Fifty commas deleted yesterday morning … total left is a secret.

Listing all the sentences in a piece, each on its own line to ensure their length varies, reveals tense inconsistencies, more small mistakes. Doing so also inspires content adjustments … a mystery.

Duplication searches highlight some words inocuous enough to show up without offense in every third sentence, some appearing tolerably every few paragraphs. Other words are so self-important they need confining to once per section, even only once per manuscript. The drudgery is logical, effective, thus enjoyable. It inevitably displays, every ten or twenty pages, two identical words, each carefully chosen to be unique, in as many lines … a humiliation.

These essentials blue-pencil hours and hours … a conundrum.

Partial explanation: this morning’s three new commas.