July 29th, 2021

Ten "Not Absurd" Tips for Writing Fiction

by Margie Lawson

This combo-list of not absurd writing tips includes four points from me, and three each from Francine Prose and Barbara Kingsolver. I’ll share the list of ten, then chat about each writing tip.

Writing Tips from Francine Prose

1. Your first sentence (or paragraph) makes a promise that the rest of the story (or novel) will keep.

2. Give your reader a reason to turn every page.

3. Keep a very large trash can beside your desk.

Writing Tips from Barbara Kingsolver

4. Show, don't tell. Everybody knows this rule, and most of us still break it in every first draft. Be ruthless. Throw out the interior monologue.

5. Be relentlessly descriptive. Use details from every sense you own.

6. Don't wait for the muse. She has a lousy work ethic. Writers just write.

Writing Tips from Margie Lawson

7. Make multiple Deep Editing passes.

8. Write fresh!

9. Honor your Controlling Premise.

10. Cadence. Cadence. Cadence.

More About These 10 Tips

Tips from Francine Prose

1. Your first sentence (or paragraph) makes a promise that the rest of the story (or novel) will keep.

Margie’s Ideas: 

I recommend sharing at least a hint about your Story Promise in your opening. Ideally, in your first few paragraphs. That’s the first point in my 20 Point Checklist for Openings in my online course: A Deep Editing Guide to Make Your Openings Pop!

If you follow this rule, your readers will know where your compelling story is going, and they’ll be hooked. They’ll have to keep reading.

Check out a few first lines and paragraphs from Dana Marton.

Deathwatch, Dana Marton, Virtual Immersion Grad, RITA Winner, NYT Bestseller

Kate Bridges thought attending her own funeral would be the hardest part.

Broslin Bride, Dana Marton, Virtual Immersion Grad, RITA Winner, NYT Bestseller

Luanne Mayfair might have killed her boss a little. Fine, a lot. Pretty much all the way. God, that sounded bad. But he was a sleazebag. Honest. The maids at the Mushroom Mile Motel that Earl Cosgrove managed often prayed for lightning to strike the lecherous bastard. Alas, God had seen fit to send Luanne instead.          

Deathblow, Dana Marton, Virtual Immersion Grad, RITA Winner, NYT Bestseller

The worst time for a police cruiser to fly off a bridge was when you were handcuffed in the back. Joe Kessler braced as the Hummer crashed into the cruiser from behind for the final time and sent the brand-new Crown Victoria over the railing.

Two Openings from Harlan Coben

Gone for Good, Harlan Coben

Three days before her death, my mother told me—these weren’t her last words, but they were pretty close—that my brother was still alive.

Shelter, Young Adult, Harlan Coben

I was walking to school, lost in feeling sorry for myselfmy dad was dead, my mom in rehab, my girlfriend missing—when I saw the Bat Lady for the first time.

An Opening from Jaye Wells

Red-Headed Stepchild, Jaye Wells, USA Today Bestseller, 2-time Immersion Grad, Cruise Grad

Digging graves is hell on a manicure, but I was taught good vampires clean up after every meal. So I ignored the chipped onyx polish. I ignored the dirt caked under my nails. I ignored my palms, rubbed raw and blistering. And when a snapping twig announced David’s arrival, I ignored him too.

An Opening from C.J. Box

Savage Run, C.J. Box, NYT Bestseller

On the third day of their honeymoon, infamous environmental activist Stewie Woods and his new bride, Annabel Bellotti, were spiking trees in the forest when a cow exploded and blew them up. Until then, their marriage had been happy.

The backstory on that opening sentence of Savage Run: Chuck had an idea about starting a book with an exploding cow. He didn’t want to lose it, so he named two characters and wrote that first sentence. He wrote the rest of the story three years later.

Review those openings.

Read them OUT LOUD. Hear the cadence-driven power?

See how the authors were strategic with style and structure?

          Power words. Backloading. Rhetorical devices. Run-on-ish sentences.

Humor hits. Details that deepen characterization for a character you’re just meeting.

Make a list of what the reader learns.

Okay. Finish reading the blog, then come back and analyze those openings.

Deal?

You’ll really do it. Right?

2. Give your reader a reason to turn every page.

Margie’s Ideas: 

I want to believe that every writer strives to write by this rule. But I’ve read plenty of first pages of books that did not give me a reason to turn more pages.

I’ll share one of the ways I developed to help writers check for pacing and power:

Create a bullet-point list of what the reader learns on every page. If it’s printed, write what they learned at the bottom of the page. If the reader doesn’t learn an important point or two or three on a page, it would be smart to tighten that page.

Making that list at the bottom of a page works. Try it!

3. Keep a very large trash can beside your desk.

Margie’s Ideas: 

Be willing to kill, mutilate, morph, and tweak your darlings. It may take you two or three passes before you realize you can sacrifice a favorite line or paragraph or passage. Trust me. You’ll make your scene stronger.

Tips from Barbara Kingsolver

4. Show, don't tell. Everybody knows this rule, and most of us still break it in every first draft. Be ruthless. Throw out the interior monologue.

Margie’s Ideas: 

We all know the show-don’t-tell rule. But it’s not really accurate. Sometimes you just tell. Sometimes you just show. Sometimes you show and tell.

Look what Barbara Kingsolver slipped in at the end. Throw out the interior monologue. I’ve read some of BK’s books, and I know she isn’t suggesting that all thoughts and all internalizations should be nixed. She’s saying, MAKE THEM COUNT!

In my scene analysis EDITS System, thoughts (internalizations) are highlighted YELLOW. I differentiate between YAMMERING YELLOW and POWER YELLOW. YAMMERING YELLOW is nixed or turned into POWER YELLOW. Then you know those thoughts are keepers.

5. Be relentlessly descriptive. Use details from every sense you own.

Margie’s Ideas: 

Another not absurd tip we all know. It’s a good reminder to share details, as long as they add something meaningful.

6. Don't wait for the muse. She has a lousy work ethic. Writers just write.

Margie’s Ideas: 

So true. Make a schedule that works for you—and write.

Having trouble with procrastination or other self-defeating behaviors that plague writers? Consider my online course, Defeat Self-Defeating Behaviors. I’m teaching it in January.

Don’t want to wait that long? Grab the lecture packet for DSDB. It’s always available.

Tips from Margie Lawson

7. Make multiple Deep Edit passes.

It takes multiple passes to turn your writing from throw-your-story-on-the-screen to hook-every-reader stellar.

If you’ve taken some of my editing-focused on-line courses or reviewed the Lecture Packets, you know I’m the Queen of Deep Editing.

What is DEEP EDITING?

It’s what’s in those hundreds of pages of lectures in my Big Three courses. It’s what’s in my advanced writing craft courses too. I teach writers how to add psychologically-based power to create a page-turning read.

8. Write fresh!

Avoid clichés. Avoid overused word pairings. Give the reader fresh writing, but not so fresh that the reader trips. Write like I’m sitting next to you. And give the reader a boost with phrases and sentences they’ve never read before.

9. Honor your Controlling Premise.

A CONTROLLING PREMISE is a three to five sentence who’s-doing-what-to-whom and-why-the-reader-cares story summary.

I recommend writing your Controlling Premise and pasting it at the beginning of each chapter. It will keep you focused on your big black story thread.

10. Cadence. Cadence. Cadence.

It’s smart, smart, smart to make your writing cadence driven. Read your work out loud, and keep tweaking each sentence and paragraph until the cadence drives you from the first word to the last.

Wrapping Up

I have a couple dozen more writing rules. I bet you do too.

What not absurd writing tips do you live by? Please click in and say Hi! Or comment on this list. Or share your favorite not absurd writing tip. Post a comment and you could WIN a lecture packet from me! (Including the packet for A Deep Edit Guide to Make Your Openings Pop!)

Note: This new lecture packet is loaded with ideas for how you can make the opening of every scene and every chapter stronger.

We’ll have TWO WINNERS! I’ll draw the TWO WINNERS at 8:00 p.m. Mountain Time on Sunday, August 1st. I’ll post their names on the blog about 8:30 p.m. Mountain Time.

Thanks for dropping by the blog.  Please chime in, so I’ll know you’re here!

*  *  *  *  *  *

About Margie

Margie Lawson left a career in psychology to focus on another passion: helping writers make their stories, characters, and words strong. Using a psychologically-based, deep-editing approach, Margie teaches writers how to bring emotion to the page. Emotion equals power. Power grabs readers and holds onto them until the end. Hundreds of Margie grads have gone on to win awards, find agents, sign with publishers, and hit bestseller lists.

An international presenter, Margie has taught over 150 full-day master classes in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and France, as well as multi-day intensives on cruise ships in the Caribbean. Pre-COVID, she taught 5-day Immersion Master Classes across the U.S. and Canada and in seven cities in Australia too.

COVID Update: Immersion Master Classes are now virtual, taught through Zoom. Virtual Immersion classes are limited to six writers. They're two days long—and as always, writers get one-on-one deep editing with Margie.

She also founded Lawson Writer's Academy, where you’ll find more than 30 instructors teaching online courses through her website. To learn more, and sign up for Margie’s newsletter, visit www.margielawson.com.

Ready for an in-person Immersion Master Class?

They’ll kick back in early in 2022. Want me to come to your town?

Want to build your own Immersion Master Class?

Invite six writing friends. Coordinate dates. We’ll make it happen!

Interested in Immersion Master Classes across the world?

Scotland? London? Melbourne? The Gold Coast? Perth?

Depending on international COVID quarantines, I’ll be there. I have hosts waiting to set dates.

Check out my Dig Deep Webinars!

August Webinar: Game-Changing Power:  Sharing Impact on the POV Character

Lawson Writer’s Academy courses for August

You’ll find courses on action scenes, conspiracy theories, sizzling synopses, social media, essentials of writing, advanced craft, YA characters, and foundational fantasy.

So many ways to strengthen your writing and your writing career. (Link)

My next ‘Get Happy with Margie’ Open House is August 17th. It’s 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. Mountain Time. The link is on my website - just click on the Happy Hour graphic.

Top Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

76 responses to “Ten "Not Absurd" Tips for Writing Fiction”

  1. Jenny Hansen says:

    Yay! I get to be first in the comments!! Here are my favorites, and the ones I try to remember as I write - my notes on my thoughts in the parentheses:

    1. Your first sentence (or paragraph) makes a promise that the rest of the story (or novel) will keep. ( Need to remember this, and past it above each chapter number. I did it for a while and I need to go back to it!)

    3. Keep a very large trash can beside your desk. (Ha!)

    6. Don't wait for the muse. She has a lousy work ethic. Writers just write. (My muse has a terrible work ethic.)

    9. Honor your Controlling Premise. (Like #1, I had delusions of grandeur for this when you first taught me the controlling premise and now I feel like I've forgotten it all...and I need to get back to it!)

    Thanks for the post. 🙂

    • Hello Jenny --

      Loved all your comments! I need to clarify Story Promise. That tip about your opening sharing where your story is going is for the opening of your book, not the opening of every chapter.

      As an Immersion Grad, you know I recommend REORIENTING THE READER at the opening of every scene and chapter. It can just be a few words, but it keeps the reader focused on who is where doing what for that scene.

      Glad you'll get back into pasting your Controlling Premise at the top of every chapter. Just like you learned in Immersion class!

      Thanks for posting!

    • Kris Maze says:

      Hi Jenny,
      I completly LOL'd at the trash can tip.
      Glad you thought it was funny, too.

  2. Rosetta Yorke says:

    Excellent blog post - loved all the tips/advice, especially to make every page have to deliver something so the reader *has* to turn it & read on. I'm definitely going to do that. Thanks.

    re Show/Don't Tell - I'd add make sure you appeal to the reader's senses at every opportunity e.g most readers know what freshly baked bread or a newly-opened jar of coffee smells like and that can be comforting/welcoming, or make the MC feel all the more excluded/lonely, depending on their current situation & state of mind. Similarly, all the different sounds rain makes depending on how heavy it is & what it's hitting (ie a shack's tin roof or parched, cracked ground) - can instantly add to/convey mood & atmosphere.
    (I'm trying to work on improving this in my WIP!)

    Thanks for the chance to win the lecture packet - I'd love to win it, especially as I've struggled with revising my opening (many times!) for months now. OK, yes, more like years...

    • Hello Rosetta --

      Glad you liked my pacing and power tip of giving the reader something new, or somethings new, on each page.

      Important ideas on sharing sensory elements. Absolutely.

      You're in the running for the lecture packet drawing!

      BTW -- Sounds like you could use the online course I'm teaching in October: A Deep Editing Guide to Make Your Openings Pop! The lecture packet will be available in a week. You might win it!

      • Rosetta Yorke says:

        Thanks, the online course in Oct sounds exactly what I need! And I'm keeping my fingers crossed for the lecture packet.
        (I'm sure whoever does win it will make great use of it. Good luck to everyone!)

  3. Julia Archer says:

    Well, we should all give up trying to write the killer opening after 'Deathblow'. Olympic records are tumbling this week. That one won't.

    • Hello Julia --

      Brilliant comment. Love how you themed to our Summer Olympics world!

      I agree. Dana Marton's opening in Deathblow is as memorable as it is powerful.

      Deathblow, Dana Marton, Virtual Immersion Grad, RITA Winner, NYT Bestseller

      The worst time for a police cruiser to fly off a bridge was when you were handcuffed in the back. Joe Kessler braced as the Hummer crashed into the cruiser from behind for the final time and sent the brand-new Crown Victoria over the railing.

      Here's the set up from Dana Marton about DEATHBLOW:

      -- The hero is an undercover cop, a detail the officers in the front don't know. And he can't tell them, because he's locked in the back with a criminal who can't find out. They were caught together. The officers swim off, content to let the criminals drown.

      I wonder how many people who read this will want to buy that book!

      Thanks so much for posting!

  4. LauraDrake says:

    Just popping in to say that if you don't win the packet - go check out Margie's site - do your writing a HUGE favor! She took me from 'good' to SOLD!

  5. lmadden42 says:

    Looking forward to another awesome Lawson class. Right now, WRITE NOW is my motto. I'm refraining until draft the final few scenes in my nascent novel.

  6. Michele Prestininzi says:

    Thanks for these tips- especially the opening line examples. I’m revising my opening line today, so this post came to me st the perfect time! So helpful!

    • Hello Michele --

      Glad you used these tips to revise your opening line. Smart. Smart. Smart!

      And I have to mention, the odds are good that you could benefit from the online course I'm teaching in October: A Deep Editing Guide to Make Your Openings Pop. I'm not trying to boost enrollment -- just sharing information. I hope you take it that way.

      Thanks for posting.

  7. Excellent list. I'm going to have to look up all the books from number 1 - some fabulous opening lines!

  8. An awesome list! As always, Margie, your columns send me back to my manuscript with a to-do list in hand 😊 Great to see you here.

    • Hello Becky!

      Great to know my nudging works!

      My goal is to teach, motivate, cajole, and nudge writers to greatness!

      I'm excited about OVER THE FALLS coming out Sept. 7th! Love your writing and that story!

      Immersion Grads Rule!

  9. lrtrovi says:

    Margie, your posts are always amazingly insightful, educational because you provide both the theory and then back it up with great examples. I have a manuscript due to the editor today and need to go back and rework the opening now! One of my "rules" is to learn from other writers and take away positive inspiration, but not to compare myself. That leads to negativity.

    • Hello Introvi --

      You're smart to go back and add clarity and power to the opening of your book. Good for you!

      You'd be smart to power up the openings of every scene and chapter too.

      Have fun!

  10. Dana Summers says:

    Margie, as always you bring me back to earth! Although my books have won a bunch of awards from The Florida Writers Association, my agent hasn't placed any of my three novels! So these tips about getting back to the nuts and bolts was a nice...I was going to say wake up call....but that's a cliche! Let's just say my tank has been filled with Margie high test! Thanks.
    Dana

    • Hello Dana!

      Love the way you avoided a cliche and gave us something unexpected.

      I use examples from your books that are impress-me strong. But it's always smart to review what you learned in my courses and Immersion Master Class.

      Remember that 20 Point Checklist for Openings? There are other checklists too.

      About those nuts and bolts, they are help-you-write-fresh deep-editing nuts and bolts.

      Dig deep, write fresh, and you'll make your writing NYT strong!

  11. ecellenb says:

    Fantastic post!
    The lists are helpful and good reminders.
    I try to keep the internal thoughts to a minimum but sometimes they are a good fit.
    This will be a go to post for me.
    Thanks, Margie!

    • Hello Ellen --

      Thank you.

      We definitely need thoughts. Fresh, dig-for-the-truth, perfectly cadenced thoughts.

      Thanks for posting!

    • HELLO EVERYONE!

      Thanks for posting your comments. I just randomized the number of posts on random.org and took the top two numbers.

      The two who won lecture packets from me are:

      ................................Katherineholom933

      ................................Paula Cappa

      I'll get email addresses from Jenny Hansen and contact our winners.

      I encourage all of you to drop by my website and click around. You'll see cool things like:

      -- WHAT IMMERSION GRADS ARE UP TO -- TV Series, honors, bestseller lists

      -- SECRETS FROM LWA INSTRUCTORS -- Info-packed blogs!

      -- VIRTUAL IMMERSION MASTER CLASSES -- Select dates or create your own!

      -- INCREDIBLE ONLINE COURSES -- We usually have nine classes every month.

      Lawson Writer's Academy can change your writing world!

      Thank you again for being here. I appreciate you.

      Big Lovey Hugs...............Margie

  12. I love the idea of making lists for each page. Great way to keep on target. My favorite exercise is to freewrite before editing an existing chapter, taking a slightly oblique angle on what's already there -- maybe imagining the scene from a different character's POV. The freewriting helps me break out of the structure of what's written and brings a fresh perspective to it.

    • Hello Liz --

      Glad you like my idea about putting a list of what the reader learns at the bottom of every page. You'll keep up pacing and power!

      Thanks for sharing your freewriting exercise. Sounds smart!

      Thanks for posting!

  13. Hi Margie! Another great post with lots of excellent examples. You taught me about cadence a few years ago, and I can still hear your voice in my head when I'm editing a passage, so I keep tweaking until it sounds great when I read it out loud.

  14. Terry Odell says:

    I can't say this works for everyone, but I never try to do anything "pretty" in my first trip through the manuscript. I need the words down, the story down. Lots of [ ] placeholders.
    All of these tips are wonderful, but they're for future passes. Can't fix a blank page, after all. I just released my 27th novel, and although (I think) my writing is better, the process hasn't really changes. Print out each scene after I finish it; read it in bed making cursory notes. Use them for a running start on the writing the next day.

    • Hello Terry --

      So true! Most writers need to get their story out first. Dirty first drafts. Or dirty first act of their book.

      That's why I teach Deep Editing. Editing in layers works so well.

      Your 27th novel! Impressive!

      Smart process of using your notes to jumpstart your next writing session.

      So glad you chimed in!

  15. Excellent advice, all of it. My favorite tips are from Ray Bradbury: Write what you love (i.e., not to the market) and that writer's block is just a warning that you're doing the wrong thing (which I've found to be true - my subconscious alerting me that some aspect of the story wasn't quite right). Thanks, Margie! And if you ever come to central PA, I'd so love to attend an Immersion Class.

    • Hello C. A. --

      I always love Ray B's advice. Thanks for sharing it here -- and how it's worked for you. Smart of you to recognize something wasn't right with your story.

      I'd love to do an Immersion in central PA in 2022. Groups can bring me in. I call it Build Your Own Immersion. More fun than building a bear. You know -- those build a bear stores? Anyway... Let's set up an Immersion class.

      Thanks also for being on Margie's Marvelous Promo Team. I appreciate you!

  16. KS Jones says:

    The big revelation for me was, "Create a bullet-point list of what the reader learns on every page. If it’s printed, write what they learned at the bottom of the page. If the reader doesn’t learn an important point or two or three on a page, it would be smart to tighten that page." I try to do something similar per chapter, but until now, I've never thought about narrowing it to each page! Great suggestion!

    • Hello KS Jones --

      I always dig deep. Pages. Passages. Paragraphs. Sentences. Words.

      So many opportunities to make your writing stronger and draw the reader deeper into the story. Deeper into the POV character.

      Glad you liked my ideas!

      Thanks for posting.

  17. Kris Maze says:

    Hi Margie!
    Thank you for blessing us with another insightful post. 🙂
    I find the tip that stood out for me most was the "delete internal dialogue" one.

    It made sense to me after reading a book that got praise and had an amazing premise, but fell flat somehow. Once I stepped back and thought through what kept it from being a 5 start book for me, I realized that the author had mentally held-my-hand too much with telling me the character's thoughts. It was incredibly well written and had many "fresh writing" examples, but I couldn't say it was a page turner.

    This post is a great reminder of how to proceed on my own Work In Progress. I hope you are enjoying your summer!
    Kris

    • Hello Kris Maze -

      Thank you!

      That author probably didn't share thoughts in a compelling way, a deep edited way.

      What a difference deep editing makes.

      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts about those thoughts!

  18. Oh how I always love your examinations of openings. I guess I always look at them like a message from your doctor. You're expecting, "Just a friendly reminder that you have a follow-up visit next Monday." I always strive for, "Whoops. We forgot to tell you that you only have a month to live. Given that was four weeks ago there really isn't a need for that follow-up visit. Sorry for the inconvenience."

  19. Nina Rogers says:

    Hi! Just found you on Twitter! I love writing but so far most of what I do is edit for other people.

  20. DLWillette says:

    Margie, it took me forever to get though this blog post because I kept going back and forth between your tips and my WIP to try out something you inspired.

    My favorite tip? 6.Don't wait for the muse. She has a lousy work ethic. Writers just write.
    Yep. Some days are more of a struggle than others, but every time I've followed this advice, I've come though to the other side, and then I'm proud of myself.

    • Hello D L Willette -

      Ha! Love that you used these tips to make your WIP stronger.

      If you haven't taken one of my online courses yet, please consider it. I know you could add a lot of deep editing power to your WIP.

      Not trying to sell a course. Just trying to help you. I hope you take it that way.

      Good for you for not waiting for your muse!

      Thanks so much for posting!

  21. Barb DeLong says:

    I agree with DLWillette! Broke the record for the length of time I've ever spent on a post, Margie! Such great tips. I'll be adopting the bullet-point list of what the reader learns on every page. I'm back to my opening again for the umpteenth time. It's just not quite right.

    • Hello Barb DeLong --

      Fabulous to cyber-see you!

      Remember your handout packet from Immersion. Lots of goodies there, including my 20 Point Checklist for Openings.

      Have fun powering up your opening!

  22. Dana Renor says:

    These were helpful, thanks!

  23. Jeanne Kern says:

    What a fabulous list of tips. Just another example of why Margie Lawson is on my Goddess list.

  24. Best one: no advice is gospel truth.

    If someone knew the answer, they'd keep it secret.

    After a while, you know what works - for you. Be willing to read good posts like this one, and consider a few possibles, but make them really earn a space on your checklists.

    Yes, have checklists. It's amazing what the mind will forget.

    A good beta reader is worth her weight in diamonds - don't send her anything but your best, finished, polished work.

    Those are mine.

  25. Excellent resource. Thanks so much Margie for taking the time to put this together. I'm gonna print this list out and have it with me when I write. And I'm all up for a west Aussie immersion class!

    I can't remember Margie if I read it or you said it, but a tip that has help me a lot is -

    Be a writer or a reader but not both at the same time.

    I have got so much more done by just pouring out my writing and not stopping to read it until the end of a chapter or even the next day. Sometimes I just write and write and when I'm not in the mood to write, then I read and edit.

    • Hello Anne G from Perth!

      I hope we get to have our west Aussie Immersion class in 2022! We'll make COVID cooperate.

      It's smart to pour your story out for as long as you like--and go back and deep edit when the time is right for you.

      Thanks for posting!

  26. KathleenBaldwin says:

    I love, Love, LOVE this post, Margie. It's a blog bonanza! Wow! You always make me work harder. Like many of the other commenters I'm going to go back into my ms and dig even deeper.

    Thank you. Great concepts and I'm so excited about your new packet! That's wonderful news.

    Right now, I'm pretty low on writing advice. Life, eh?

    But here's a tidbit from my heart:
    Write what you love. And since you love it, put in the work to make it sing the song you intended. Sing it so clearly and with such beauty and power that it whistles across the valley to YOUR readers' ears--readers yearning for your unique song.

    Hugs,
    Kat
    PS: piggybacking on that thought: (the reading world is vast) we're not writing for everybody. We're writing for OUR readers.

    • lmadden42 says:

      How lovely. I've just come home from a 6 day socially silent retreat. During the retreat, several times in the midnight darkness my soul created ideas for new scenes to sing when I returned home. Thanks to my CFS, I sing in the wee hours of he night five nights a week. My novel is being sung by a nightingale.

      • I have CFS, too. Bummer that you have it.

        I gave it to my mainstream trilogy's main character - probably partly because I saw myself in no main characters available to read.

        • lmadden42 says:

          Your posts have been an inspiration to me. My own condition began only 3 or so years ago; finally diagnosed after body scanned from head to toe to abdomen. I had been reading your posts for other reasons, but now the cfs subject matter is special. Thank you!!

          • Jenny Hansen says:

            There is nothing I love more than seeing people feel SEEN in our comments section! I'm glad you two were able to connect.

          • If you - or anyone here, really - would ever like to read the first volume in the Pride's Children trilogy, Purgatory, in electronic ARC form, just contact me on my blog. I'm working hard on getting Book 2 out, and Book 3 should take a lot less time.

            People with CFS don't always have the energy, even if they read mainstream fiction.

    • Hello Kat Baldwin --

      So fabulous seeing you here!

      Love your enthusiasm. And you know I love encouraging writers to work harder, dig deeper, add more power.

      I feel your passion, hear your song, in every book you've written. Your stories are stunningly rendered on the page and locked in my heart forever.

      Thank you so much for posting!

  27. Jenny Hansen says:

    Hello, lovely Margie! Me again, in the wee hours of the morning. 🙂 I just got in and approved SIX comments, so you might want to take one pass from the top.

  28. Paula Cappa says:

    Fabulous! I am especially interested in your yellow power interior monologues you mention. Glad you explained Kingsolver’s suggestion about ditching it. My local authors group have discussed this a number of times and how to handle interior monologues in a balanced and productive way in storytelling. It does seem that each new story, each new character demands another level to explore. Thanks Margie for these great tips. We never stop growing as writers. Paula Cappa, author and co-chair of Pound Ridge Authors Society.

    • Hello Paula --

      You asked about my POWER YELLOW for internalizations.

      I created a highlighter-based EDITS System for analyzing scenes. It's covered in one of my online courses, Empowering Characters' Emotions. That course will be taught Sept. 1 - 30. Now you know.

      If you have questions, please feel free to contact me through my website.

      Thanks for posting!

  29. Cheri Patton says:

    Margie! I sure do miss you! Thank you for the words of wisdom and for putting your own Margie-spin on things. You really are the BEST! Hope to do another Immersion in the near future! ❤️

    • Hello Cheri --

      I miss you too! Big time.

      I can't wait to work with you in your third immersion. I'm starting up in-person Immersions again in 2022. Covid-permitting.

      The Virtual Immersion classes are powerful too.

      Thanks for posting!

  30. Luna Joya says:

    Don't be a perfectionist on your first draft. Just get the story frame on the page. The magic happens in revisions.

  31. dholcomb1 says:

    this was so amazing and helpful.

    denise

  32. Susan says:

    I have to start reading Dana Marton. Her openings have me hooked! Thanks for the reminders.

  33. The first line or paragraph is the story promise really struck me. I enjoyed all of the tips but that was a fresh way of looking at the opening of a novel. Thanks!

  34. Dee says:

    Thank you Margie for an incredible blog. I love your teaching style, bc I always feel like you are talking directly to me.

    In every lecture packet, online class and immersion, you freely give tips and techniques to grow my novel into the best darn novel it can be!

    I had another Margie-sized aha moment in this blog and I will put a list of what the reader learns at the end of every page. Thank you.

    You're the BEST!

    -Dee

  35. Incredibly helpful blog post! Great information from amazing writers. I'm keeping all your professional info to hopefully take a course--particularly interested in an immersion course. Thanks so much for your time & sharing your immense knowledge with others.

  36. Debra Getts says:

    Helpful, as always. Thank you!

  37. Jacquolyn McMurray says:

    Great reminders. I'm two scenes away from first round of revision, so perfect timing. Thanks Margie!

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