Frances’ Essential Macro-Editing Checklist:
- Breathe and listen to the air! Punctuation is in the breath we take.
- Feel the pulse: Allow tension to soak through every weighted word.
- Packed sand bag: Weed and whittle the pages to mid or high one-hundreds. The luxury of the 500-page story is no longer for our contemporary and impatient generation. Pack the pages tighter with fewer words.
- Kaleidoscope/Rainbow. See and feel the rainbow. Sprinkle color with a light hand to make the reader ecstatic.
- Return the Heartbeat: Resuscitate the manuscript with the “innate relevance” of imagery. Let imagery show (not tell) its story.
- Usher poetry into the novel and allow her/him to surprise the reader with sweet talks and melodious sounds.
- Light at the end of the tunnel: Editing can go on forever! An inflexible publication due date nips procrastination in its bud.
- Sprinkle the salt-and-pepper combination of flashback and foreshadowing. They add spice and dynamism to mundane events. Avoid backstory. Use flashback instead. Foreshadowing is the spice/pepper that quickens the reader’s interest and page-turning fingers.
- Other ears hear better: Read the story out loud for the tongue’s benefit. Allow others to hear the words during editing.
- See the people! See characters as people, real people with believable qualities and features.
- Throw MICE off balance: Distribute milieu, idea, character, and events disproportionately for maximum effect and success.
- Motifs, refrains, and themes tug at the heart. Use them effectively to endear the reader to the plot.
- Manuscript must pass the SWSB/plot test: Someone wants something, but… What drives the protagonist? What/who is the “But?”
Like editing and revising a literary piece, this list is a work in progress. It is not a one-size-fits-all-writers suggestion.