THANK YOU to all the uber-talented and uber-fun WITS gals for inviting me to guest blog again!
Margie’s Rule #5: If the Hyphenated-Run-On Fits…
If you’re a Margie-grad, you know I love well written hyphenated-run-ons. That’s my term for stringing three or more words together with hyphens. They give you a boost on the write-fresh scale. You can make a hyphenated-run-on as fresh as you dare.
Okay. Dare may be too strong. Rewrite: You can make a hyphenated-run-on as fresh as fits the character and the scene.
Look at this series of hyphenated-run-ons in one sentence from an NCIS episode. Tony looks at Gibbs and says,
"Uh-oh. I know that look. That's the stay-up-all-night, no-sleep, take-one-for-the-team, I've-got-a-plan look."
Four back-to-back hyphenated-run-ons, probably not something you’d want more than once per book. Maybe zero times. But you may have a place where two or three in a row are perfect.
The Second Virginity of Suzy Green, Sarah Hantz, Margie-Grad
I look across at Lori, who’s smiling at me. Thing is I don’t know if it’s a wanting-to-please-teacher smile, or whether it’s a genuine I-want-to-get-to-know-you smile.
Sarah Hantz played up that contrast with two hyphenated-run-ons in one sentence. Smart!
Chasing Luck, Brinda Berry, Immersion-Grad, 7 examples
Brinda Berry took what could have been mundane, used power words (death, suicide mission), and added humor hits with two hyphenated-run-ons to make that sentence strong.
Fun, fun, fun!
I shared the full paragraph in the next example.
Strong writing. Fresh hyphenated-run-on. Compelling cadence throughout.
The Last Breath, to be released Sept. 30th, MIRA, Kimberly Belle, 4-time Immersion-Grad, 4 examples
Kimberly Belle used a hyphenated-run-on to slip in the POV character’s age. Brilliant!
When You Are Mine, Kennedy Ryan, Immersion-Grad, 3 examples
Two examples with strong dialogue cues.
Love the way Kennedy Ryan used one hyphenated-run-on as a stimulus, and another one as a response. Smart writing!
Sixth Grave Beyond the Edge, Darynda Jones, NYT Bestseller, Margie-Grad, 4 examples
Darynda Jones is a master of Humor Hits. Gun-to-head thing, annoying—great understatement.
Darynda Jones can also grab your heart, and squeeze. You feel her characters’ pain.
Sweet On You, Laura Drake, 2014 RITA Winner, Immersion-Grad, 4 examples
In the next example, the male POV character is referring to a girl. Love it!
I had to share the full paragraph in the example below too.
Wow. Look how Laura Drake kept amplifying and taking the reader deeper and deeper.
Notice the power words and phrases in that last example: deep, bottom, mind, penetrate, fear, helpless, paralyzing, blubbering, fear, screw-up, down farther, hell-hole, wouldn’t have energy
Hear the compelling cadence.
You’ll notice that all the examples in my blogs, and lectures, have compelling cadence. Yep. Cadence is that critical.
You’ll also notice that all the examples in this blog are from Margie-Grads.
I am proud, proud, proud of my uber-talented Margie-Grads!
You may have some common hyphenated-run-ons like door-to-door, hundred-mile-an-hour, or off-the-grid. They work. They’re fine. But I encourage you to write some fresh, make-the-reader-laugh, or carry-a-punch, hyphenated-run-ons too.
You can have too much fun with hyphenated-run-ons:
Hyphenated-run-ons can be all-purpose slip ins. You can use them to slip in a hit of backstory, setting, attitude, facial expression, dialogue cue, humor, angst…
You can use them to provide a contrast, or a balance.
You can use them to make the mundane more interesting, to make a character more interesting, to make a scene more interesting.
You can use them to share a concept or a visual in fewer words. They pick up pace.
If you haven’t included hyphenated-run-ons in your WIP, dig deep and write fresh.
If you have fun writing a hyphenated-run-on and it fits, your reader will probably have fun reading it too. Make your writing like chocolate mousse on the tip of the tongue. Make your reader want more and more.
BLOG GUESTS: IT’S YOUR TURN!
Want to post a hyphenated-run-on you’ve read, or a hyphenated-run-on you wrote?
Post a comment, and you’ll be in the drawing to win an online course from Lawson Writer’s Academy!
If you want to see the previous Margie's Rules you can find them here:
Check out the courses we’re offering in October:
1. Scene and Sequel: Superpowered Writing Tool, Instructor: Kathleen Baldwin
2. Taking a Book From Good to Sold, Instructor: NYT Bestseller Shirley Jump
3. Taming Twitter and Facebook Too! Instructor: Julie Rowe
4. Create Compelling Characters, Instructor: Rhay Christou, MFA
5. Creating That Historical Feel, Instructor: Anne Mateer
6. 30 Days to a Stronger Novel, Instructor: Lisa Wells
7. From Madness to Method: Usingacting techniques to invigorate your story and make each moment Oscar worthy! Instructor: Tiffany Lawson Inman
The drawing will be Friday, September 19, 8:00 PM Mountain Time.
See you on the blog!
Margie Lawson teaches writers how to use her psychologically-based editing systems and deep editing techniques to create page turners. Margie has presented over ninety full day master classes for writers in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
Margie is excited to share that Romance Writers of Australia is bringing her back to present at their conference next summer!
To learn about Lawson Writer’s Academy, Margie’s 4-day Immersion Master Classes (in Denver, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Dallas, Seattle, San Antonio, Columbus, Jacksonville, Houston, and on Whidbey Island), her full day Master Class presentations, keynote speeches, on-line courses, lecture packets, and newsletter, please visit www.MargieLawson.com.
Copyright © 2022 Writers In The Storm - All Rights Reserved