Fourth Draft/Polishing: Really perfect sentences. Weed out weak words, eliminate passive voice, use literary devices, and search for clichés.
One trick I’ve learned through years is using Microsoft Word’s search and find function to make this part of the process go quicker and smoother. I will search for over-used words like “well” and “then” and so on. I will also look out for passive voice.
So, after I go through what I’m calling HYBRID (at this point) with an eye for perfecting sentences, I will be sending the manuscript to a few beta readers. So, I am nearing the end of the process for this book. After they read it and react, I will look at the manuscript again in terms of what they had to say about it. Then I will let it stew and go back to it one more time before I send it off to my editor. For this part, Mary suggests printing the manuscript, rather than reviewing it on the computer at this stage—I concur. Stay tuned.