Thoughts And Ramblings Of A Christian Writer: Part Four (The Final Part!!!)

A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit. – Richard Bach

Today is the last part in my writer’s series, and perhaps the most dreaded—Editing.

 

For many writers, editing is the most overwhelming part of the process. Throughout the early first draft, we’re running mostly on creativity and fresh inspiration. The process is new, and oftentimes, we can’t wait to get our ideas down on the page. We can see it all in our minds like a movie, and we celebrate when we make it to the end of our story.

Editing, on the other hand, is different. It’s left brain. It’s practical. It means changing material that sounded really good a couple of days ago. It means reading your work through the eyes of a critic. And most writers don’t enjoy it nearly as much as the initial creative process. In fact, editing can make you feel a little like these memes bellow.

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And, at times, we may even feel a little like this guy.

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(As a new Dawson’s Creek fan, you had to know this would make its way into one of my posts eventually.😜)

Nonetheless, as stressful as editing can be, it is an absolutely essential part of the writing process. As good as our stories are, they’re never finished at the rough draft. Writing is a journey. And, like every journey, it takes hard work and dedication to make our stories the best that they can be.

According to thebookdesigner.com, there are four different types of editing: Big Picture Editing, Paragraph Level Editing, Sentence Level editing, and Word Level Editing.

Big Picture Editing means taking a look at your writing from a bird’s eye view. It means looking at your story and making sure that structurally, everything makes sense. There are no plot holes. There’s nothing that sounds, weird, or off, or incoherent. Hopefully, most of the big-picture of the book was structured carefully before and during the writing process, but if you have noticeable errors, they can still be fixed as you edit your manuscript. Remember—that’s the whole point of editing. To make your draft as good as possible before sending it to a publishing house (or, pursuing the route of self publishing).

Paragraph Level Editing is a little different. Like Big Picture Editing, it is largely about structure, but this type of editing involves changing sentence and paragraph structure to make the content easier to read and more coherent to the reader. This could mean clarifying sentences, adding detail, cutting fluff, and giving the book an overall “feel” or “tone”.

Sentence Level Editing, on the other hand, is more about mechanics. It’s where we get down to the nitty-gritty of our prose, and fix grammar mistakes and minor details that may have been lost in a sea of words. For instance, is the character’s last name “Jones” in one sentence and “Smith” in another? Does the protagonist’s best friend remain a brunette throughout the story? It sounds silly, but these kind of details can be easy to miss in a three-hundred page novel. It is important, for the reader’s sake, that all of this is addressed before the book is released into the hands of the world.

Last but not least, we have Word Level Editing, which is arguably the easiest and most basic kind of editing. This kind of writing addresses things such as spelling, typos, and punctuation. It is the kind of editing that many of us are familiar with from our days in elementary school, when we learned the basics of English and took standardized tests where we filled-in-the-bubble-for-the-correct-word.

I hope that these last four parts have been helpful and enjoyable to read for you guys! Admittedly, I’m still an amateur myself, but my prayer is that we can all learn, grow, and encourage each other on our journey to becoming better writers.

Writing has always been my passion and I know that I personally have loved delving deep into the world of fiction writing on my blog!

If you have any comments, please feel free to post them in the comments section! I always love hearing from you guys! 

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Thoughts And Ramblings Of A Christian Writer – Part Three

Let’s be honest. Each one of us, if we’re telling the truth, wants to write something that leaves a lasting mark on this world.

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Each of us, as a writer, has a story inside of us that needs to come out.

Each one of us has a story that we want to bring to life.

Each one of us has something to say.

Each one of us wants to say something that matters.

This is where the concept of a “theme” comes in. A theme, in short, is the lesson, moral, or a concept of a story. And as authors, especially Christian authors, the concept of a theme is absolutely essential to our stories. It’s the meat and depth of our novel. It’s the heart and soul of our prose.

In my experience and observations, a theme can come into the picture in really any stage of the planning process. For some people, it’s easiest to start with the theme and structure the storyline around it. For others, myself included, it’s easiest to come up with the plotline first and than zoom into the lesson that you want to teach. The order doesn’t matter so much as the lesson that you choose to teach through your story. No one else can choose it for you. It has to come from your own heart, passion, and experience. It has to be something universal and unique—something that will inspire your readers in their own real, day-to-day-life. 

Personally, when I’m in the process of discovering my story’s themes, I do some soul searching—as I try to figure out what message I can convey through the storyline and what God has put on my heart to incorporate into my story. Oftentimes, I can even draw from my own life, as I think of things that I wish that I had known when I was younger. A theme, in short, can be anything from the importance of close friendships, to the problem with censorship, to the transforming power of faith in God. 

According to an article on www.novel-writing-help.com/what-is-theme-,html, “Theme is the deeper layer of meaning running beneath the story’s surface. While the surface story entertains the readers, the theme helps them to reach a new understanding of some aspect of the human condition.

Thus, while the story’s surface intention is to entertain, the story’s theme adds an extra, hidden dimension to a novel. It gives it depth, and helps us recognize things about ourselves and our world—much like how Jesus’ parable’s teach us important lessons about God and the world that we live in.

As humans, we’re all different, but we all experience many of the same experiences, hopes, and desires. Stories with strong themes capture this, and help us to see that we’re not alone. We find that other people have shared our same struggles and challenges, and have come out on the other side. When we delve deep into a novel’s theme, we often find that we’re not as alone as we think. 

As Christians, we have a guiding source of truth, which is God and His Word. Through spending time with God in prayer and reading our Bible regularly, we can develop strong themes and guiding principles for our writing (and life!). Thus, if you’re writing a story, I’d highly encourage you to look to Scripture for inspiration about your story’s theme. Like with anything else, God’s Word is always our best place to start. 

Some books that have gotten it right

Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan 

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury 

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton 

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee 

Some movies that have gotten it right 

Do You Believe? 

Soul Surfer 

Freaky Friday 

Inside Out 

Dangerous Minds

How about you? What are your thoughts on creating a “theme” for your novel? Is there anything you’d like to add to this discussion? If so, please feel free to share it in the comments section below! Discussion is always encouraged here!😃