Great Sayings Revisited: To cut a long story short

A book on a windowsill
“It wasn’t short enough, so I left the book behind.” Fool!

Okay, so some people really have verbosity issues, as indicated by the famous saying “To cut a long story short…” – this shouldn’t be difficult. Do you really need guidance with this? Would be writers may stare into the middle-distance and wonder how to cut a long story short, but with a bit of proofreading and editing you can, indeed, quite easily make a long story short. All you have to do is hit the delete button.

Now, we understand things are a bit more difficult than they initially appear. As Quint says in Jaws: “Nothing’s easy, is it?” – the moustache sporting old seadog could have a point, particularly as actor Robert Shaw was an author. So, he knew what he was on about? Wait a minute, did Quint spread this stupid saying?! That might just be mindless conjecture so, to cut a long story short, let’s take a look at this saying.

To cut a long story short

Beginner’s tip, if you want to cut a long story short, just write a short story instead of a long one. This then removes the need to lessen your verbosity at a future date. Whilst this may seem obvious (as obvious as a glass of marmite with someone eyeing it cautiously), one must not underestimate the potency of the human person and its ability to ramble on.

There is another possibility about all this, however, which has had us all thinking. Perhaps, per chance, the “cut” element is referring to a swashbuckling blade of horror. Truly, if you want to cut a long story short, just get a copy of Moby Dick and hack blindly at it with a samurai sword. That’s a really good way of turning it into a novella.

Consequently, it is clear the philistines of the past were simply too busy engaging in horrific warfare to have time to read massive novels. Thusly, they cut long stories short in order to pack them into their lives before they were, inevitably, killed by a marauding barbarian from some distant land. Faire du ski.

To Shoot a Long Story Short

Swords are irrelevant these days, of course, unless you don’t have ready access to a bazooka. We feel the saying should be amended to suit contemporary times, with the modern fixation on the gun (“Ratta tatta tatta tatta tatta tatt tatt!” etc.) replacing the previously modern fixation on the blade of doom.

Now we can recommend, if there’s some massive novel you can’t be bothered wading through as you’re too busy putting in overtime to get those numbers done, procuring a shotgun and blasting it at, say, 50 Shades of Grey to cut it down from 500+ pages to something not quite so mindnumbing. Indeed.

We’ve patented this saying, by the way, so if you’re going to use it then you have to pay us 10p a time. As guns are banned in England, however, we at the Professional Moron office will have to be contradictory hypocrites who use blades instead of guns. Mind you, we could use a spud gun, we suppose. Or a water gun. Or a 3D printed gun! So the future is gun, basically, and we’re looking forward to gunning down our novels rather than reading them. Book of da Week never had a more contemporaneous meaning!


  1. I’m considering “To Flamethrower a Long Story Short”. It doesn’t quite roll off the tongue in the same way, but it certainly does the job. In fact, it’s one of the most efficient methods of length reduction, leaving little but ash afterwards.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. SO, you’ve read 50 Shades of Grey! You rapscallion, you! So, after you shot, spud-gunned water pistol whipped or whatever’d it, how many shades did you get it down to, and were they still Grey?

    Liked by 1 person

Dispense with some gibberish!

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