After hammering out that first “brilliant” draft, you’re not done.
I’m line editing. After almost three years of writing words into my first novel , for the last month I’ve been taking them out, one by one. With two line-by-line passes through my draft, I’ve shrunk 107,000 words to 98,000, dipping below that 100,000 word marker beyond which, apparently, novice writers venture at their peril.
Line editing is an interesting if tedious technical exercise and it’s involved a few tactics, amongst which:
- Culling 99% of occurrences of these words: really, rather, just,quite, very, oh, so, well and suddenly. I said a silent prayer to the twin gods of Search and Delete.
- Appraising every instance of verb + adverb and replacing many, many of them with… a more descriptive verb. Yes, you can’t escape that one. I love my well-thumbed Roget’s more than ever now.
- Interrogating every adjective cosying up to a noun…
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