Monday, September 21, 2009

Pulling back to gain perspective

Once I have gone into the text and begun to edit a chapter or two closely, I usually find myself cycling back and taking a fresh look at the larger structure and purpose of the book. This pattern gets reiterated several times throughout the editing process. There's something about getting down into the line-by-line editing that helps open up the thought process of the author and allows me to then step back and look at the larger work through eyes there that are at least a little bit more like his. At least, that's my goal.

In this instance, I was working on chapter 3, about three quarters of the way through it. This is often the point where some important refinements take place in a chapter as a whole. I looked back at the original title, "The Curse is Canceled," and realized that, after editing most of the chapter, I had yet to come upon the concept of curse in a way that really resonated with the title. That's when I pulled back and thought, Wait a minute, what is this chapter really about? Then I went back to the preceding chapter: What was that chapter about?  And how does it lead into this one?

At this point I went into my files and found something that it might seem I should have referenced earlier: a brief summary of each chapter that I had asked Brian to prepare after my first review of the manuscript. (But had I done this earlier, it really would not have changed any of the line-by-line editing I have done so far and, as I mentioned, the act of having done that editing has put me in a better place to evaluate the book overall.)

I took those brief summaries and inserted them at the beginning of each chapter in the manuscript. Now, when I come to each chapter for editing I will have its corresponding summary there for ready reference. I looked over the summaries and highlighted the key terms, and from that I made the following annotations, in ALL CAPS, to the gradually shifting Table of Contents that you will undoubtedly see several more times if you continue reading this blog. This process has brought me new clarity regarding the larger structure of the book, and will probably lead to a number of suggested revisions in chapter titles.

Table of Contents  

[Part One: Captivated by the Gospel]

1. Imago Dei -- (Brian is working on this, so I won't touch it again until he is done)
2. [Seeing the gospel clearly] -- THE GOSPEL
3. [Justification: The Curse is Canceled] -- JUSTIFICATION
4. The Bondage is Broken -- TRANSFORMATION
5. The Cure Has Begun -- THE HEART

[Part Two: Holiness, the Goal of the Gospel]

6. Beautiful Holiness -- HOLINESS
7. Killing Sin -- MORTIFICATION (or, the negative side of the pursuit of holiness)
8. Growing in Grace -- VIVIFICATION (or, the positive side of the pursuit of holiness, something never be confused with revivification, which is what Dr. Frankenstein did)
9. Captivated by Beauty -- MOTIVATION

[Part Three: Tools of Transformation]

10. Training in the Spirit -- SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES
11. The Refiner’s Fire -- SUFFERING
12. Life Together -- COMMUNITY


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