to be able to write any length in almost any subject (e.g. a 250-word bookcover summary of a 250,000-word book!) For me, the easiest thing is to plot it out instead of writing whatever I want then cutting it down.<br><br>
One paragraph has about five sentences of ten words each, so that gives you ten paragraphs or main ideas to work with succintly. Make an opening from the two first paragraphs, develop your points in the next seven and close in one. It should be enough to be brief and yet develop your main points.
 

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You're probably done with your paper, but you do know that you're not supposed to count "a", "the", "and", and other small words, right?<br><br>
The word count function on word processing programs counts every single word. So, with a 500-word paper, you do have some lee-way.<br><br>
(unless you have some psycho-professor who uses word count to grade papers. I did submit something online to a conference and it was bounced back to me because my references were included in the word total. This isn't a normal circumstance, in my experience.)
 

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Reminds me of a quote "Sorry this paper is so long, I didn't have time to right a shorter one".<br><br>
Remembered another one a friend said once: "I can write five paragraphs in a half an hour, but it will take me all day to write one sentence."<br><br>
If you are cutting words, look to improve your vocabulary - English can be a very precise language, and often there is one word which encapsulates your intended meaning which can replace several words. Anyhow, it is a great excuse to use a thesaurus.
 
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