thematic editing is all about echoing

I’ve been working on my work-in-revision after four months of allowing myself to be distracted by the ignorance of others. But the old ways are sometimes the best way and that break has been nothing but beneficial.

We discussed thematic edits with Intern Ben yesterday and I had a major breakthrough as to my protagonist’s character arc. If you’d asked me two days ago if my primary protagonist had one, I’d have argued that absolutely he did, he just didn’t need to change from the beginning to the end of the story or make any significant changes to the events that washed around him.

I realized that was actually the problem, not a character arc. But it was easy to take the thematic question that the organic character came preinstalled with and expand on it. The organic character was fully capable of the change he’d need to make even if it would test him to the core of his being. When I expanded that question to the primary protagonist’s story an instant character arc more significant than the organic character’s story appeared. The organic character’s journey only impacted his life. The primary protagonist’s journey has to impact the lives of the people living in it.

Using my open door methodology, one character had a closed-door problem and the other had an open one. I never thought I’d do an entire rewrite just looking for places to echo a theme before I do a tight rewrite for everything else, but here we are.

From “I don’t do rewrites” to “I should be done by my fourth one” in two thousand, eight hundred, and ninety-seven steps that only took me twenty years to climb.

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