It’s almost Christmas and I’m so excited! Here in Georgia, the weather is behaving like normal. In other words, it’s t-shirt weather! No such thing as a white Christmas for us, but that’s the way I like it.

The impending Christmas also means something else… the New Year approaches! Which equals my deadline of having my manuscript in decent shape. I’m getting there; I have an outline-summary-guideline thing that details my whole story…I just have to implement it. Much easier said than done.

Once that big edit is done so I have one continuous, complete story, I will use a lot of the exercises Mez talked about in her post last week to refine it a bit more. After that, it will be time for the line edit.

Ever done that? It’s fun.

For the first five hours.

After that, it’s tedious. Mind numbing. Requires total concentration while your mind screams for relief.

And when you think you can’t go any further without screaming, you realize you are only halfway done. If you are lucky.

If you are ready for the anticipated and dreaded line edit, here are some exercises to help you through it.

Exercise 1

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Use your search function. There are some words you can search for that can be cut because they are unnecessary or there are better words than can be used. Of course, this is one of those mind-numbing tasks. The first couple ones aren’t bad, but in a 50k-100k word novel, there are a lot of superfluous or weak words.

Here are some you can search:

  • That-you would be surprised how often you can just cut it.
  • Just-not an impressive word
  • ‘ly’-this will pull up a thousand words, but it’s a handy way to find adverbs that can be cut for stronger verbs
  • Very-another unimpressive word
  • Really-and there’s another word we use a lot!
  • Any words you find yourself using over and over

Here are two blogs with lots of words that can be cut. We can all search for problem words until our brains are liquefied!

Cutting Words-Revising by Wendy Sparrow

43 Words You Should Cut-Diana Urban

Exercise 2

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Read it out loud. Every word. Consciously. Listen to the way it sounds and note where it doesn’t flow right or is awkward. If you find yourself just reading and not paying sharp attention, take a break.

This is even better if you can have someone read it to you!

After you do these exercises, if you can look at your manuscript without cringing, do them again. Remember, once you do this, there is only one thing left to do.

Submit to an agent or publisher.

So keep editing until you can’t stand it anymore. Eventually, with a lot of luck and effort, it will be a real editor looking at your work!