The book has been written, the critiques are in, and it's time
Below is a sampling of areas I'll focus on in my final revision.
1) That. The word "that" certainly has its uses (and I'm sure you can think of myriad examples). But it can also be a word count killer. For example:
"Eating an enormous spoonful in his face, I made it obvious
In revising, I'll read lines like these out loud for the rhythm of the sentence and keep those that impact readability.
2) "Out of" vs. "from." Every time I can replace "out of" with "from," I lose a word. This can look like:
"His callousness pulled her
And it's an easy change to make when I use "CTRL+F" to find each instance of "out of" and evaluate if "from" fits, or not.
3) Axe some dialogue tags. Once I've established that two people are talking, I probably don't need "he said" and "she said" as often as I currently have them.
4) Stop over-explaining everything because I want my reader to see a scene exactly as I see it. Just because I care that my character cocked his head to the side before saying something, does the reader really need to know that? Sometimes, sure. When it helps them better understand my character. But not always. Unless it's
5) Remove redundancy. Instead of saying, "Josh crept stealthily to the barn," why don't I just say "crept," shall I? Stealth is implied. And so long, phrases like "nodded his head" and "reached a hand." "Nodded" and "reached" will work just fine.
6) Sayonara, adjectives and adverbs (where possible). This sort of fits with the redundancy above, but where something isn't redundant, I
The fact is, I'm still going to have needless words. I'll miss some tightening opportunities, and I'll choose to forego others. Yes, you read that right: despite the constant harping in the writing community to make your writing as tight as absolutely possible, I won't. I'll look at my voice, the flow of my sentences and paragraphs, keep what sounds nice, and only get rid of what sounds clunky. Because I want to sound like me. Just the best, tightest version of me (this rule does not apply to my aforementioned ice cream problem).
Above are the opportunities I find when I revise, but you may find others when you do, and I'd love to hear them (as well as what I'm missing). So, please, sound off below with your favorite slashing techniques!