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How I Write: The big black hole (or an open post) | Laura Pauling

How I Write: The big black hole (or an open post)

(Click here for a list of participating writers)

What? I have to think up an idea for today’s How I Write post? Okay, fine.

I want to talk about the nitty gritty. The bleeding eyeball work known as revision. Not macro. Not rewrites. Not adjusting your plot arc, or character arc, or deleting a scene. Think smaller.

I’m talking sentences and words. Just as beginner writers aren’t sure how to approach revision, some might not be aware of the art of fine tuning the words on the page. (I’m still a student of crafting sentences that impact your story and character, and probably always will be. I don’t think it ever ends.)

I’ve mentioned Margie Lawson. Her courses are not about plot but about the sentences. And how to write sentences that impact your story. And today, Ansha is covering Margie’s classes more in depth. So hop on over, and then check out Margie’s online courses (or self-paced packets) – if you are looking to improve the power behind your sentences.

Thanks to Ansha for creating this summer writing series that forced all of us to really examine our writing process! She put a lot of work behind coming up with the post ideas, recruiting writers, creating the banner, and uniting all of us. Thanks Ansha! And thanks to all the participating writers. I loved learning from all of you!

Tell the truth time – how many of you truly examine every sentence and paragraph in the final steps of your revision process? Or do you just do a read through for awkward and poorly written ones?

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12 Responses to How I Write: The big black hole (or an open post)

  1. kris August 25, 2010 at 11:52 am #

    I’ll jump on the Margie Lawson bandwagon! And, um, I think I should go and read my ms again…

    • Laura August 25, 2010 at 12:14 pm #

      So, I’ll let you know how I do it. I’m in the middle of the road. I don’t examine every sentence. But I def. look at sentences in scenes that I consider weak. I look at important turning point scenes and the climax. I look at the opening. And then I examine the opening and ending of each scene.

      But as I write, if I know a sentence is super weak or really bad, I rewrite it, right there. Like I said, I’m still learning the right balance. If and when I figure it out, I’ll let everyone know!

  2. Jennifer Shirk August 25, 2010 at 1:24 pm #

    Honestly, I just read through the poorly written ones. It’s something I need to pay more attention to.
    I so want to buy Margie’s course lessons! I’ve heard such good things about them.

  3. Carole Anne Carr August 25, 2010 at 3:15 pm #

    Hmmm.. I spend at least six months editing my stuff and then go back and do some more! The writing is the easy bit…

  4. Patti Nielson August 25, 2010 at 3:38 pm #

    I’m examining every sentence right now. It’s painstakingly slow but hopefully worth it in the end.

  5. Tina Lee August 25, 2010 at 4:54 pm #

    Yes! Thanks to Ansha. This has been great.

  6. Ansha Kotyk August 25, 2010 at 8:07 pm #

    *sniff* you brought a tear to my eye. I am actually quite humbled by the amount of devotion to the series everyone showed by posting and commenting every week. So my hat is off to you guys!
    Micro-editing is all Margie. It’s that ‘next’ level of training I think all writers need.
    And thanks again, Laura for participating, your posts are awesome!!

  7. Lydia K August 25, 2010 at 9:32 pm #

    I change between microediting and line edits and more overall flow type edits. I guess it depends on which stage I’m at!

  8. Sherrie Petersen August 25, 2010 at 11:27 pm #

    I spend a lot of time tweaking my sentences as I write. If I can’t get one right and I know I need to move on, I’ll highlight it so I remember to really work that one later on. By the time I get down to end revisions I’m looking at overall flow and readability.

    • Laura August 26, 2010 at 12:30 am #

      It sounds like maybe we all do it just not in one fell swoop. I do some while I’m writing, during macro if I see one that I know right then how to make stronger, during micro edits… and then at the end too. Hats off to all of you and the hard work it takes to revise! Keep it up!

  9. Elle Strauss August 26, 2010 at 3:57 am #

    Each sentence is so important! No one knows this better than a writer. I’ll check out your friend’s site. Thanks for linking.

  10. Lydia K August 26, 2010 at 5:47 pm #

    Hey, don’t forget to email me your address. I have a gift to mail to you from my contest!
    Medicalmondays (at) gmail (dot) com

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