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The following are two teacher sample paragraphs, one a first draft of 211 words, the second a final draft of 149 words. Brad follows Stephen King's rule for revision by cutting at least 10% of the words out of the first draft. From the exercise, A Lesson in Contrasts: Writing Comparison Contrast.

Vancouver Versus Quebec City
(Final draft: 149 words)


I’ve lived in Vancouver more than 20 years and, although I still have fond memories of Quebec City, I prefer it here. One reason is climate. Quebec City hosts a "Carnaval" every winter featuring ice carving and citizens drinking Caribou (liquor) to keep warm. In Vancouver, on the other hand, winter includes blossoming cherry and plum trees in January. Another reason to prefer Vancouver is its size. Quebec City is a small capital city, much like Victoria. In contrast, Vancouver is a bustling metropolis that has one of the most multi-cultural populations in the world. My final reason for preferring Vancouver over Quebec City is language. Quebecois speak French, a language I speak poorly. In Vancouver, however, people speak English , so I feel more comfortable here. Although I remember my time in Quebec City fondly, I much prefer to live in the gentle climate of big city Vancouver.

—Brad Hyde, third draft of 149 words (originally 178 words).

 

Vancouver Versus Quebec City
(First Draft: 211 words)

     I've lived in Vancouver for more than 20 years, but still have fond memories of my year in Quebec City; however, I would still prefer to live right here. One reason is climate. Quebec City hosts a "carnaval" every winter that features ice carving and citizens who drink a strong liquor (Caribou) to keep warm. In Vancouver, on the other hand, winter often includes blossoming cherry and plum trees in January. Another reason to prefer Vancouver is its size. Quebec City is a small capital city, much like Victoria, and is thus a bit boring. In contrast, Vancouver is a bustling metropolis made up of one of the most multi-cultural populations in the world. My final reason for preferring Vancouver over Quebec City is language. In Quebec, the language is French, a language I don't speak very well. In Vancouver, however, the city is English speaking and I thus feel most comfortable here. So, although I remember my time in Quebec City fondly, I much prefer to live in the gentle climate of a big city like Vancouver.

—Brad Hyde, first draft of 178 words (originally 210 words). Could still be tighter!

 


 (February 20, 2003)