Revision: Getting a Handle on the Big Picture

Big Picture Revision requires global thinking. Besides the obvious areas of Theme, Story Goals, and Conflict, I look at: Pace (how fast or slow you reveal things), Tension Incline (does every succeeding plot point or important development raise tension?), Character (growth and development), Excess Baggage (scenes or narrative with not enough or no payoff) Plants (foreshadowing components that are hinted at early in the story) and Balance (inner/outer tension, ratio of scene to narrative, logical mention of subplots).
Writing Tip For Today: A good way to approach Big Picture Revision is with a read-through. After a cooling off period of weeks to months for a novel, read your draft straight through. Make some copies, say 3-5. Find the same number of reading friends or colleagues and ask them to read your draft for the above mentioned items. Beg these friends to concentrate on the story and resist the urge to copy edit. (Hey, it’s hard to resist correcting misspellings or rewriting sentences!) When I read for Big Picture Revision, I like to use sticky notes and a master list to help me remember what needs attention.
Next: Self-editing in Layers.

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About Linda S. Clare

I'm an author, speaker, writing coach and mentor. I teach both fiction and nonfiction writing at Lane Community College and in the doctoral program as expert writing advisor for George Fox University. I love helping writers improve their craft and I'm both an avid reader and writer of stories about those with wounded hearts.

1 comment on “Revision: Getting a Handle on the Big Picture

  1. Thank you Linda for another great blog. I know that I would write faster (and more pages) if I wasn’t focusing quite so much of those Big Picture Revision tasks when I am blocking out the first scene drafts…

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