Top: Susan Bell in her wonderful book The Artful Edit, Norton, 2007
Beautiful, downtown Great Village may have been bustling when I was there this last weekend, but I don't think so. I was hunkered down in front of my trusty, if heavy, laptop revising True. I took along with me one book and one book only - Bell's The Artful Edit and I'm so glad I did. I am now going to list some of the items on the macro and micro views -just enough to give you a sense and also this wonderful explanation of why we can't seem to do this systematically, no matter what.
Ideally, we would first look through the macro-, then the micro-lens: view the big picture, then focus on details. But reading and writing are not systematic. In reality, a person switches from lens to lens as she reads, her eye catching a jumble of images at once. You may, when you edit, try to train the eye to see more or less in sequence. but never expect, nor wish to achieve, a rigid artificial system. Reading must remain as free as the imagination itself. If you control your reading too much, you cease to be involved in it. then what's the point?
Susan Bell, The Artful Edit.Macro-view
2. Character: palpability, credibility, motive
3. Structure: rhythm, tension
(and three more)
(and four more)
How it Worked for Me: Friday and most of Saturday I went into some places that I still felt weren't structurally sound and figured out what to do about it. The rest of Saturday and all of Sunday, I went through each chapter with these two lists in my mind if not in front of me like the lace knitting pattern had to be! I read the book in my breaks and as I've read it before it settled deeper into my mind. The panic I felt when I considered doing everything at once or one at a time like a bad short-order cook nearly had me nuts. The quote above released me from that. To go back to an earlier post- I read everything aloud - every damn word - and asked myself as I read, "is this in the rhythm of the work?".
here's a view from out the dining room where I worked mostly:
and here is something I just liked