OUR EDITING PROMPT FOR THE MAY 8 MEETING

READY TO PLAY? FOR THIS WEEK, as guest facilitator, I CREATED AN EDITING GAME I CALL “BAD WRITING BEGONE!”

Choose one to revise. Each paragraph begins with an inspirational quote from a writer who knows his or her stuff! Revise the paragraph to make it better, based on the quote and the instruction above. Be creative — play — do your thang!

MAKE IT SCARY: “Bad writing is more than a matter of shit syntax and faulty observation; bad writing usually arises from a stubborn refusal to tell stories about what people actually do― to face the fact, let us say, that murderers sometimes help old ladies cross the street.”
Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

She looked out the window again. There was her neighbor, being weird again. He left a trail of thick liquid as he dragged the garbage bag out to the bin by the road. He looked around before he made a phone call from his cell, and went back into the house.

 MAKE IT FEEL REAL: “True mysticism should not be confused with incompetence in writing which seeks to mystify where there is no mystery but is really only the necessity to fake to cover lack of knowledge or the inability to state clearly. Mysticism implies a mystery and there are many mysteries; but incompetence is not one of them; nor is overwritten journalism made literature by the injection of a false epic quality. Remember this too: all bad writers are in love with the epic.”
Ernest Hemingway, Death in the Afternoon

The afternoon expanded like a drumbeat with fever heat and the rising, rippling waves of mirage-quality distortion that filled the air a few feet above the simmering tarmac. The birds refused to sing; the dogs lay as if dead on porches that offered no shelter from summer. Neighbors peered from frosted windows into the knife-sharp brightness, their air conditioners shrieking with overwork. Indeed, global warming felt as close as an unwelcome lover today.

FIX THE STORY “If a story is no good, being based on Hamlet won’t save it.”
Thomas C. Foster, How to Read Literature Like a Professor: A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading Between the Lines

He looked at Dessie and sighed. She was crying and pleading for his love. He hoped she wouldn’t really go drown herself, but what could he do? Life was hard for him, too! He had other things he had to take care of. He had to save the company from his wicked uncle! Really, he was doing it to protect her, anyway! His uncle was so mean! He had to avenge his father’s death before he could get married! There was just too much pressure! She would have to understand!

©2017 Burbank Writing Coaching

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