Thursday, May 18, 2017

Deep Edits and Power Words!

This, I had to go to France to learn! But it was so worth it. Not only did we learn all the wonderful things under Margie Lawson, we got to see FRANCE. South of France to be exact and even dipped our toes in the Mediterranean Sea. Not only was Margie there, but my fab agent Louise Fury, and Entangled published Liz Pelletier - this woman is amazing. I was in awe of her insight when she gave feedback.

After Barcelona, I took the train up to Beziers, France, for my week at the the retreat. A chateau! Chateau Les Carrasses You got to go and look at this link. It was fantastic. Set in vineyards as far as the eye could see.

We would go for a sunrise brainstorming walk every morning. I will admit I didn't make them all. But can you believe this view? How inspiring is that?  Look at us, hard at brainstorming :) There were only four of us this particular morning.
But when we weren't working hard, we were eating and drinking. This is breakfast with L side - Athina Papa - translation expert, Christina Delay - author and retreat organizer extraordinaire, Kelsie Harman. R side - Camile Mofidi from Kobo, Julie Glover and moi.

The days were full with workshops, writing sprints, wine, pitches, quiet writing time, wine, brainstorming, plotting, wine...and of course food.

But, back to deep edits and power words. This was Margie Lawson's, area. We all brought a work in progress and had it brutally ripped apart. Yes, you read that write. Hack and slash. The red pen ran rampant that week! But, wow, my current project titled Crush, is sooooo much better now. And I thought it wasn't too bad originally. Let me tell you, when we did our first page read-aloud, and as I was reading I thought "omg, this sucks. I should just stop now". I picked up on repetition I hadn't realized was so there. Weak writing, vague hooks. So that one page I read, which was in actuality the start of a chapter, was culled and slashed and line by line edited that it turned into a very cool one  page Chapter. Yep, chapter 1 is only one page in this book now. Kinda cool.

Insert relief moment here as we need all these during this intense week. French window box, so pretty.
Power words. These are words that jump off the page at you, like: explosion, death, heart, passion and so many more. Margie helped us find these in our manuscripts and they should be through the whole manuscript, not just the beginning chapters. Also, ending a sentence on a power word is oomph too! So much to learn and not enough time. I could go on and on in this post of all the things we learned but it would be impossible.

On a little day trip I went with two other authors to this ancient city. It was amazing but I think I brought back a pall, or a spirit with me after being here. I needed some relief from new friend Michele Zugnoni. She did a bit of reiki and some other healing touch that lightened my spirit.
The important thing is to remember everything learned and experienced. To not forget it or fall off the path just because I'm home. That's a hard thing to do when life decides to power it's way into your world. But our last night was bittersweet and we had a few authors over for wine in our villa.
From left back, me, Geneva Lee, Kelsie Harman, Loretta Lost, front, Kenya Wright. My new friends and author buddies bonded with all the SHANAigans in France xoxoxox

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jean hart stewart said...

Wow, what a fantastic experience. May the afterglow always shine in your spirit!

Tina Donahue said...

What a wonderful trip - I envy you!

I believe every writer should make their work as great as they can - if not for the fans, for themselves.