Sunday, February 10, 2008

Egad! More Editing

Yesterday I drove across town to attend a special meeting of my local RWA chapter. Margie Lawson, a trained psychiatrist, spoke on Deep Editing: 'new psychologically-anchored editing systems and techniques which can take your writing to a higher level'. It was a LONG day: 9-5, plus 45 minutes of drive time on either end, but I'm glad I went.

For one thing, she is a very good speaker. Both engaging and intelligent, she's also very calming. It feel almost as if I was being talked down from a ledge--so soothing, so encouraging. If it weren't for the crick in my neck, I could have been laid out on the couch telling her my writing woes.

Anyway...she covered 25 'rhetorical devices', many of which I already knew about, despite not knowing the term 'rhetorical devices'. I'm talking about things like alliteration, metaphors, oxymorons, similes, etc. But there were a bunch of new ones (new to me anyway) with names I'd never heard of and probably won't remember by tomorrow: anaphora, epistrophe, polysyndeton, etc. And while this new information gave me lots of hints on how to make my writing more emotionally gripping, it also boosted my confidence just slightly, because I'd actually used almost all of these methods somewhere or other without realizing it. Of course we spent the day going over the first three chapters of our current WIP...chapters I'd thought were pretty darn good. And now they're covered in red ink!

She also covered her EDITS System, which color-codes different types of writing: internalization, dialogue, emotion, etc. But I don't see myself using that as much. I'm generally pretty well balanced if I remember to keep my internalization in check. But still, it was useful.

If you get a chance to take one of her online classes (she's offering one in March) or to see her at a conference, I'd take it. She knows her stuff, she has great examples, she's a writer herself, and she's eager to help other writers. Now up and add 'em! ;)


Trish Ryan said...

That sounds cool! I'm rather oblique about knowing what "sort" of writing I'm doing. How fascinating to get that kind of insight!

La La said...

I will have to check out the online course. Thanks.

Caryn said...

That sounds so great! Classes like that always give me a huge boost, but they also make me feel overwhelmed because I think of all the things that I should be doing with my writing, and I worry that I'm not.

I'm glad you found it helpful!

Alyssa Goodnight said...

It was definitely cool, Trish--like we were being let in on a bunch of secrets ;).

Caryn, I know exactly what you mean. After one of these classes, it's like I'm hyperaware, trying to keep all these writing tips at the back of my mind while jotting off smooth, seamless, brilliant writing. Talk about a tight-rope act.

If you're interested, you can order Margie's class notes for $20 or something.

Catherine Avril Morris said...

Eek, I had to look up every one of those words/techniques you listed (anaphora, etc.). That sounds like an interesting workshop. The color-coding edits system sounds like a huge chore to me. Sometimes I start projects like that -- like highlighting each narrative passage in green, each dialogue passage in pink, each romantic scene in blue, or whatever... -- but I always get frustrated and bored by about page 2. Eh. Screw it. I'll just keep hoping for a real, live, paid editor (who's paying me!) to comb through my stuff someday in the not-too-distant future.

Stacy said...

Now I'm intrigued.

Vicki said...

ML is wonderful! The first TARA meeting I ever went to she was the speaker and I was blown away at what I learned, what I was doing correctly, and what I had to come home and fix.