How Objectivity Breeds Success

A Slice of AnnyWorld:

Apologies.

I’ve been so busy revisioning my novel that time slipped away from me this week.

As I sat down to dash this missive off so I wouldn’t miss my own deadline, I realized that the exercise that took me away from you is what I wanted to share with you in this letter.

I had the privilege of participating in an all-day workshop with the renowned literary agent, Donald Maass.  He suggested that in order to make our books page turners, we had to infuse every page with micro-tension. (Here’s a definition of micro-tension.)
Micro-tension’s sole object is to trigger an uncertainty of some kind in the reader so she’ll read on to relieve her own uneasiness.

This is easier written than done. :-), especially when most writers see tension in their stories  that isn’t there.

That’s because when we’re in the emotional flow of our our stories, it’s impossible to stand back and see what’s actually on the page.

Donald Maass knows this, so he built detachment into his exercise–objectively revise/revision what you’ve written by reading it out of order.  This forces you to ONLY see what’s on the page, nothing more. Use a random number generator, which you can find for free here, to put your pages into a random sequence.

Reading out of order doesn’t allow things like weak dialogue or lame word choices to hide in our blind spots.  Sometimes all a page needs is an added phrase, or a deletion of a detail to pull the reader/listener out of her seat and into your world.

Though this exercise was created for writers, its usefulness extends far beyond those of us who are writing a book or story, etc. Imagine a lawyer using this exercise to strengthen her closing argument, or an entrepreneur using it to craft an inspiring business plan that results in their idea being funded.  A parent can use it to convince their daughter to do something, or not to do something.

Being able to craft a powerful message can help you in whatever you do.
Try this exercise out, and let me know what happens!

Purple Passion of the Fortnight

Purple Passion of the Fortnight

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Destination of the Fortnight: New York City, home of The Donald Maass Literary Agency

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