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How I line edit my final draft(s)

Editing is often a long, tedious process in any creative field, but nothing is as in-depth as line editing for a script, novel, or manuscript. As the name implies, editing is done line-by-line in an effort to make sure the writing flows well and that every single word has a specific purpose. When it comes to storytelling, it is important to make sure your own work actually tells the story in the way you want it to - almost like modelling an idea that is already there into a detailed sculpture.

As a perfectionist, I tend to ensure everything I wrote in the earlier drafts has been pored over several times with re-reads after each round of feedback from beta readers. Line editing this final(?) draft is something I am currently procrastinating because it might be my last chance for myself as the author to get the novel right, before pursuing traditional publication. The current draft is sitting at 184 pages of a Google Doc, averaging about 250-300 words per page to edit.

My process for line editing will of course be different from other writer's but it includes the following: reducing filler words (that/just/then/etc), condensing paragraphs with more concrete sentences, reducing repetitive sentence starters, reducing name mentions in dialogue for more realism, cutting dialogue tags if the emotion is already conveyed well without them, and using punctuation effectively (although semi-colons are still the bane of my writing career).

I hope that this post can help any other fellow writers also stuck in the line editing stage. I often have to remind myself to take it one page at a time, and I know that I will be nearing the end before long if I keep on track. I'm aiming to begin querying literary agents by the end of the summer, but I want to make a good impression by making my story the best that I can. It would be cool to share some success stories with you all in the near future.



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