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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. ūüėČ

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/

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