Monday, June 1, 2015

Deep Editing - Powerful Emotional Hits

Can I say enough good about writer's conference classes? It's awesome when I get a concept and start implementing it. Love feeling the growth through actual practice. This week I recognized where a critique partner, who had taken Margie Lawson's Deep Editing Power class with me, had also powered up her pages using the techniques taught. (Note the alliteration. It's one of twenty rhetorical devices we were shown. Strong when not overused.) My partner had a particularly good paragraph at a key moment in the story, the midpoint.

Lawson's background as a psychotherapist gives her a unique approach to writing and editing. She taught four levels of powering up emotion, generalized below. For more information on this or other lecture packets, visit The following examples are my own. 
1. BASIC is a simple line with one Emotional Hit, as she calls it. Use these when the emotion is not so important, for smoothness, variety, and flow. Example: She strode down the hallway.
2. COMPLEX can be a sentence or passage that builds on the basic level and includes two to four emotional hits. A combination of visceral reactions, internal or external dialogue, dialogue cues/tags/beats, body language, or action. These deepen character. Example: She strode down the hallway, fists balled and arms swinging.
3. EMPOWERED fills three to five lines of text and has multiple emotional hits. It combines any of the ways listed in #2, though some my be amplified. It sounds good out loud. Example: She strode down the hallway, fists balled and arms swinging. No one should have that much power over another. No one had the right to treat her friend that way. No one was going to get away with it.
4. SUPER EMPOWERED is for rare, special moments, like turning points--use only one or two per book. The writer powers up three or more paragraphs in the amplified ways stated above, plus rhetorical devices or combos. Anaphora is the device used in the empowered passage above. Super empowered would lengthen the passage to include more ways and devices. 

Strengthen your writing during the editing stage with powerful emotional hits!

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