"If you write FOR a particular market or FOR a particular editor you will often miss the mark. But if you write because your fingers have danced across the keyboard, because a character has tapped you on the shoulder, because a story has settled in your heart, then even if you never sell it you have done the work you were meant to do. And sometime, dear readers, real magic happens." Jane Yolen


Writing Craft Recap for February

2012 is my "learning the writing craft" year. And once a month, generally on the first Thursday of the month (this month the second, since the first Thursday was the 1st), I will share some highlights of what I learned. And here I go.

My main writing craft education for February came from one intensive, time-consuming, but AMAZING class. And below is just the highlights of what I learned.

From Empowering Characters' Emotions by Margie Lawson:

  • Every component of a scene can carry emotion.
  • White space is a writer's BFF.
  • Visceral emotion by the POV character has a LOT of power when used when it counts. It is, in fact, the strongest reader hook. But it should be used sparingly.
  • Showing body language (in a creative way) is a great way to deepen your characters' emotional response.
  • Cadence is more important than you think.
  • If you have showing and telling in the same sentence, try cutting the telling part.
  • Include power words where needed - and backload (end a sentence or paragraph with one) when you can.
  •  Lips can show more emotion than eyes.
  • Write fresh (avoid cliches!)
  • Be sure the scene is set (and your characters are clothed!).
  • Make sure you don't have too much internalization.
  • Have lots of tension and conflict.
  • Make sure your characters' emotions come across as authentic to the reader.
  • ALWAYS read your scenes out loud.
  • Use all the senses.
This is just a touch of what I learned - and i will be USING all of it, and more, in my writing.

Watch for my March "Writing Craft Recap" post, where I'll be sharing details on my CURRENT Margie Lawson class - "Deep Editing:  the EDITS system, Rhetorical Devices, and More!"

Questions? Comments? Observations?

Traveling Rough Roads With God's Strength


  1. Lips can show more emotion than eyes.

    I love all of this information but this really interested me! Never knew that or even considered that. thank you!

  2. Terri - it's one of those things that you would never consider, but then, once you think about it (and watch lips LOL) you totally get.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Every time you post one of these updates on your study of the writing craft, I am SO convicted! Thank you for keeping me (and others) accountable to study and improve our craft, instead of resting on our proverbially cliched laurels. : )
    (Currently reading "Eats, Shoots, & Leaves" as my study book. It's a hoot!)

  4. Oh - Niki - I SO want to read that book! Have heard it is SO awesome!

    (and by the way, even if you can't take the classes, Margie Lawson sells her lecture packets, which is basically everything she teaches without the interaction, for not too much money. www.margielawson.com

  5. Great suggestions! I'm re-reading "Getting Into Character" right now, trying to slow myself down, make sure I dig deep into my characters before plunging into my next novel. :) Sounds like the book you referenced is another one I need to read. :)

  6. Getting Into Character is DEFINITELY one on my "want to read" list.


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