Surprise! Today’s blog is on wrangling time, not words. But don’t stop reading!
I added examples from an ARC of THE DIRT ON NINTH GRAVE, by NYT Bestseller, and Immersion-Grad, Darynda Jones.
I bet you’ll agree, the examples are super-stellar!
I promise to keep the wrangling time part of the blog short. You’ll get to the fun examples soon!
Power Punch Your 15 Minutes!
What could you do in 15 minutes? Here’s a starter list of easy power-punch items:
- List all character names and nicknames. Check for similarities. If you read The Lovely Bones, did you notice similarities in three character’s names? Lindsay Salmon. Grandma Lynn. Len Fenerman.
- Brainstorm titles.
- Write one setting.
- Write one character description.
- Circle power words in one chapter. Words that carry psychological power.
- Check for backloaded sentences in one chapter. When possible end sentences with a power word.
- Check for no-power words, words like it, this, and that. When possible nix, and add specificity.
Want to dig deeper?
- Do a find on overused facial expressions (i.e., smiles, frowns, smirks, grimaces) and make notes to write them fresh.
- Find dialogue cues, categorize them (Tone, Inflection, Pitch, Quality, Volume, Rate). Learn your top two dialogue cue categories. Make notes to rewrite any dialogue cues that are clichéd or predictable.
- Read several pages out loud and take deep edit notes on cadence, echo words, throw away words, dialogue that needs to be differentiated, too much backstory, pacing…
- Label your rhetorical devices. Check for your go-to RDs, and missed opportunities.
- Track where you’ve threaded emotion and built up to visceral responses.
- Put NYT by any phrases, sentences, or paragraphs that are so awesome they’ll boost your toward a contract, bigger sales, or a bestseller list!
Writers who’ve taken my Defeat Self-Defeating Behaviors class posted 30 to 40 writing-related things they could do in 15 minutes. Add to your list.
How to Power Punch Your 15 Minutes!
- Attitude: Think positively. You can make 15 minutes count. It’s doable.
- Anticipate: Take a couple of minutes each morning to sharpen your saw for the day.
Where do you have to go?
When will you have 15+ minutes of downtime?
- Prepare: Print your current scene or chapter, or a previous one, or both. Put them in a folder in your Writer-to-Go Bag.
If you have feedback from critique that you haven’t had a chance to review – put it in your folder too.
Grab your laptop or iPad.
Where you can Power Punch Your 15 Minutes!
— In Waiting Areas – doctor, dentist, hair stylist, the tire place, motor vehicle registration. You could write half a book there!
— In Restaurants – waiting for friends
— While Running Errands – Give yourself bonus productive time. Sit in your car or a coffee shop.
— At home – Between household tasks. Before you make a phone call. Before you fix a meal. After you exercise.
The Trick to Power Punching Your 15 Minutes!
Focus. Focus. Focus.
What if you’re mega-stressed?
What if you’re over-whelmed and you absolutely cannot fathom focusing on anything writing-related?
Get your body moving. Stretch or exercise.
You’ll boost your mood and your creativity.
BTW, that last sentence used a rhetorical device called zeugma.
Here’s your reward for reading about wrangling time.
- I used all my energy to hold back the laughter threatening to burst from my chest like a baby alien, but inside I lay in a fetal position, teary and aching from the spasms racking my body.
—- Holding back laughter, amplified with a fun simile, and showing what’s not happening, amplified four times. Fresh writing. Compelling cadence.
- She offered a smile made of steel wool.
—- Short and powerful and fresh! Metaphor. Compelling cadence.
- My emotions did a one-eighty. My chest tightened. I fought the concern edging to the surface. Tamped it down. Ignored it the best that I could.
—- Visceral response, amplified. Power words. Short, punchy sentences. Fresh writing. Compelling cadence.
- The spinning slowed, and my heart rate decelerated to a normal speed. A normal rhythm.
—- Visceral recovery, two hits. Second one amplified twice, last time with a frag. Compelling cadence.
- Guilt ate through the lining of my stomach.
—- Short and powerful and fresh! Compelling cadence.
- Awareness of him hummed through me, pulsed like a living thing, throbbed with a combination of fear and desire.
—- Four amplifications for awareness: hummed, pulsed, throbbed, fear, desire. All are power words. Backloaded. Fresh writing. Compelling cadence. Rhetorical Device: asyndeton.
- And then he spoke the very first words he’d ever spoken to me. His deep, rich voice dissolved my bones. I almost responded with “Of course I’ll have sex with you before you sacrifice me to your gods.” Then I realized he’d asked me where the restroom was.
—- Used an amplified dialogue cue as a stimulus for a visceral response. Humor hits! Fresh writing. Compelling cadence.
- His gaze swallowed me a moment longer, his expression almost unreadable if not for the faintest hint of sadness. Or perhaps . . . disappointment?
—- Flicker Face Emotion, amplified multiple times: almost unreadable, sadness, disappointment. Fresh writing. Compelling cadence.
9. His expression softened, and his dark gaze flitted over my face with such appreciation, such admiration, my heart ached for him. But there was also a wariness, and I realized he didn’t know what I was thinking.
—- Expression, amplified twice, used as a stimulus for her reaction, followed by another amplification that carried news-of-a-difference, interpreted. Fresh writing. Compelling cadence.
- Standing close to him was like standing next to a jaguar. Well, a jaguar made of fire. Every move he made was powerful. Exotic. Hypnotizing. Or I was ovulating. It was a toss-up.
—- Proxemics-based simile, amplified five times. Humor hit! Fresh writing. Compelling cadence.
Books by Darynda Jones always wow me!
The Dirt on Ninth Grave will be released January 5th.
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