On Giants and Editing

Anne C. Miles > Writing > On Giants and Editing

Sorting through an idea. I am editing my book. Actually I am waiting on a last round of feedback before I rewrite it. I’ve realized I’m basically going to rewrite it at least four times.

So yes, I’m going to read it out loud to myself and all but I know there is a fundamental structural problem with it and I don’t really want to polish something that needs surgery. I’ve been hoping my gentle readers can help me find the structural changes needed. They all have things to say. I’m listening. But as this book has been written by pantsing, I also figured I’d better pray about it a lot.

I’m a Christian. I kinda have to pray about everything. It comes with the territory. I’m not at all trying to proselytize when I talk about my faith. I’m just trying to be honest about my process. Then I get to what my editing process is going to be. You don’t have to agree with me on faith to be able to use what I’m saying. No worries.

So I was praying yesterday about the edits and I got an answer. He told me to check out David and Goliath. And thats when I realized I’ve been a complete idiot.

So you all might be familiar with the story of David going up against the fearsome and overwhelming Goliath. It’s recorded in 1 Samuel 17.

Now the Philistines gathered their forces for war and assembled at Sokoh in Judah. They pitched camp at Ephes Dammim, between Sokoh and Azekah. Saul and the Israelites assembled and camped in the Valley of Elah and drew up their battle line to meet the Philistines. The Philistines occupied one hill and the Israelites another, with the valley between them.

A champion named Goliath, who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp. His height was six cubits and a span.[a] He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing five thousand shekels[b];on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back.His spear shaft was like a weaver’s rod, and its iron point weighed six hundred shekels.[c] His shield bearer went ahead of him.

Goliath stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why do you come out and line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul? Choose a man and have him come down to me. If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us.” 10 Then the Philistine said, “This day I defy the armies of Israel! Give me a man and let us fight each other.” 11 On hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified.

12 Now David was the son of an Ephrathite named Jesse, who was from Bethlehem in Judah. Jesse had eight sons, and in Saul’s time he was very old.13 Jesse’s three oldest sons had followed Saul to the war: The firstborn was Eliab;the second, Abinadab; and the third, Shammah. 14 David was the youngest. The three oldest followed Saul, 15 but David went back and forth from Saul to tend his father’s sheep at Bethlehem.

16 For forty days the Philistine came forward every morning and evening and took his stand.

17 Now Jesse said to his son David, “Take this ephah[d] of roasted grain and these ten loaves of bread for your brothers and hurry to their camp. 18 Take along these ten cheeses to the commander of their unit. See how your brothers are and bring back some assurance[e] from them. 19 They are with Saul and all the men of Israel in the Valley of Elah, fighting against the Philistines.”

20 Early in the morning David left the flock in the care of a shepherd, loaded up and set out, as Jesse had directed. He reached the camp as the army was going out to its battle positions, shouting the war cry. 21 Israel and the Philistines were drawing up their lines facing each other. 22 David left his things with the keeper of supplies,ran to the battle lines and asked his brothers how they were. 23 As he was talking with them, Goliath, the Philistine champion from Gath, stepped out from his lines and shouted his usual defiance, and David heard it. 24 Whenever the Israelites saw the man, they all fled from him in great fear.

25 Now the Israelites had been saying, “Do you see how this man keeps coming out? He comes out to defy Israel. The king will give great wealth to the man who kills him. He will also give him his daughter in marriage and will exempt his family from taxes in Israel.”

26 David asked the men standing near him, “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”

27 They repeated to him what they had been saying and told him, “This is what will be done for the man who kills him.”

28 When Eliab, David’s oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, “Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the wilderness? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle.”

29 “Now what have I done?” said David. “Can’t I even speak?” 30 He then turned away to someone else and brought up the same matter, and the men answered him as before. 31 What David said was overheard and reported to Saul, and Saul sent for him.

32 David said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.”

33 Saul replied, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a young man, and he has been a warrior from his youth.”

34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, 35 I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. 36 Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. 37 The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lionand the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.”

Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you.”

38 Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. 39 David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them.

“I cannot go in these,” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.” So he took them off. 40 Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine.

41 Meanwhile, the Philistine, with his shield bearer in front of him, kept coming closer to David. 42 He looked David over and saw that he was little more than a boy, glowing with health and handsome, and he despised him. 43 He said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44 “Come here,” he said, “and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and the wild animals!”

45 David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. 47 All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.”

48 As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. 49 Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground.

50 So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him.

51 David ran and stood over him. He took hold of the Philistine’s sword and drew it from the sheath. After he killed him, he cut off his head with the sword.

When the Philistines saw that their hero was dead, they turned and ran. 52 Then the men of Israel and Judah surged forward with a shout and pursued the Philistines to the entrance of Gath[f] and to the gates of Ekron. Their dead were strewn along the Shaaraim road to Gath and Ekron. 53 When the Israelites returned from chasing the Philistines, they plundered their camp.

54 David took the Philistine’s head and brought it to Jerusalem; he put the Philistine’s weapons in his own tent.

55 As Saul watched David going out to meet the Philistine, he said to Abner, commander of the army, “Abner, whose son is that young man?”

Abner replied, “As surely as you live, Your Majesty, I don’t know.”

56 The king said, “Find out whose son this young man is.”

57 As soon as David returned from killing the Philistine, Abner took him and brought him before Saul, with David still holding the Philistine’s head.

58 “Whose son are you, young man?” Saul asked him.

David said, “I am the son of your servant Jesse of Bethlehem.”

OK. So it was there in verse 34 that my stupidity hit me. That’s why I bolded it.
David had been doing a job for years. He had experience in that job, shepherding, learning to work with God. As a result, he had learned to overcome when assaulted by lions and bears, in the name of the Lord. “In the name of the Lord” is simply a fancy way of saying you do what God says, how He said to do it. (Like having Him talk you through a surgery.)
Not to put too fine a point on it, but I’ve been walking with God on overcoming problems in my work for about 12 years. Before that, I was really angry with Him and actively defiant. I’ve been back on track for about 12 years. Anyhow, allow me to relate my assumptions. These are basic to how I approach my work and life.
Any time I think I know how to do something, I need to check in and get a confirmation. Rushing in without doing so tends to land me in hot water and I waste a lot of time. The heart of Christianity is learning to follow Jesus. That means I gotta be led. Always be led.

Any time I come clear on something I didn’t understand before, that’s God speaking to me. Without Him, I can do nothing. I take the Bible literally on this. I believe I’m worse than blind without Him. I’m a fool on my own and can’t trust my own perceptions. So each solution presented to me will literally be Him speaking. It’s God that lifts up and God that brings down.

Example. Once I had an issue with a brochure I was designing. A common problem popped up. The client had a photo they needed to use but it was too low resolution to work. I needed to use at least 300 dpi or it wouldn’t print well. I only had a low resolution image. So I prayed.

And in my head I saw myself printing the image onto high-quality photo paper and rescanning it at higher resolution, several times, in increments to raise the resolution.

It worked. I knew who had given me my answer. He doesn’t always do it so openly. Sometimes I’m given an article to read or a book is gifted to me by a friend, with the information I need in it. I have to search for the answers sometimes. Sometimes I’ve found that I already had what I needed, it was given before the need came up, the week before. But I have always been led. 

I’ve been really scared about editing this book because there is so much wrong with it and I’m terrified of getting it wrong. It’s felt like a giant roaring at me. I’ve been waiting to really move on it till I got an answer. The book isn’t mine, it’s His. I know what I’m supposed to write but haven’t done it well. Yet. (Right now it sucks.)
I also know that this process is going to be a journey of growing closer and learning to hear better. Walk with Him.
And the same tools I’ve used in my job for years need to be applied here. That’s my answer. I need to not pick up the tools others use, they won’t fit me. If I try, they will weigh me down.
One of the big tools I use daily is my design process. I research everything I can about my topic. I put together a mood board to define the style I want to achieve. I distill the message into a  few sentences. Then I comp. A comp is a low res sketch of the eventual design. I comp 4-6 variations and then I pick one to go with. I finish that last choice off and perfect it. It’s what goes into production.
I think my first draft is my writing version of my design mood board.
I have to list out everything I want to say now, clearly define it.  Then I’m going to comp. I’m going to outline the book I have and then outline different variations on key points, using my story structure guidelines (inciting incident, etc) Then I can pick the one to go with, use it as my rewrite and perfect it. My answer on the right way to approach this giant has been in front of me the whole time.
Do what you’ve learned to do over the last 16 years as a designer, Anne. It isn’t that different.  
Anyhow. Excited to start.
I also got lectured about my weight and told I needed to get serious about my diet. I’m doing South Beach, had my last Bearno’s pizza for a while last night.  The diet commences today. I’m going to attack both giants, whee.
They’re going down. It’s going to be epic.
PS. Some will ask if this is a Christian book. No it isn’t. It’s a book written by a Christian. I am not a fan of “Christian” fiction at all. It’s as a rule, poorly written and preachy. It gives me hives.
I just wanna spin a good yarn.


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