Hmm… Cold hard stare.
Have you read that descriptor before? Maybe more than once? More than a dozen times?
What about variations on these lines:
She narrowed her eyes to slits.
His eyes popped open as wide as saucers.
He arched a sardonic eyebrow.
What happens when readers read phrases or sentences they’ve read before?
They are not as attached to the read.
That page is not a page-turner.
But it’s easy to give the readers a little hit of fresh writing. Big hits are good too. As long as it’s still a smooth read. As long as it doesn’t jerk the reader out of your story.
The examples below share amplifications. The author amplified. They spotlighted body language. Added more descriptors or thoughts or shared how an expression from a non-POV character impacted the POV character.
The facial expression carried more power. Deepened characterization. Made relationships more complex.
Hear the compelling cadence.
Read the examples out loud. You’ll hear the compelling cadence that drives the reader through sentences and paragraphs and passages.
I shared examples from seven Immersion Grads. These authors have completed at least one 5-day intensive with me. Some have done several of my Immersion Master Classes.
I deep edit analyzed examples from the first few authors. I couldn’t analyze them all, the blog would have been waaay too long.
Deep Editing Analysis: Love that line. A few tweaks and it carries so much more power than a cold, hard stare.
Multiple Amplifications: Two descriptors for gaze, and shared how the look impacts the POV character. Compelling Cadence. Smart writing in that seemingly simple sentence.
Could Have Written: He gave her a cold, hard stare.
Deep Editing Analysis: Multiple Amplifications; Look is a stimulus for a visceral response. Hyphenated-run-on. Power words.
Could Have Written: He gave her a reassuring look.
Deep Editing Analysis: Scary, scary. Powerful message. Amplifications; Look is a stimulus for a visceral response. Power words.
Could Have Written: She saw the look on Audrey’s face and knew. Her stomach clenched.
Deep Editing Analysis: Ha! A snickerable moment. Humor Hit – Named the look.
Could Have Written: Her son finally glanced up.
Deep Editing Analysis: Multiple Amplifications; Showing What’s Not There; Fresh writing; Shared how POV character impacted him, and how knowing that impacted her.
Could Have Written: His tone didn’t change, but he looked intimidated.
Deep Editing Analysis: Hear that compelling cadences? Two Amplifications: Fresh writing. Look how she has three descriptors in a row. Smart writing.
Could Have Written: He grabbed her wrists and glared at her.
Deep Editing Analysis: Wow! Packed gaze with truth. Fresh and powerful! Multiple Amplifications; Power words. Deepens characterization.
Deep Editing Analysis: Love the fresh writing! We know exactly what she means.
Could Have Written: He looked away and the moment was gone.
Deep Editing Analysis: Beautiful amplification of silence. Fresh Writing. Deepens characterization. Compelling cadence too.
Could Have Written: We stared at each other and it seemed like the world stopped.
Deep Editing Analysis: Powerful metaphor, themed twice. Stunning writing.
Could Have Written: He looked more angry than I’d ever seen him look.
Deep Editing Analysis: Two Amplifications. Deepens characterization. His look is a stimulus for a physical response.
Could Have Written: He gave me a cold stare. I shivered.
Deep Editing Analysis: Flicker Face Emotion. Couldn’t be interpreted, but the power is on the page with what the POV character infers. Powerful.
Could Have Written: I couldn’t tell what he was thinking.
The Forgotten Ones, Steena Holmes, Immersion Grad, 2-time Cruising Writers Grad, NYT Bestseller
Examples are from the Advanced Reader Copy. Three Days Missing comes out June 26th.
The last two examples are dialogue cues. Sharing more fun.
Three Smart Takeaways:
Kudos to all the Immersion grads referenced in this blog. Love, love, love their writing!
And -- THANK YOU to the WITS gals for hosting me. Can’t wait to see you at RWA National!
Keep in mind this blog is only five pages long. My online course on body language has over 200 pages. It’s loaded with MORE TEACHING POINTS.
Lots more teaching points than are shared here. The online course has plenty of examples and explanations to help you make your writing bestseller-strong. Plus, online courses are fun. And if you know me, you know I’m all about fun.
The course that includes all those facial expressions starts June 1st. Check out -- Writing Body Language and Dialogue Cues Like a Psychologist.
Please post a comment or share a ‘Hi Margie!’ Post something -- and you have two chances to be a winner.
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Lawson Writer's Academy – June Courses
Post a comment. Let me know you’re here.
I’ll draw names for the TWO WINNERS Thursday night, at 9PM, and post them in the comments section.
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Margie 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, San Jose area, Dallas, Yosemite, Los Angeles (2), Atlanta, and in Sydney, Melbourne, and Coolangatta, Australia), Cruising Writers cruises, 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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