January 17th, 2018

Putting Wow on the Page!

Margie Lawson

We at WITS are so happy to have Margie back with us, after a too-long hiatus!  Wisdom ahead!

Ready for two treats?

First Treat: This blog is loaded with examples of power, power, power. The kind of power that boosts your writing toward contracts and awards and bestseller lists.

Second Treat: I’ll deep edit analyze some of the examples. You’ll see how the author created that power.

We’ll start with a paragraph about silence. The silence that happens when a parent enters the room.

Amazing Grace, Elaine Fraser, 3-time Immersion-Grad

Silence—the sort of silence that sucked movement, breath, life, out of a room—descended. A presence behind her sent out a chill. It wriggled down her spine and she shivered. Mum stilled three teenage boys, a man, and a girl, just by entering a room. Her brothers were named after superheroes, but her mother owned the power.

Wow. Stellar writing.

Elaine Fraser lives in Australia. Hence, mum.

Deep Edit Analysis

Rhetorical Devices:

Amplification – amplified silence

Alliteration – silence, sort, silence, sucked, sent, spine, she, shivered, stilled

Asyndeton (No And) – movement, breath, life

Structural Parallelism –  last sentence

Power Words –  silence, silence, sucked, breath, life, chill, spine, shivered, stilled, superheroes, owned, power

Visceral Responses: chill wriggled down her spine, shivered

Power Internalization – last sentence

Three more examples from Amazing Grace by Elaine Fraser, 3-time Immersion-Grad.

  1. His grin was as relaxed as a worn pair of blue jeans.
  1. Emily gave a sigh that stretched as long as her legs.
  1. Britt laughed the way you did when you told embarrassing stories about your younger self.

 All is Bright, Andrea Grigg, Immersion-Grad 

  1. I let five seconds slide into eternity before I speak. “So-o-o-o-o what happened?”
  1. I’m tired, I’m emotional, I’m stressed. And in the context of who we’re talking about, my sense of humor has put on a tutu and pirouetted onto centre stage at a totally inappropriate time.
  1. I buckle up with laughter and Josh joins in, but not for long and certainly not as hysterically. I hiccup my way to a stop, and remember Tess, my darling sister Tess, and guilt rolls over me and in me and through me like a toxic fog.

Wow. Hear the BOOM? Powerful writing. 

Deep Edit Analysis – for the third example 

Power Words – joins, hysterically, stop, darling, guilt, toxic, fog

Rhetorical Devices:

Polysyndeton (Many Ands) – …guilt rolls over me and in me and through me.

Amplified Simile – like a toxic fog

Read the last example again. Notice how Andrea Grigg shifted the POV character’s emotional set. The girl went from silly to sad, and so did the reader. 

I Wish You Happy, Kerry Anne King, Cruising Writers Grad, International Bestseller 

You need to know — Bernie is the POV character’s therapist. 

  1. But even my breathing feels sharp and wrong, and I open my eyes again and lock on to Bernie. My lifeline, my savior. My paid friend.
  2. I’ve been steadfastly stuck now for five years, the weight of my determined inertia too much for even a force of nature like Bernie to budge.
  3. Bernie lets the silence grow until it is cosmic, then sighs, sinks back, and lets her hands fall to her lap. The gesture does me in, it’s so full of futility. Even Bernie doesn’t know what to do with me.

Love the way Kerry Anne King shares the POV character’s emotions. Her internalizations about the therapist run deep and true. Readers will nod. They’ll feel her despair.

Wild Women and the Blues, Denny Bryce, 4-time Immersion-Grad, Golden Heart Winner 

  1. The small room with its dropped ceiling stoked my claustrophobia. No windows. No air. No natural light. Just stark-white walls out of focus like cheesecloth over a camera lens.

Deep Edit Analysis

Rhetorical Devices:

Anaphora (Triple Beginnings) – No windows. No air. No natural light.

Themed Description of Walls – out of focus. The POV character is in film production.

Themed Simile – like cheesecloth over a camera lens.

  1. Her expression was like the pages of the screenplay I never wrote. Blank with a heavy shot of I don’t care.

Wow. That’s a fresh and empowered way to write a blank face. 

Plus, Denny Bryce themed the facial expression to the POV character’s career. And she amplified, deepened characterization, in that second sentence too. Smart, smart, smart. 

The Tycoon’s Marriage Deal, Melanie Milburne, 4-Time Immersion-Grad 

The name rang a bell. Not a drawing room bell. A Big Ben type of bell.

Love that humor hit shared in a rhetorical device. Epistrophe. Triple endings.

The Most Scandalous Ravensdale, Melanie Milburne, 4-Time Immersion-Grad 

  1. His words were like a nail gun firing into a slab of timber.
  2. His smile was slow. Slow and deliberate. Amusement laced with mockery and a garnish of got-you.

Deep Edit Analysis

Power Words – smile, slow, slow, deliberate, amusement, mockery, got-you

Rhetorical Devices:

Anadiplosis – … slow. Slow…

Five Amplifications of that smile – Powerful writing!

A Season to Love, Nicole Deese, Immersion-Grad, ACFW Carol Winner 

  1. “You know I want to be more than your friend.” The raw quality in his voice was like the snap of a rubber band against wet skin.
  1. My gaze locked with Patrick’s and in that moment, my fear hardened into something firm and fierce and fiery. Something that whooshed in my eardrums and marched in my chest. Something that wouldn’t allow me to walk away.

Wow. Wow. Wow!

Deep Edit Analysis – for the third example

Power Words – locked, fear, hardened, firm, fierce, fiery, marched, wouldn’t allow, walk away

Rhetorical Devices:

Polysyndeton (No And) and Alliteration – firm and fierce and fiery

Onomatopoeia – whooshed

Anaphora (Triple Beginnings) – something, something, something

Structural Parallelism – whooshed in my eardrums and marched in my chest 

Mad About the Marquess, Elizabeth Essex, 2-time Immersion-Grad

  1. Strathcairn smiled at her in that lethal, tomcat way.
  2. She kissed as she was—agile and acrobatic, curious and capricious, delightful and determined. She was light and air and sunshine in the velvet dark of the empty room. She tasted of danger, dark and bittersweet like morning chocolate, and after one kiss, already deeply addictive. 

Deep Edit Analysis

Rhetorical Devices:

Triple Alliteration in the first sentence – A’s and C’s and D’s

Alliteration in the last sentence – danger, dark, deeply

Polysyndeton (Many Ands) – light and air and sunshine

Simile – like morning chocolate 

Wow! Fresh visceral response. Stellar writing. 

Thank you for clicking in and reading my blog. I love teaching writers how to add the right amount of power in the right places on their pages.

Kudos to all the Margie-Grads I cited here. Brilliant writers. They deep edited their writing, and it shows. They put Wow on their pages.

A BIG THANK YOU to all the wonderful WITS gals for inviting me to be their guest today. I always love hanging out with them — cyberly, and in person.

Please post a comment or share ‘Hi Margie!’

If you post something, you have two chances to be a winner!

You could win a Lecture Packet from me or an online class from Lawson Writer’s Academy.

Lawson Writer’s Academy – February Courses

  1. Write Better Faster
  2. Creating Compelling Characters
  3. The Sizzling, Scintillating Synopsis
  4. Five-Week First Draft
  5. Editing Magic: Work with a Professional Editor
  6. Crazy-Easy, Awesome Websites!

I’ll draw names for the two winners Thursday night, at 9PM Mountain Time, and post them on the blog.

Post a comment. Let me know you’re here.

And — I’d love it if you’d give the blog a social media boost. Thank you.

Margie Lawson PhotoMargie Lawson—editor and international presenter—teaches writers how to use her psychologically-based editing systems and deep editing techniques to create page turners.

She’s presented over 120 full day master classes in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and France, as well as taught multi-day intensives on cruises in the Caribbean.

To learn about Margie’s 5-day Immersion Master Classes (in 2018, in Phoenix, Denver, Dallas, Sacramento, Los Angeles, Richmond, Calgary, Atlanta, and in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Perth, Australia), full day and weekend workshops, keynote speeches, online courses through Lawson Writer’s Academy, lecture packets, and newsletter, please visit www.margielawson.com. 

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