The macro editing is still in the realm of the big picture and that is why I do it before I micro-edit.
The things I look for during this edit are:
- The story moves under its own power and that nothing about it feels forced.
- The story is dramatic. No one wants to read a story where there is no conflict. We might say that we hate drama, but that only applies to our own lives, we want drama in our fiction.
- It is intimate and I don't mean it has sex in it (but it isn't a problem if there is.) What I do mean is that the reader gets to know and care about the characters. Good stories have characters that readers bond with and feel as if they really know.
- The story takes place in a special world. It doesn't have to be the magical wizarding world but it does need to feel exclusive while also being relatable.
- It is somewhat compressed. I am neither a minimalist or a maximalist, I fall somewhere in between. When I look for compression in a story I look for a day to read like a day and not like five days. Sometimes writers get ahead themselves and pack too much action into one day and that only works in stories that take place in a day and doesn't work well for series. (I also make sure each paragraph is no longer than eight sentences long, no one wants to read a wall of text.)
- The language is consciously crafted. The words being used to tell the story have to reflect it. I would never tell a story about the Battle of Culloden and have the characters speaking with New Yark accents and using American slang.
- Lastly, the story is complete and satisfying.
If I have to fix anything from above in my story then I go back and do another cutting and deepening draft before I move on to micro-editing.
When I have looked for all of those things and feel satisfied with it then I start looking at the small stuff. I read each sentence out loud. Doing that allows me to find the missing words, the typos, the misused punctuation, and the grammar mistakes. I also have someone else read it as well. That someone doesn't have to be an English major, they're just a second set of eyes to help you catch things.
After editing the whole story, I save it and walk away from it for a while. I give it a couple of days and then at look at it again. I look for the same things, the same mistakes, and fix them.
I hope that helps you with any future editing.
I am not sure what next week's post will be about, but I'm sure I will come up with something. Have a lovely weekend!