Hey everyone, today's guest is the amazing Margie Lawson, whose classes have helped me immeasurably with my craft. I've used her Deep Edits system and Empowering Character Emotions lessons at the final stage of my last three books, and I can't begin to express how great they are (the lessons, not the books--though if you think the books are great, Margie's system had a lot to do with it).I'm seriously tempted to take this new course she's offering next week. I'm coming up on a deadline, but on the other hand, it's an edit/rewrite deadline, so the timing is perfect. Hmmm....
Today Margie helps us figure out whether we're right-, left, or whole-brained and how that affects our creative process. I took the quiz and scored a 9--whole-brained but leaning slightly to the left, which explains why I enjoy the rewrite stage more than the first draft "vomit" (my term, not Margie's).Anyway, Margie is giving away free lecture packets (a $20 value!) to commenters on this blog. See the end of the post for details.
Hold Your Editing Horses! Cognitive Style and the Editing ProcessAre you riding the editing horse with a saddle, or bareback?
By Margie LawsonWriters – Humor me. Go with that image!
Readers – Humor me. Read along and learn how writers stretch the hemispheres of their brains to make their writing stellar.Picture yourself riding a horse. Sitting comfortably on that saddle. Holding the reins. Galloping. In control. Enjoying your ride.
Now ---- picture riding a horse with no saddle. You’re leaning forward, riding bareback, moving with the horse, enjoying your wild ride.Both riders love the rhythm. Love the exhilaration. Love their visceral responses.
HELLO Jeri’s blog readers who know me! You know I’m all about visceral responses. You know I love rhetorical devices too. Did you notice ANAPHORA in those last three sentences?We could use those two images as metaphors for deep editing. You’re either Left-Brained, in charge of editing . . . or Right-Brained, and editing is horsing around with you, running you in circles, riding you ragged, or scaring you to death.
Multi-Cliché-Alert!Does anyone want to rewrite that cliché-loaded sentence and WRITE IT FRESH?
If you take the challenge, post it for all of us to applaud your talent. ;-)))I get Margie-points for backloading the cliché-riddled sentence with DEATH. In that sentence, DEATH is definitely the strongest word, the word that carries the most POWER.
I also backloaded with the power words FRESH and TALENT.BACK TO DEEP EDITING:
Left-Brained writers usually love editing. Right-Brained writers usually have an aversion to editing. They’d rather head to the barn, grab a shovel, and muck out stalls that are knee-deep in horse poop.I had to work to end the sentence above with POOP. Always go for power!
It would have been easier to write: They’d rather muck out horse stalls.I wanted to use MUCK OUT – it’s scene-themed and evocative. Plus, the word MUCK sounds like the word it describes. Using onomatopoeia elicits an unconscious association to uckiness.
BUT – ending with STALLS, seemed weak. Hence, my rewrite, resulting in a longer sentence, anchored with setting details, ending with POOP.Some of you know I go deeper with editing. The Deep Editing that I teach is editing to increase psychological power. Editing to hook the reader viscerally. Editing to create a page-turner.
You can add Deep Editing power in a gazillion ways. Once learned, it doesn’t take long before you’re writing to deep editing, adding power while writing your first draft or in an early quick-fix pass. You automatically think about power-builders like backloading, cadence, balance, motivation reaction units, visceral responses, nonverbals, writing fresh, and endless possibilities for rhetorical power.Okay – it may take a few weeks to get to the automatic response level. :-))) BUT – it will happen.
Right-brained writers love the creative freedom of writing new scenes. They’re happy, happy, happy in THE ZONE. It seems like the happier they are in the fresh writing zone, the more they struggle and get mired in the editing process.Left-brained writers may work harder at getting a new scene on paper. However, they’re nestled in their happy place when they edit and edit and edit, reworking the same passage for eons.
OKAY – Not eons. But it was a good place to slip in another rhetorical device. Hyperbole. ;-)))Whole-Brained writers may have preferences for writing fresh or editing, but they have strengths in both hemispheres of the brain.
Are you wondering if you’re RIGHT-BRAINED, LEFT-BRAINED, OR WHOLE-BRAINED?Take this COGNITIVE STYLE QUIZ – and you’ll soon know!
COGNITIVE STYLE QUIZ: Choose the one sentence that is more true.
- A. It's fun to take risks.
- B. I have fun without taking risks.
- A. I look for new ways to do old jobs.
- B. When one way works well, I don't change it.
- A. I begin many jobs that I never finish.
- B. I finish a job before starting a new one.
- A. I'm not very imaginative in my work.
- B. I use my imagination in everything I do.
- A. I can analyze what is going to happen next.
- B. I can sense what is going to happen next.
- A. I try to find the one best way to solve a problem.
- B. I try to find different answers to problems.
- A. My thinking is like pictures going through my head.
- B. My thinking is like words going through my head.
- A. I agree with new ideas before other people do.
- B. I question new ideas more than other people do.
- A. Other people don't understand how I organize things.
- B. Other people think I organize well.
- A. I have good self-discipline.
- B. I usually act on my feelings.
- A. I plan time for doing my work.
- B. I don't think about the time when I work.
- A. With a hard decision, I choose what I know is right.
- B. With a hard decision, I choose what I feel is right.
- A. I do easy things first, important things later.
- B. I do important things first, easy things later.
- A. Sometimes in a new situation, I have too many ideas.
- B. Sometimes in a new situation, I don't have any ideas.
- A. I have to have a lot of change and variety in my life.
- B. I have to have an orderly and well-planned life.
- A. I know I'm right, because I have good reasons.
- B. I know I'm right, even without good reasons.
- A. I spread my work evenly over the time I have.
- B. I prefer to do my work at the last minute.
- A. I keep everything in a particular place.
- B. Where I keep things depends on what I'm doing.
- A. I have to make my own plans.
- B. I can follow anyone's plans.
- A. I am a very flexible and unpredictable person.
- B. I am a consistent and stable person.
- A. With a new task, I want to find my own way to do it.
- B. With a new task, I want to be told the best way.
To Score: One point for each time you answered "A" for questions: 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 13, 14, 15, 19, 20, 21
One point for each time you answered "B" for questions: 4 ,5, 6, 10, 11, 12, 16, 17, 18
Add all points:
- 0-4 strong left brain
- 5-8 moderate left brain
- 9-13 whole brain
- 14-16 moderate right brain
- 17-21 strong right brain
What’s your process?Do you procrastinate?
Do you edit in layers? Follow a plan?What’s fun for you?
How do you know when you’re finished editing so you can send your work on to a contest, an agent, or editor?Do you usually feel successful at editing? Do you typically edit some sections of your book more heavily (first third, turning points, last few chapters), or are you an equal-opportunity, deep-edit-all-chapters person?
I look forward to your input. And – you could win a Lecture Packet!
YOUR OPPORTUNITY TO WIN A LECTURE PACKET:
Anyone who posts a comment has a chance to WIN one of my LECTURE PACKETS (a $20 value). I’ll draw one name from every 25 people who post a comment.
Winners select one of the following Lecture Packets:
- Digging Deep into the EDITS System - offered on-line OCTOBER 13th, 2008
- Empowering Characters' Emotions - offered on-line in March
- Deep Editing: The EDITS System, Rhetorical Devices, and More - offered on-line in May
- Defeat Self-Defeating Behaviors - offered on-line in May
LECTURE PACKETS for each course are available any time. They can be ordered through Paypal from my web site.
Please visit my web site, www.MargieLawson.com , and click on Lecture Packets, to read the course descriptions.
I will respond to comments as time allows during my work day. I’ll be on-line this evening (Mountain Time).
Thank you for visiting Jeri’s blog!