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A Macro Editing Tip

Editing is one of those tasks that most writers hate. It’s longer, and more tedious than writing is, and lacks the thrill of discovery that comes with a first draft. And yet, it’s vitally important to putting out a good novel.

I’ve written before about some of my editing processes, so today I just wanted to share a new discovery with you.

I’ve spent the last couple of days re-reading what I’ve written so far on Reckless Recon, wanting to make sure it all makes sense, and work out where I’m going from here.

But I struggled with it. I read through the first couple of chapters, and kept making a lot of small edits, changing a word here and some sentence structure there, but it just wasn’t flowing. I wasn’t getting an idea of where the story was going, and if it was working.

Since I had to go out the next day, I copied the file to my iPad, figuring I could read some while my daughter was playing with her friends at the park. I couldn’t make changes, since I don’t have an app that can edit files that large (and I find it awkward on the iPad, the keyboard is just too limited), but reading it was what I wanted to do anyway!

And what I discovered was that when I couldn’t edit, I stopped looking at all those little details, and began to see the larger story, like I wanted to.

Yes, I still ended up with about 4 pages of notes on things I wanted to change (Including a very funny typo that I shared on Facebook), but they were mostly inconsistencies and big picture changes. Only a few typos and sentence structure issues.

I think this was because I didn’t get bogged down in sentence structure and flow. I just made a note like *expand on this, needs more feeling* or *this doesn’t work because there was sun just a few pages back*, and moved on.

So if you’re having trouble sticking to a macro edit of your novel, I highly recommend reading it on a device where you can’t edit as you go. I’m going to make sure I do this for at least one edit in the future.

How about you? Do you read through your work somewhere other than on your computer during the edit process?

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11 Responses to A Macro Editing Tip

  1. Rosie Amber says:

    Great idea, glad to see you are still writing.

  2. Ellis Shuman says:

    Sometimes you indeed need to look at the bigger picture. Consider first if the story works. Then consider if the sentence structure works. Thanks for this tip!

    • Rinelle Grey says:

      Yes, I agree. I always thought it was rather pointless to fix sentence structure until I was sure the scene wasn’t going to get cut, and that it said what I needed it to say. Thanks for visiting Ellis.

  3. I have to convert mine to a pdf so I can’t even annotate. It’s frustrating but, like you say, a great discipline too. I wish I could do that with my WiP but it’s so full of plot holes it’s not even ready for a read through. Sigh.

    • Rinelle Grey says:

      I send it to my iPad as a word document. It will open in the email program, but I can’t even highlight text there. If I’d thought ahead, a pdf that I could open in Kindle would have been better.

      My WiP is nowhere near finished. I still have at least 30k to write, so I’m sure there are plot holes! But this way I’m finding at least some of them along the way. That’s the theory anyway.

  4. RDoug says:

    Cool idea. I may have to give this a try on my iPad. I get way too bogged down in minutiae during the editing phase of a project, and inserting a “review” stage would be a great benefit, I would think.

    • Rinelle Grey says:

      Yes, I get bogged down too. I go over and over one sentence to get it perfect, and just can’t move on. This first review stage really does help I think. Hope it works for you too.

  5. winterbayne says:

    I print my project for macro and sometimes for micro editing.

    • Rinelle Grey says:

      Yes, I’ve heard a lot of people say they work really well with a print copy. In fact, my sister prints out my story when I ask her to do a read through as well. Glad it works for you.

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