tip for close editing

I’m in the middle of line editing my sea otter story– it’s one I plan to send to Orca for another Currents I hope.
Here’s a tip that I’ve stumbled across. I read over my text and make whatever changes I want, then when I have done 500 words or so, I read back over it, highlighting all of the verbs. It’s amazing. This is an action story, so I want strong verbs, which is why I started this process, but I’m amazed at how many small details I’m finding as I do it. First, I’m getting rid of all the ing verbs, and as many of the “to be” variations as I can and replacing them with stronger verbs. But I’m also finding small words that don’t need to be there. For example, “I know that the reason Dad is out here is because” becomes “Dad’s here because”.

I’m so amazed at how many extra words I use, and how clearly I see them when I go through this process. Laborious, but worth it.

2 Replies to “tip for close editing”

  1. So so true.

    Yesterday we had a writer's lunch and some of us discusses cutting back on the wordage. I mentioned an entire chapter I'd lost for my MG-oddly enough, the story still moved along without it.

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