Shape up!

When you’ve completed your novel/script and are now ready to edit the best way I’ve found to deepen the character, plot, etc is to list the most important aspects of the piece and sift through each aspect individually—tackling each aspect one by one. Here are a few of the most important aspects of my novel that drive my character’s thoughts and actions: humor, romance, and culture. This isn’t everything (just the first three. Also included for a second round of editing is: horror, sexiness/charm factors, fear, and betrayal). I know, you can’t wait to read it now.

I already showed you a bunch of circles in my last post because they related to writing the novel—not editing. Editing is a triangle—not a straight line—at least not for this process. Grammar and Syntax are absolutely a straight line.

A quick little review of the three most important circles of writing life:

rythem1If you read my last post you know what that means. If you don’t, go read it.

Editing is a lot like Maslow’s Hierarchy which is shown below:

Maslows Heirarchy

Creative editing works the same way. Here is an illustration of my own “Hierarchy of Book” needs:


An example of how this works: Romance for 500 points! GO: to every chapter (2, 3, 6, 7, 9, 12) that has Romance between: AMY/DEAN, CARON/PAUL or whatever their names are and “translate” meaning, make sure dialogue sounds like how a real person would talk, and add ACTIONS of romance (whatever those actions are for your novel). You should feel giddy when re-writing because if you don’t like it no one else will (and it is difficult to enjoy your own work as a writer so you have to make it amazing to please yourself).  Next, Culture for 800! I actually moved my entire setting from Washington to Louisiana because my writing partner @johnnymckeon happened to take a Language and Cultures class during our third round of edits that inspired him to help deepen our town’s sense of history (I mean, you do need to create a universe for people to fall into for fiction, right?).  And instead of just making up rituals and culture we pulled from the rich history of the Creole people and from Louisiana Voodoo, hence creating a “zombi” that is believable.

Also, there’s no way we’re going to follow the rules of boring and trendy apocalyptic zombie stuff. Yuck!

Once you’ve satisfied the different themes/aspects of your novel creatively, it’s time to edit line by line, seeking proper grammar, syntax, and story continuity.  I never do this myself. I pay for a mail-in editing service from a woman I trust to rip my work apart in red ink.

I know I use a lot of shapes, but shapes occur in nature (except squares–which are human structures created for comfort, convenience, and security–and in hand-writing analysis conveys a dire need for psychological safety. Also, atoms are spherical, so even our human-made squares suck at an atomic level).

Thinking in diagrams is how I function as a TYPE-A writer. Eventually you will see how the Yin/Yang helps character development. Hope this helps!

 Have a good week. Thanks for reading.

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