Welcome to my new series, The Editing Diaries!
In a nutshell, I’m editing my story LASER and bringing you guys along for the ride. I want you to see how my process for editing novels (and maybe I’ll figure out my process with you). So, buckle your seatbelts, we’re going on a trip!
So, where do we start?
We start with Draft 1.5. I call it Draft 1.5 because it has been edited, but only a bit and mostly in the transition from notebook to computer screen.
As I type up Draft 1.5, I have someone reading each chapter as I type, catching minor problems, but mostly being an encouragement for me to keep typing. This is the first bit of feedback I get. Once Draft 1.5 is typed up, it goes to the rest of my alpha-readers.
I wait the prescribed 6-weeks before diving into editing… which is a very long and frustrating time.
Five out of six weeks are over. I have received feedback from most of my alphas. I have to tell you, I am very happy with the feedback I got.
Like I said in this post, feedback should be carefully considered, even if you disagree with it. But ultimately, the story is yours and it is your decision what to change and how you change it.
It’s interesting when two alphas have differing thoughts on certain points… may you never go through that. It makes things more complicated. However, it does encourage you to make the decision your own.
In order to change and improve your story, you must first know what needs to be changed. And to do that, you must read it.
I’ve been rereading LASER and making notes for what I should fix. All kinds of notes, macro and micro. This list is longer than I anticipated (and I’m only just over half way through the story!) and it’s a bit frightening. But I am noting almost every problem I catch so I don’t forget it.
Now, I am not actually fixing anything yet. This is preparation for editing. I’m putting my story and it’s problems on the metaphorical back-burner, so I can think about them before I actually start trying to fix it. When you’re editing, knowing what to do is always a good idea.
After I finish the read-through, I have to copy my list and sort it into three categories: Macro, Major Micro, and Minor Micro.
So, what’s the difference between Macro, Major Micro, and Minor Micro?
Macro is the structure of the building.
This is your plot and your characters. Make sure these work. If your structure is way off and your villain dies in Chapter 2
(for example), now is the time to fix that. If your MC is flat, now is when you fix that. If you don’t know why that one character or plot twist exists, now is the time to get rid of it.
Major Micro is where the sinks go.
This is stuff that is still crucial, but it’s not as important as characters and plot. (I’m honestly not sure how to explain this one…)
Minor Micro is what color the living room is painted.
This is how you tell the story. This is when you work on how you tell the story. This is where POV and style are adjusted.
There’s actually another level of Micro beneath Minor, but that’s where a vase of flowers gets put.
This is when you fix typos and such. It is not important in this stage of editing. There’s no point in decorating a house that’s about to fall in. That’s why you pay attention to the Macro first.
Two more steps of editing prep! I import LASER into Scrivener and divide it into chapters. Then, I have to write little chapter summaries up on the little digital index cards.
The final step is writing up scenes on real index cards and putting them on my bulletin board. I don’t have a picture for this, since I haven’t done it, yet.
So, there you have it. That’s most of my editing prep process.
I left out the part about the panicking. I tend to panic when there’s a really big problem that I don’t yet have a solution for.
Now, because I’m curious, if any of you have edited before, what steps do you take to prepare? (I realize I left out “Stock up on chocolate”.) And does anyone know a good way to explain “Major Micro”?