(Check out Ansha’s blog for a list of participating writers!)
I have to be honest. It took me a long time to understand macro editing. I mean, it’s so much easier to line edit. It’s very concrete to look through my writing for weak verbs, over-used words, weak chapter endings, typos…etc.
I’d read phrases like adding emotion, inner and outer conflict, three-act structure, goal/motivation, pacing – and I wasn’t quite sure what to do with them. At some point, a light bulb flickered on inside my brain – and I got it.
As I just started macro editing, I’m going to share what I’ve done so far.
1. I let my story sit for 6 weeks while beta readers took a look. Then I read it and took brief notes of obvious stuff that needed rewriting. I also added smiley faces for parts I liked.
2. I wrote a few drafts of a query letter and the synopsis to be revised later. This helps with plot holes.
3. I wrote a new beginning with a stronger hook to tie in to my story goal.
4. I wrote a one-line description for each scene. I separated my scenes into the three-act structure. I took Alexandra Sokoloff’s wisdom to heart. I checked to make sure I had opening tension introducing the story goal. I checked for the Act II midpoint climax or big twist. I checked for increasing tension up through the climax. Her blog is a must read.
5. I plugged my story into the nine point grid I read about on query tracker.
At this point, I know parts need to be rewritten. Sentences cry out to be beefed up and rewritten. But I’m not doing anything yet.
6. And this next step is new for me. I have a 4×6 index card for each scene. And here’s what’s on them.
- mc’s goal
- action taken
- opposing force
- Outer (point of change)
- Inner (point of change that corresponds to the outer)
- Suggestions: (Here I write down suggestions for what I’m missing)
And so far, a lot of my scenes are missing the inner conflict, which means the emotion is weak. Geez!
This is where I’m at now. I do know the next few steps I’ll take.
7. Rewrite the big scenes that need to be changed.
8. Rewrite according to the index cards.
9. Rewrite according to my notes from my read through.
And there you have it – my long learning curve with macro editing. Is there anything I missed? What works for you? And I hope I’m not the only one who once thought revisions meant line editing. (Feel free to lie to make me feel better.)