I don’t know if there’s a practical point to the word limit, but I doubt if the WD Forum Police are gonna show up and take away your coffee and the letter ‘e’ from your keyboard for overshooting a bit. 🙂
I’ve been writing the story out ‘normally’, i.e. letting the length take care of itself in an effort to make the story work as well as I can, then cutting down to try to make the word limit while still having the story work right. I find it’s an interesting exercise in discipline, word choice, etc. For instance, my last submission was probably around 45% of the total story, but it was the most important 45%.
I read long ago that short-shorts were the hardest things to write. Until I tried these prompts I hadn’t attempted any, but I now have to agree.
Just as a suggestion; your story as posted gives some of the same bits of information to the reader more than once. You could tighten it up just by eliminating those, and by streamlining facts into the narrative.
‘I do have a MySpace page, but Mom is just totally paranoid about me getting killed or something by some weirdo who looks for teenage girls on MySpace. So its forbidden, so I cant get to it often.’
‘I cant often get to my Myspace page; its forbidden because Mom is totally paranoid about me getting killed or something by some weirdo who looks for teenage girls there.’
Now admittedly that’s a bit less ‘teen girlspeak’ than your original, but it’s a 22% reduction in verbiage. If you could cut 22% out of your whole post you’d be at 516 words.
This version: ‘Im forbidden to go to my Myspace page because Mom is totally paranoid about me getting killed or something by some weirdo who looks for teenage girls there.’ is a 27% reduction in words from the original.
27% off 662 is 483.
The tighter versions get rid of the repetition of the words ‘myspace’ and ‘so’, however the word ‘there’ on the end doesn’t help make it clear if I mean the Myspace site in general or the girl’s particular page, so you could end it with ‘on the site’, gaining two words but more clarity.
Alternatively you could present the information as action in dialogue from the mother:
Now dont let me catch you on your Myspace page, you know how I feel about those predators that hang out there.
That’s only 22 words, 16 words shorter than your original (a 43% savings!) and all the salient information is preserved.
1. She has a Myspace page.
2. Shes forbidden to use it.
3. She therefore cant get to it often (implied).
4. The mother is paranoid about predators on the site.
There are several ways to make it tight. I find the cutting gives a terse tone and requires you to dump much of the descriptive language, but it can make the story flow and pop better than the writerly versions.
p.s. Yes, I am aware of the irony in the above post being over 500 words.