As the saying goes, "It's all in the revision." Or, there are no great first drafts. The true masters know that first drafts are terrible, second drafts are slightly better, and in the ninth or twelfth or twentieth draft, after sentences have been improved "Line by Line," mellifluous, deft prose reveals clearly what the author means to say. The meaning of too much writing is bogged down and obscured by under-par line editing. I once had the opportunity to work with an editor who had been at Henry Holt for many years, and when we sat down to go over my manuscript, she recommended this particular book. It has been at my bedside, along with the Bible and Whitman's "Leaves of Grass," ever since. The product of her years as a copy editor for the Modern Language Association (every writer should also own the MLA Handbook) Claire Cook's "Line by Line: How to Edit Your Own Writing," is not for the faint-hearted, nor is it for those who have yet to memorize "the little book" by Strunk and White. Even an English major and MFA holder who has written for newspapers, magazines, and literary journals will benefit greatly, and improve his or her chances of publication, by "eliminating the stylistic faults that most often impede reading and obscure meaning." A straightforward, five-chapter sequence addresses overwritten sentences, bad transitions, "mismanaged" references, problems with punctuation (at the advanced level), and other mistakes that doom writing, whether you're attempting to fine-tune a newsletter, a scholarly paper, a business proposal, or a short story. I have seen many, many books on improving one's writing, and this is, as the Holt editor indicated, as necessary a writing manual as Strunk and White's, and one that will elevate you from competent amateur to master prose stylist. (also recommended for the serious writer at any level: "The First Five Pages: A Writer's Guide to Staying Out of the Rejection Pile," by Noah Lukeman).