I worked all weekend on the Nameless. This is a line edit and I’m 240 pages of 398 pages. Wait a minute…didn’t I already do this? Yes, but this very simple technique was recommended to me in Banff. I edit backwards. So I start on the last page, and begin line by line looking for corrections.
By editing backwards, I don’t find myself suddenly reading the story and forgetting about the words.
So another 160 pages (4-5 days) and the line edit will be finished. This is some very tedious work. Primarily, I remove words. In those 240 pages, I’ve removed 3000 words. Useless words.
Like: he listened
for the sound. Or: The iron turned various shades of red.
I also take out extraneous words like: still, even, just.
And adjectives. As Stephen King explains in On Writing, they are like dandelions. One on your lawn is nice. It’s unique. But if you have five thousand, they overpower the grass. So take them out.
Those words are completely useless. And my writing is full of them. This is something I learned a year ago, and I’m still working on it, but my writing is becoming much tighter, and (hopefully) stronger because of this.