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January 9, 2017

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What a Closer Look Reveals

August 14, 2016

 

Writing is a "big picture" kind of activity. If you've ever tried to create a piece of written work—a term paper, a journal article, a short story, or a full-length book, you know what I mean. Without the big idea, you have nothing. As a writer, I know how easy these brainstorming ideas are to produce. They pop into our heads during stimulating conversations with others, our drives to work, our exercise sessions, or even our dreams. They're fun. Some would make a great plot or piece to communicate an idea, and others are better left in the catch-all drawer, like an empty glasses case that you don't have any use for. 

 

Create a thing of beauty

 

Ideas must be culled and nurtured

 

A handful of these ideas are worth developing. We work on themes, major plot points, beginnings, endings, and middles. We come up with topic sentences for our paragraphs, with each paragraph containing a claim that announces the main focus and evidence to back up the claim. And it ends with an analysis, or concluding observation, that wraps up the information presented. Fiction writers use story arcs, plot outlinescharacter arcs, and hooks and organize the story elements into scenes, each containing its own point of view.

 

Grammar rules exist to support the meaning of the communication

 

Once you are relatively happy with your manuscript, you may be sick of looking at it. You want to put it down, shove it away, go on vacation, and sometimes even drown it. You'll do anything but more writing or revising. You feel in your heart that it could be better, and that makes you a little grumpy. Problem is, you have a deadline, or you feel compelled to finish because, well, who in their right mind would spend days or years of their lives in agony over a piece of written work that won't be published. What to do?

 

The meaning is the message

 

A closer look reveals something interesting. Notice the bush below. Do you see its secret? The branches are hiding and protecting the treasure within, the nest. In the same way, the structure of your paper or book supports the treasure of the meaning within—the message—or what aches to be expressed. And isn't that meaning the most important part of our written work? 

 

Syntax is Win-tax

 

Editing is a "minute detail" kind of activity. When you pay attention, on your second, third, or even eighth revision, to the arrangement of the words and sentences—the syntax—and the art of the description, you evoke feeling in your reader. Your meaning resonates with others. The way you string words together; the music of your voice. You have communicated. The woody branches, like the grammar, hold the shape of the bush and allow meaning to bloom. And in that blossoming document one finds its treasure. If your grammatical basket contains holes, your meaning is going to leak out and be lost. Your audience will see your dripping basket, not your cleverly constructed ideas.

 

Good grammar supports meaningful thoughts to create winning writing. 

 

This is the value of a good editor. Give it a try. 

 

 

 

 

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