Saturday, June 18, 2011

First Page Lightning: Adding Power with Rhetorical Devices By Margie Lawson

You all know the three-second-rule. Right?

When you meet someone new, that’s how long it takes to form an impression. That all important first impression. That hard to reverse first impression. That colors-your-perception-forever first impression.

Three seconds.

Look. Blink. Smile.

Your three seconds are up.

Writers have a similar challenge to make a positive first impression on agents, editors, and readers. They have a first sentence challenge, a first paragraph challenge, a first page challenge . . .

The first few pages of most novels are the most rewritten. Writers scrutinize those pages. They revise, rethink, rework, rewrite, reject-and-start-over.

Having analyzed the first several chapters (and beyond) of over a thousand novels, I know what components add power to openings. Many writers overlook one of those options--the power of rhetorical devices.

My research reveals that some New York Times bestsellers almost always use the more obscure rhetorical devices in their first few pages. Harlan Coben almost always uses ANAPHORA in the first few pages of his books. In some books, he uses anaphora in his opening paragraph and several more times in the first chapter.

Lisa Gardner and Stephen White often use anaphora and epistrophe in their opening chapters too.

In my Deep Editing course, I teach writers how to use thirty rhetorical devices. I’ll introduce three of these devices in this blog.

We’ll dive into ANAPHORA first.

ANAPHORA – Using the same word or phrase to START three (or more) consecutive phrases or sentences.

From Harlan Coben’s NO SECOND CHANCE, opening paragraph:

     I know that I lost a lot of blood.
     I know that a second bullet skimmed the top of my head...
     I know that my heart stopped.

Two more examples from the first chapter of NO SECOND CHANCE:

     I remembered waking up that morning . . .
     I remembered looking in on Tara.
     I remembered turning the knob . . .

     I longed for the numb.
     I longed for the comatose state of the hospital.
     I longed for that IV bag . . .

Here’s an example of using anaphora to start phrases. It’s from Harlen Coben’s THE WOODS, Chapter 1:

     I have never seen my father cry before—not when his own father died,
     not when my mother ran off and left us, not even when he first heard
     about my sister, Camille.

Look what Harlan Coben accomplished in that line. He slipped in backstory. But with anaphora, it’s fast and smooth and intriguing.

Here are two examples of ANAPHORA, from Allison Brennan, FEAR NO EVIL,
Chapter 1. It’s two paragraphs.

     Fourteen years ago she wanted the exact same thing as Lucy--to
     get out from under her parents’ thumb. But that was before she'd
     decided to become a cop. Before she realized how truly dangerous
     the city could be. Before she realized that justice wasn't always swift,
     that the system didn't always work.

     That some murders would never be solved.

Stephen White used anaphora eight times in BLINDED. The example below is from Page 1:

     It may sound goofy, but I also believed that on good days I could
     smell the spark before I smelled the fire and I could taste the poison
     before it reached my lips. On good days I could stand firm between
     tenderness and evil. On good days I could make a difference.

OKAY! What makes ANAPHORA powerful?

The rhythm . . .
The auditory echo . . .
The repetition of the message . . .

Anaphora speaks to the reader’s subconscious.

Using anaphora makes the read imperative.

Let’s look at another rhetorical device. EPISTROPHE. This one is even more obscure than anaphora. I’ve found thirty times more examples of anaphora, than epistrophe. Yet, it’s equally powerful.

And it’s as fun to write as anaphora. I used epistrophe to draw you into this blog. It’s in my second paragraph, and in my sixth paragraph.

EPISTROPHE – It’s the opposite of anaphora. Using the same word or phrase to END three (or more) consecutive phrases or sentences.

     When you meet someone new, that’s how long it takes to form
     an impression. That all important first impression. That hard to
     reverse first impression. That colors-your-perception-forever first

They have a first sentence challenge, a first paragraph challenge, a first page challenge . . .

Here are more examples of EPISTROPHE from bestselling authors:

From Michael Connelly, the opening lines from THE BRASS VERDICT:

          Everybody lies.

          Cops lie. Lawyers lie. Witnesses lie. The victims lie.

          A trial is a contest of lies. And everybody in the courtroom knows
     this. The judge knows this. Even the jury knows this. They come into
     the building knowing they will be lied to. They take their seats in the
     box and agree to be lied to.

          The trick if you are sitting at the defense table is to be patient.
     To wait. Not just for any lie. But for the one you can grab on to
     and forge like hot iron into a sharpened blade. You then use that
     blade to rip the case open and spill its guts on the floor.

          That’s my job, to forge the blade. To sharpen it. To use it
     without mercy or conscience. To be the truth in a place where
     everybody lies.

Here are the first four paragraphs of HIDE by Lisa Gardner.

          My father explained it to me the first time when I was seven years
     old. The world is a system. School is a system. Neighborhoods are a
     system. Towns, governments, any large group of people. For that
     matter, the human body is a system, enabled by smaller, biological

          Criminal justice, definitely a system. The Catholic Church—
     don’t get him started. Then there’s organized sports, the United
     Nations, and of course, the Miss America Pageant.

          “You don’t have to like the system,” he lectured me. “You
     don’t have to believe in it or agree with it. But you must understand
     it. If you can understand the system, you will survive.”

          The family is a system.

LISA GARDNER used the word SYSTEM eight times. Plus—one use of SUBSYSTEM.

She nails the reader again and again and again with that regimented word, system. And she brings it home with her last sentence—a spotlighted, stand alone sentence.

          The family is a system.

There’s a page break after that line—then the story kicks in with a vengeance.

I’ll share one more rhetorical device – SYMPLOCE.

SYMPLOCE uses a combination of anaphora and epistrophe – in the same sentences.

The SYMPLOCE example below is from Christa Allan. Christa attended a full day master class on Deep Editing Power in 2007. This is the prologue for her debut novel, a 2010 release, WALKING ON BROKEN GLASS.

Prologue from WALKING ON BROKEN GLASS, by Christa Allan:

          If I had known children break on the inside and the cracks don’t
     surface until years later, I would have been more careful with my words.

          If I had known some parents don’t live to watch grandchildren
     grow, I would have taken more pictures and been more careful with my

          If I had known couples can be fragile and want what they are
     unprepared to give or unwilling to take, I would have been more
     careful with my words.

          If I had known teaching lasts a lifetime, and students don’t
     speak of their tragic lives, I would have been more careful with
     my words.

          If I had known my muscles and organs and bones and skin
     are not lifetime guarantees that when broken, snagged, unstitched
     or unseemly, can not be returned for replacement, I would have
     been kinder to the shell that prevents my soul from leaking out.

          If I had known I would live over half my life and have to look
     at photographs to remember my mother adjusting my birthday
     party hat so that my father could take the picture that sliced the
     moment out of time- if I had known, if I had known- I would have
     been more careful with my life.

With anaphora, epistrophe, and symploce—once you’ve established the repetition three consecutive times, you can play with it. You don’t have to stop at three. You can have a sentence or two following the last repetition, that don’t carry the repetition. The last sentence could pick up the repetition and end with a rhetorical punch.

Notice how Christa Allan adhered to the tenets of anaphora in the first four paragraphs. The openings and endings are the same, and those four paragraphs are about the same length.

In the fifth paragraph she gives the reader a surprise. She repeats the opening, but then she amplified the middle section and gave the piece a new grab-your-heart ending.

In the last paragraph, she amplified and added power with cadence. Then she surprised the reader in a new way. When the reader sees the lead-in of the anchor phrase, they think it’s going to be the same as in paragraphs one through four. It’s not until the last word, that they get hit with the psychological punch.

That’s Power Backloading.

This blog focused on using rhetorical devices to add power to first pages. They can be used to add power anywhere. Writers could use this stylistic power at the opening of any scene, at turning points, before a page break, at the end of a chapter.

Anaphora, epistrophe, and symploce are three of the thirty rhetorical devices I cover in my one of my writing craft courses, Deep Editing: The EDITS System, Rhetorical Devices, and More.


If you have an example of anaphora, epistrophe, or symploce in your work, please post it.

If you’d like to write one, please post it!

Post a comment (you don’t have to include a rhetorical device) and you may win:

     1. A Lecture Packet
     2. An Online Course from Lawson Writer’s Academy

I’ll post the names of the winners on the blog tonight -- at 9PM Mountain Time


Visit my cyber Open House for Lawson Writer's Academy, July 14, 15, and 16.

You’ll have a dozen more chances to win a Lecture Packet or an online class!

Margie Lawson—psychotherapist, writer, and international presenter – developed psychologically-based editing systems and deep editing techniques used by everyone, from new writers to multi-award winning authors. She teaches writers how to add psychological power to create page turners.

Margie taught psychology and communication courses at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels. Her resume includes adjunct professor, clinical trainer, facilitator of trauma response sessions, and director of a hospital-based counseling center.

In the last six years Margie presented over sixty full day Master Classes across the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Writers who have studied her material credit her innovative editing approaches with taking their writing several levels higher—to publication, awards, and bestseller lists.

To learn about Margie’s 3-day Immersion Master Classes in Colorado, online courses offered by Lawson Writer’s Academy, full day Master Class presentations, on-line course schedule, Lecture Packets, and newsletter, visit:


Ellen Russell said...

Hi, Margie!
Not stalking you, I promise. Great post. I'm looking forward to that immersion class in September.

Here's my shot at anaphora:

That’s why she’d decided to be proactive, to channel her life in a different direction. That’s why she’d left her aunt’s house with nothing but a backpack and a duffel to respond to a help-wanted ad that zapped her with that “Important!” zing.

That’s why she was standing up to her butt in snow outside a bus station in God-the-middle-of-nowhere Massachusetts.


Anonymous said...

Hi Margie!

I learn every time I read your lectures and the examples you provide. Thank you for the first impression tip.

I just reviewed my first chapter I have many rhetorical devices but no anaphora or epistrophe. Now I'll go back through and see if I can add them to the first few pages. Of course it has to sound natural and not forced :)

Alysia said...

Thanks for a great post. I've never been happy with the beginning of my WIP, so I'm going to try my hand at anaphora and see how it goes.

Heather said...

Thank you for such a great post! Here is my attempt:

If only I’d known my secret wasn’t so secret, I would have left.

If only I’d known the extent to which I’d already been betrayed, I would have hidden.

If only I’d known I was already in a fight for my life, I would have run.

Lana Douglas said...


I just finished your wonderful online class, and ordered three of your lecture packets.

Lana Douglas

Here are the first two paragraphs of my WIP, containing an anaphora:

All her life, Allegra Barclay compared her migraines to snakes. Most of the time, they were the harmless garter variety, chased away with triple-shot lattes and a healing nap. Sometimes the python of all headaches ambushed her, crushing her skull. But today was different. Only one other time, seven years ago today, had she experienced anxiety this menacing before a migraine struck.

Why today? Such a stupid question. How could she forget? Seven years ago today she was a wife who loved her husband. Seven years ago today she was a mother celebrating her son’s sixth birthday. Seven years ago today she hovered on the cusp of a promising operatic career. But today as she stared at her image in the mirror, she saw not an adoring wife or a doting mother, but a hollow cadaver with nothing left in her except her music.

Barbara Rae Robinson said...

Thanks for the reminder, Margie. I went back and looked and I don't have any rhetorical devices in my first scene. I'll remedy that today.


Kristal Lee said...

Hi Margie,
I'm such a groupie. I love your assignments and challenges.

Here goes:

What was wrong with her? Cassie practically had a photographic memory. How could she not know what the man looked like when he’d stood in her bedroom, stark-naked?

Think. Think! THINK!

She had to remember something to tell the authorities. Was his hair brown or black? His eyes, blue or green?

Oh, wait! He was tall. Very tall. But more than half the men in Maico were tall.

What else, what else?

A beard. He had a beard. Not a full beard. A scruffy beard, like he hadn’t shaved in days.


Magnolia said...

Thanks for sharing your expertise-love your lectures! Here's my piece:

The reason I ran away didn’t matter.
The reason Bobby Joe Hampton chased me didn’t matter.
The reason I put a bullet in his head did.

Jenn LeBlanc said...

Sitting next to Margie here in Colorado chatting about writing. Hi Margie! What a great article! Thank you for sharing.


Margie Lawson said...

Ellen --

Woohoo! Good job!

And -It's almost perfect!

Here's what I'd do:

That’s why she’d decided to be proactive, to channel her life in a different direction. That’s why she’d left her aunt’s house with nothing but a backpack and a duffel. That's why she'd responded to a help-wanted ad that zapped her with that “Important!” zing.

That’s why she was standing IN SNOW up to her butt outside a bus station in God-the-middle-of-nowhere Massachusetts.


I know -- that's what you meant to write. :-))

Can't wait to see you in Immersion class here in Colorado in September!

Margie Lawson said...

Hey Haley!

Great to see you here too!

You're right, the writing has to flow.


Thanks for chiming in!

Margie Lawson said...

Hello Alysia --

Have fun analyzing your opening -- and adding cadence-driven power.

Thanks for posting!

Lynnette Labelle said...

I've been aware of the special effects of repeating certain words or phrases, but I had no idea there were names for these little tricks. Thanks for this post!

Lynnette Labelle

Margie Lawson said...

Heather --

Strong writing! Beautiful example.

I noticed it's similar to Christa Allan's. Your subconscious probably picked it up and played.

Have fun adding fresh power to your writing with some of these obscure rhetorical devices.

Thanks for sharing your example.

Margie Lawson said...

Hey Lana --

Outstanding opening!

Awesome anaphora!

Thanks for sharing your talent!

All smiles......Margie

Casey said...

I can say without shame that Margie Lawson is a fantastic teacher!! I have taken two of her classes so far and have been pushed past my writing boundaries and I LOVE IT!

I plan to take many more and be a Multi-Margie Grad. :-) Just have to go through the summer and after ACFW, Margie you'll see me again. :)


Joy Tamsin David said...

Hi Margie!

Like my editing partner above (Casey) I can vouch for your exceptional teaching. I mostly lurked in May's Deep Editing, but I'm on a mission to take all your classes.

Gwen Hernandez said...

What a great post, Margie! Earl Nightingale introduced me to anaphora and epistrophe, but I'd never heard of symploce. And it turns out I haven't been using them much in my manuscripts. I tend to use them more in my blog posts.

I was skimming through my MS to see if I had a ready example, and I realized that some of the emotional high points in my scenes would be well-served by the use of these techniques to help draw out the moment and hammer home the emotion.

Thanks so much!

Margie Lawson said...

Hey Barb --

Great to see you here!

Glad you'll play with adding one of these cadence-drive rhetorical devices to your first chapter. Good for you!

DeBORah said...

Hi Margie,

Great blog. I've learned so much from your classes. I haven't come up with a worthy symploce--yet. But I think I know where I want to add that kind of POWER in my WIP. When I write it, I'll send it your way.

See you in NYC,


Margie Lawson said...

Hello Kristal!

So fun to cyber-see you again!

Love your excerpt! Strong cadence.

As fast-paced as it is FUN!

Your epistrophe works well. Thanks for posting your work.

Hope to see you at National this year. :-)

Margie Lawson said...

Magnolia --


The reason I ran away didn’t matter.

The reason Bobby Joe Hampton chased me didn’t matter.

The reason I put a bullet in his head did.


Thanks for sharing your power!

Margie Lawson said...

Jenn --

So fun to sit and chat and laugh with writers on a Saturday!

Great to meet you!

Margie Lawson said...

Hello Lynnette --

Now you know the names of three more rhetorical devices. But in my Deep Editing course, I emphasize that writers don't have to learn the names of all 30 rhetorical devices we cover. They just need to know what they are and when and how to use them for the most impact. :-)

Thanks for chiming in!

Ruth Ann Dell said...

Thanks for a super blog today Margie.

It's fun to look out for rhetorical devices when reading now that I know about them.

Vannetta Chapman said...

Margie knows what she's talking about. Learn from the pro! : ) And yes, I'm doing the bow down thing with my arms over my head. Hee hee.

Rose McCauley said...

I love all of Margie's classes, and now with the Lawson Writer's Academy we will have even more to choose from! We can all be winners!

Margie Lawson said...

Hey Joy!

You plan to take all my online courses? Smart mission!

Smart to work with Casey as an Editing Partner too. :-)

Lurking and learning is good!

Margie Lawson said...

Casey --

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

You know I loved working with you in my online classes!

Enjoy your summer -- and prepare for more brain stretching in the fall. :-)

Hope to see you at my OPEN HOUSE for Lawson Writer's Academy, July 14 - 16!

Beth Orsoff said...

Thanks for the great post, Margie.

I don't think my opening has any of the devices you're talking about, but it has a certain rhythm to it that makes me think it's some other device I just don't know the name of. You tell me :)

I can’t pinpoint the exact moment when the direction of my life first changed. The displacement of idealism with cynicism doesn’t happen in an instant. It’s more of a slow, steady, insidious assault. First you start worrying about finding the right prom dress instead of helping the hungry and homeless, then you take the job with the Fortune 500 company instead of the non-profit group because you have eighty thousand dollars in student loans to repay, and from there it’s just a hop, skip, and a jump to destroying the ozone layer and supporting fascists.

But I can pinpoint the exact moment when I decided to change it back.

Ginger Kenney said...

Hi Margie!
What an interesting post! Looks like it's time for another review of those first few pages to see if I can pump up the energy a little more. It's really good to read more of your insights. Maybe time for another course...

Allie H said...

Margie, hi!
Thanks for the reminder on using rhetorical devices. Thanks, too, for all the help in your power editing workshop last year! Here's my opening:
Nora Sinclair worked to take a breath.
She could not remember a darker night.
She could not remember a worse storm.
She could not, for a moment, remember how she came to be caught in its claws.


Dolly said...

Hi Margie,

Thanks for this post :-) I love your lectures.

I've used anaphora and epistrophe, but haven't managed a symploce yet.

Louisa Cornell said...

Wow! Neat post and some GREAT techniques. I will confess I have written some of these, but honestly didn't know what they were called. Or if I did it has been SO long since my high school and college writing courses that those particular files ended up in the delete or the "where the heck did I put that" bin in my head!!

I think I may have a small anaphora at the end of the first full paragraph of the opening of the book I am currently revising. How's this?

London - February, 1817

“What does one call a male whore?” Cain Overley muttered as he counted the thick stack of pound notes on the dressing table.

“Cain?” A somnolent whisper offered from the gauze-draped monstrosity of a bed behind him.

Out of the mouths of sleeping viragos. He chuckled softly and shook his head. God certainly had a sense of humor. Cain glanced around the plum silk and chintz nightmare his lover called a bedchamber. From the dainty lace-trimmed furniture to the profusion of porcelain shepherdesses dotted atop every flat surface, the room screamed suffocating femininity. And here he stood trapped in the middle of it. He ran his hands over his face. He needed a shave. He needed a drink. He needed a way out. God, how had it come to this?

Elizabeth C. said...

Hi Margie,

Deep Editing was a world-changing course for me, and I really enjoyed Writing Body Language and Dialogue Cues Like a Psychologist.

After reading your blog post, I immediately had a new idea for the beginning of my WIP:

From the moment she entered his line of vision, standing in Commander Stafford’s office like she owned it, Trevor Grey knew that Shae wasn’t The One.

Not that he was looking for The One.

Shae had a blisteringly hot smile. Shae had legs that went on and on and on. Shae had the all-important combination of brown hair and brown eyes. And she had the only-in-your-dreams body of a multi-platinum pop star.

No, Shae wasn’t The One. But, as he'd told Tommy, she could be The One Tonight.


Sandy Elzie said...

As always, Margie, fantastic information. I don't have an example for you at the moment, but I'm looking forward to seeing you in Alabama next month.

Sandy Elzie

Margie Lawson said...

Gwen --

I teach writers to use cadence-driven rhetorical devices, these three and others, in high emotion scenes, as well as anytime they need to give the scene a boost.

There are certain rhetorical devices that are useful when expanding time and compressing time too.

Glad you plan to use them in your WIP. :-)

Margie Lawson said...

DeBORah --

If you decided to add symploce to your WIP, I bet it would be powerful!

Can't wait to see you in NYC!

Margie Lawson said...

Ruth Ann -

Glad you are using what you learned in DEEP EDITING!

I look forward to seeing you online again. :-)

Margie Lawson said...

Vannetta --

You're so fun!

Wish you lived in Denver. :-)

I'm looking forward to the class you're teaching for Lawson Writer's Academy! Can't wait until August 1st!

Margie Lawson said...

Rose --

I'm excited about Lawson Writer's Academy too! I'm having such fun lining up a variety of dynamite courses. Drop by my web next weekend, and you'll see several more exciting courses on the schedule. Yay!

I hope everything is going well for you. Enjoy your summer. ;-)

Margie Lawson said...

Beth --

Your prologue is cadence-driven and strong. No specific rhetorical device. Just good writing.

I recommend breaking your last sentence in the full paragraph into three sentences. It will carry more impact.


First you start worrying about finding the right prom dress instead of helping the hungry and THE homeless. Then you take the job with the Fortune 500 company instead of the non-profit group, because you have eighty thousand dollars in student loans to repay. From there it’s just a hop, skip, and GALLOP to destroying the ozone layer and supporting fascists.


1. I added 'the' in front of homeless, to provide balance: . . . the hungry and the homeless.

2. I added a comma after 'group.'

3. I nixed: 'and.'

4. I had the most fun twisting your cliche, changing 'hop, skip and jump' to 'hop, skip, and gallop.'




Thanks for posting. I hope to see you online again. :-))

Lynn Raye Harris said...

OMG, that's fascinating! Think I already do those things, but never knew what they were called. I'll have to go and look over my books again.

Very, very cool. :)

Margie Lawson said...

Hey Ginger K --

Great to see you here!

I developed two new writing craft courses I'm offering in October and November.

You can check them out on the Lawson Writer's Academy button on my home page.

I hope to see you at my Open House for Lawson Writer's Academy, July 14 - 16!

Thanks for chiming in on the blog. ;-)

Margie Lawson said...

Hey Allie!

I enjoyed interacting with you in class. Great to see you again.

Strong opening! Love your anaphora. Well done.

Hope to see you at the Open House in July too!

Margie Lawson said...

Dolly --

You used anaphora and epistrophe in your WIP? I'm impressed!

No need to use symploce too. It's just one of hundreds of ways you can add power.

If you think of one that fits perfectly, use it. If not, no angst. ;-)

Thank you for chiming in!

Margie Lawson said...

Louisa --

I know someone who has a PH.D. in rhetoric, and they don't know many of the rhetorical devices that I teach in my Deep Editing course.

I like your example of anaphora. It carries power. Well done.

He needed a shave. He needed a drink. He needed a way out.


Renae said...

Thanks, Margie! Such great devices. So much to learn . . . so little time.

Margie Lawson said...

Elizabeth -

I loved reading that DEEP EDITING was a world-changing course for you!


Thank you. ;-))

I like your new opening. Most of it works very well.

One piece needs to be tweaked. It's this long sentence:

From the moment she entered his line of vision, standing in Commander Stafford’s office like she owned it, Trevor Grey knew that Shae wasn’t The One.







Shae Roberts stood in Commander Stafford's office LIKE SHE WAS IN CHARGE. Trevor Grey saw her don't-mess-with-me expression and knew that Shae wasn’t The One.



Margie Lawson said...

Sandy -

Yay! I'll get to see you in Birmingham! I can't wait to catch up!

Hope to see you and Debbie at National too. Let's make plans. :-)

Margie Lawson said...

Lynn --

Glad you liked reading about these three rhetorical devices.

I agree. They're uber-cool!

Margie Lawson said...

Renae --

The joy is in learning how to add more power to your writing -- and feeling the power on your pages. ;-)

Alicia Coleman said...

Thanks for a great post. I'll try these Rhetorical Devices in my writing.

Margie Lawson said...


I enjoyed all your comments and the examples too.

A big THANK YOU to Carla Swafford for setting up this opportunity for me to guest blog for Romance Magicians. I appreciate Carla!

I'm excited about working with the Southern Magic RWA members in my full day Master Class in July. Prepare for some brain stretching!


I cut my slips of paper, wrote names on them, and drew two winners.

And the winners are . . .



Congratulations to Gwen and Lynn!

Gwen and Lynn - Please email me to coordinate your prizes.

Thanks again to everyone for being here!

Please mark your calendars -- and visit my web site on July 14, 15, or 16 -- for the OPEN HOUSE for LAWSON WRITER'S ACADEMY.

You'll have twelve chances to be a winner!

Pat Trainum aka P. T. Bradley said...

Great article! Looking forward to the Deep Edits class in July.

Margie Lawson said...

Alicia --

Have fun playing with those three rhetorical devices!

Thank you for chiming in. Sorry you were too late for the drawing.

I'm guest blogging on Southern Sizzle Romance on Wednesday, June 22nd. Visit SouthernSizzleRomance . blogspot . com on Wednesday, and you'll have another chance to win a Lecture Packet or an online course from Lawson Writer's Academy!

Margie Lawson said...

Hello Pat --

Sorry you missed the drawing. If you'd like a chance to win a Lecture Packet or online course from Lawson Writer's Academy, please drop by Southern Sizzle Romance . blogspot . com on Wednesday.

I'm looking forward to working with you all in July!

Gwen Hernandez said...

Wow, thanks, Margie!

Elizabeth C. said...

Hi Margie,

As always, thanks so much for playing with my words. "Like she was in charge" -- I love it!!! Just how I want Ms. Shae Roberts to appear.

I'm feeling much more confident about this opening scene now.


Carla Swafford said...

Wonderful job, Margie! Thank you so much for doing this and I'm looking forward to next month!


Carla Swafford said...

And thanks to everyone who participated! Hope to see you at the workshop in July.

Details on click on programs.

Thanks again.

Christine said...

Hi Margie: I'm late to the party, but have enjoyed this post. I can't wait to digest and implement your strategies. One thing that I always get hammered about in critiques is "echo words." Yet the sample first page that you posted had "system" in it several times to add punch to the prose. I guess I need to trust my instincts more and write in a way that I believe will power up my voice.

Thanks! I can't wait to see you in July :-)

EW Gibson said...


I guess I'm following you. Enjoyed your online workshop. Learn a bunch then and still learning from you. Four of us, are working together on ECE, then on to Deep Editing.

Here's my sample:

Buried deep in her gut under layers and layers of sweet gentleness, an inferno raged, growing and clawing its way up her throat. Demanding to live. Demanding to be free. Demanding to be heard.

She lifted her head back, dropping her jaw ready to release the churning rage inside her. Instead, she did what she had done so many times before; she choked, coughed and consumed her rage.

Rhetorical Devices said...

i found so many interesting stuff in your blog especially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not the only one having all the enjoyment here! keep up the good work.