I recently finished my first draft of a science fiction manuscript. Once I had all of my work in a single document for the first time (I write in One Note with each chapter as its own "Page" and then compile the finished work into a Word document), I was able to see the full detail of my work. At first glance, this was my longest manuscript to date registering roughly 108,000 words, just a little more than the average word count of 80,000-90,000 words.
But as I started to apply my editing tools, I quickly started seeing that number shrink. Redundant words, unnecessary adjectives, and useless phrases like "in fact" and "In an effort to" were removed or changed to something more appropriate. By the time I had finished using the basic editing tool in Word and the Grammarly plug-in I had reduced the over all word count of my manuscript by about 1,000 words.
I was amazed to find so many examples of how the idiosyncrasies of my personal speaking habits had found their way into my writing. To reduce the word count by such a significant amount after a single run through with even basic editing tools was amazing (and a bit disheartening if I'm being honest).
Then, on top of the already impressive number of changes and corrections that had been found, when I uploaded the most recent version of my manuscript to the free analysis tool at Authors.ai, I found several, like hundreds, of other areas that could be changed to improve the quality of the my work. Sometimes that improvement came from removing a single word that added nothing to the content.
Having completed only one round of editing, there is still a lot of editing left to be done before the manuscript will be close to ready for trying to find a publisher but this first run through has demonstrated to an extreme level for me the value and importance of using editing tools and services beyond yourself. I like to think that my stories are entertaining and compelling but I know that it will take more than what I can do on my own to truly make them good.