Writing Excuses 4.29: Line Editing

By popular request, here’s a ‘cast where we demonstrate line-editing. A word of warning, though: we demonstrate this process on the very first book Brandon ever wrote. Not his first published, book, mind you. No, we’re working on an ancient, unpublished manuscript, and it needs a lot more help than just line-editing. For the purposes of this exercise, we shall pretend that the story edits are complete, the darlings have been killed, and all that remains to be done is a final pass to tighten the prose.

Suspend your disbelief, please.

Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week: The Mote in God’s Eye, by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle

Writing Prompt: A man stumbles through the desert and is aided in some way by a headless monkey.

The Number of Minutes Required to Fix This Book: More than fifteen. Many, many more…

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57 thoughts on “Writing Excuses 4.29: Line Editing”

  1. Been listening to this ‘cast since the beginning, and I’ve got to say this is my favorite episode so far.
    Hope we get to hear more line edits from you guys in the future, and thanks so much – Brandon – for sharing your first unpublished novel; it takes guts to do that, and frankly, hearing/reading an author’s earliest work is always fascinating.

  2. Thanks so much for this episode guys. I have finally gotten around to editing a short young readers book I wrote about 6 months ago. This advice is helping tremendously! I know I’m not a great writer (yet), but there is a lot of red ink on the page thanks to you guys.

  3. This was one of the most helpful episodes so far. We need way more of these! And also, where/how the hell does one learn such skills??

  4. @Greg – “Sometimes other episodes get too bogged down with what we should be doing, rather than how we should be doing it.”

    Yeah, I think that sometimes, but mine’s a minor quibble, brillant ‘cast. Now I want to know more. Who is this guy? Where is he going? Why? – Job done, Brandon!, even if there is some editing required…

    @Andy – It’s practice, I’m no expert author, but I do spend my days doing technical writing, and my spare time writing a blog, film reviews and fantasy. I think that, on re-reading, most people can see at least the suggestion of an issue in their own writing, and often the clear problem itself. If a sentence doesn’t convince completely, it probably isn’t quite right. Say it a different way and you’ll know immediately if it’s better or not.

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