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The Waistline Test is an online tool to help writers weed out the “fluff” from their prose. Fluff = excess words. The test is not a replacement for editing your short story. It searches for be-verbs, abstract nouns, prepositions, adjectives/adverbs, and waste words (it, this, that, there). I discovered the test via Angela Ackerman on Google+. Here’s my experience plugging in my 900+ short story, Three Black Birds.

The Waistline TestI chose the Advanced option so I could include the text inside quotation marks. I’m not sure if this was necessary, but I assumed it couldn’t hurt. Then I pasted in my text and in less than a minute the results popped up: Lean. Lean is good. Heart Attack Territory is bad. 😉

Waistline Test ResultsIt also shows the words it checked, color coded to give you a sense of how often they are occurring in the text.

Waistline Test ResultsFor a more in-depth explanation of the results you can download a PDF of the Full Diagnosis too. Very handy! When you’ve been editing a story, novel, or even an essay for days (or even hours), it’s easy to begin missing the obvious. The Waistline Test is a great tool for looking at your writing from a different angle.

The test is meant to be used in conjunction with the book, The Writer’s Diet by Helen Sword (also the creator of the test). For more info and to take the test check out: http://www.writersdiet.com/