Margie Lawson and Cruising WritersCruise. Network. Pitch. Learn!

 The first two days on the cruise are big learning opportunities. We’ll dig deep into four topics:

  1. The EDITS System: The Ultimate Fix-Your-Scene Power Tool
  2. Writing Fresh Body Language and Dialogue Cues
  3. Top 20 Rhetorical Devices for Fiction Writers
  4. Not Your Mama’s Character Descriptions

If you’re an Immersion Master Class grad, you’ll hone your deep editing skills and make your writing even stronger. We’ll identify what you need to work on and dive in.

A Taste of Deep Editing

Writers know to avoid clichés, avoid overused word pairings, and avoid being predictable. But some writers may not know how to write fresh. They can learn how to write fresh lines like the three Immersion-Grads below.

I’ll show and tell.

All examples are separate. Not juxtaposed.

The Ones We Trust, Kimberly Belle, 4-time Immersion-Grad

The Ones We Trust — Released July, 2015, MIRA

My father fixes me with a stare stony enough to make the thundercloud on his face settle onto my chest, pushing down like an elephant-sized weight.

Deep Editing Analysis:

  • Double alliteration — father fixes, stare stony
  • Metaphor – thundercloud on his face
  • Kimberly used the non-POV character’s facial expression as a stimulus for the POV character’s visceral response.
  • She amplified that visceral response with a simile
  • Strong cadence

“Okay.” The word comes out like silly putty, long and stretched thin.

Deep Editing Analysis:

  • Fresh dialogue cue with a multi-amplified simile
  • Strong cadence.

A jolt of something creepy shoots through me, knotting my shoulders and wringing my stomach like a wet rag.

Deep Editing Analysis:

  • Vague visceral response – A jolt of something creepy Vague works with visceral responses, facial expressions, and dialogue cues. But don’t overuse vague.
  • Kimberly used that visceral response as a stimulus for two specific responses—knotting shoulders, wringing stomach
  • Amplified with a simile
  • Strong cadence.

Gabe sounds so sad and confused and lost, and my heart heaves for him, just rises up in my chest and rolls over. I want to reach through the phone and wrap myself around him in a tight hug, hold on until this awful day has passed and it’s tomorrow. (Context: He’s talking about his brother who died. The paragraph deserves the amplification.)

Deep Editing Analysis:

  • Power words: sad, confused, lost, hug, awful, passed
  • Polysyndeton – sad and confused and lost
  • Two heart-based visceral responses
  • Perfect cadence!
  • Showing What’s Not Happening – she shares what she wants to do, but can’t – amplified with five Emotional Hits
    • Wants to reach through phone
    • Wrap myself around him
    • Tight hug
    • Hold on until this awful day has passed
    • And it’s tomorrow
  • Kimberly could have written the last sentence with just two Emotional Hits. One option:
    •  want to reach through the phone and hug him
    • Not deep edited. Not as interesting. Not as powerful.
Twice In a Blue Moon, Laura Drake, RITA Winner, Immersion-Grad

– Twice In a Blue Moon, Released July, 2015

Anger fired in her chest and shot through her so fast that white sparks drifted across her vision.

Deep Editing Analysis:

  • Power words: anger, fired, shot, fast, sparks
  • Visceral response – Anger fired in her chest
  • Visceral response did something – shot through her fast
  • Laura used the visceral response as a stimulus for another visceral response – white sparks in vision
  • Perfect cadence!

All the pain she’d held inside since Harry’s death gathered, filing every space in her body, pushing, pushing. Every slight, every abuse, every loss started to boil.

Deep Editing Analysis:

  • Power Words: pain, death, body, abuse, loss, boil
  • Backloaded – boil
  • Rhetorical Device: Epizeuxis – pushing, pushing.
  • Rhetorical Device: Anaphora — Every slight, every abuse, every loss started to boil.
  • Rhetorical Device: Asyndeton — Every slight, every abuse, every loss started to boil.
  • Perfect cadence!

She smiled, revealing a missing incisor and delivering another lethal dose of boozy halitosis.

Deep Editing Analysis:

  • Power Words: revealing, missing, incisor, lethal, boozy, halitosis
  • Backloaded: halitosis
  • Used a smile to provide a fresh visual and deepen character.
  • Shared a Humor Hit.
  • Perfect cadence!
Serena’s Fall, M.K. Smith, 3-time Immersion-Grad

– Released August, 2015

I loved Chloe, and once-upon-a-naive time, I trusted her. Trusted her with my secrets. Trusted her with my fears. But once upon a time was gone.

Deep Editing Analysis:

  • Power Words: naïve, secrets, fears, gone
  • Backloads: secrets, fears, gone
  • Rhetorical Device: Anaphora – Trusted her… Trusted her… Trusted her…
  • Hyphenated-run-on – freshens cliché: once-upon-a-naive time
  • Perfect cadence!

Rachel’s hair flowed down her back like red silk. The noon sun lancing across the bay sliced through the glass, giving her long curls the perfect kiss of gold. She always seemed to stand in a pose, as if she lived on camera and the universe was taking pictures.

Deep Editing Analysis:

  • Rhetorical Device: simile – like red silk
  • Marcus used setting to spotlight character description.
  • Power internalization about her stance deepened character. And it’s a universal theme. Most readers know someone who acts like Rachel.
  • Rhetorical Device: amplified simile – as if she lived on camera and the universe was taking pictures; Subtle humor hit
  • Perfect cadence!

I opened my mouth to answer but my voice trailed off into the low moan of a waking nightmare.

I have to share one more sentence. It’s two paragraphs later:

I shut my mouth to wall in a laugh, but a few hysterical snickers escaped.

Deep Editing Analysis:

  • Fresh take on the clichéd piece – I opened my mouth, but I couldn’t talk. Or – no words came out.
  • Power words: moan, nightmare
  • Backloaded: nightmare

Kudos to Kimberly Belle, Laura Drake, and M.K. Smith for strong writing!

Deep editing tools help writers write fresh. And writing fresh keeps readers hooked.

I love giving writers so many deep editing tools they have to build more drawers for their writing toolboxes.

Now that you’ve had a taste of deep editing, would you like more?

Join us on the cruise December 13 – 20!

About Margie Lawson

Margie teaches writers how to use her psychologically-based editing systems and deep editing techniques to create page turners. Margie has presented over eighty full day master classes in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Writers who have studied her material credit her innovative deep editing approaches with taking their writing several levels higher—to publication, awards, and bestseller lists.

You can find Margie at her website: