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Jan's New Writing Lessons--TIGHT WRITING

These lessons, by one of our most consistent FaithWriters' Challenge Champions, should not be missed. So we're making a permanent home for them here.

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potterswheelministry
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Re: Jan's New Writing Lessons--TIGHT WRITING

Postby potterswheelministry » Tue Nov 05, 2013 10:12 pm

Hi all.....I'm new to FW and would love to participate in some writing lessons. This forum was recommended to me by a fellow member after reviewing my last challenge submission but I don't see where to go to start participating? All help appreciated LOL Thank you and may God richly bless you and yours! Cynthia Peoples....potterswheelministry

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Re: Jan's New Writing Lessons--TIGHT WRITING

Postby Shann » Tue Nov 05, 2013 10:25 pm

If you want to go to page one of this post, viewtopic.php?f=67&t=37453
you can read what Jan wrote and then you can do the "homework" in a reply post. She gets notified whenever someone posts, so she'll see it and is good at getting back to you. This week the lesson is on allusion and you can find that here: viewtopic.php?f=67&t=37600

I'm glad you popped in. Feel free to peruse all the topics in this thread. There is a wealth of valuable information here! :D
Shann

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Re: Jan's New Writing Lessons--TIGHT WRITING

Postby glorybee » Tue Nov 05, 2013 10:26 pm

Hi, Cynthia--

You've already done it!

I'm not sure what link you used to get here, but this one

index.php

will take you to the home page of the forums. If you scroll down a little past halfway on that list of forums, you'll find one called "Jan's Writing Basics." Click that, and you'll see a list of topics, with the most recent ones at the top. Click into any topic that interests you, read the lesson (the first post), and then click "Post Reply" if you want to respond to the lesson.

I get email notifications of all replies, and if you've done the "homework," I'll always respond.

The older lessons (farther down the page) are from years ago, and some of them have been lost to a crash on the FaithWriters site. But I hope you can find some worthwhile stuff in the more recent ones. Feel free to ask, either here or on any other thread, if you have more questions.

Welcome!
Jan Ackerson

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Re: Jan's New Writing Lessons--TIGHT WRITING

Postby KassieOsesie » Mon Dec 30, 2013 9:04 am

:D Hello, I did the excercise. I could do with a lot more practice, I'm one of those who use unecessary words. This really helped. Here it goes:
Doreen didn't look up from her book as the subway ran through the stations. Aware of the huge man beside her, she inched closer to the window. Almost halfway through her journey, Doreen wished again that she had bought the E-book instead. Placing a finger in her book, she moved her thigh away from the man. He seemed to take the whole space. With a screech, the train halted, yet in the tunnel. It was dark except for a dimly lit bulb. Fear welled up in her throat, she choked.
'Ma'am? would you take my hand please?' He said softly.

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Re: Jan's New Writing Lessons--TIGHT WRITING

Postby glorybee » Mon Dec 30, 2013 9:39 am

KassieOsesie wrote::D Hello, I did the excercise. I could do with a lot more practice, I'm one of those who use unecessary words. This really helped. Here it goes:
Doreen didn't look up from her book as the subway ran through the stations. Aware of the huge man beside her, she inched closer to the window. Almost halfway through her journey, Doreen wished again that she had bought the E-book instead. Placing a finger in her book, she moved her thigh away from the man. He seemed to take the whole space. With a screech, the train halted, yet in the tunnel. It was dark except for a dimly lit bulb. Fear welled up in her throat, she choked.
'Ma'am? would you take my hand please?' He said softly.


Hello, Kassie! Thanks for finding this class, and for doing the exercise.

You've certainly tightened up the reading, stripping it down to its bare necessities. I especially like the phrase "Fear welled up in her throat."

A few things that you might want to be aware of:

1. Your second, third, and fourth sentences all have a very similar structure--a phrase or clause describing Doreen, and then a second one describing Doreen's actions (she inched...Doreen wished...she moved). While there's nothing wrong with that structure, it's best to mix up your sentence structures a bit more, lest your writing fall into a monotonous rhythm.

2. Although I like the phrase "fear welled up in her throat," you have it connected to "she choked" with a comma, making a comma splice. The punctuation there should have been a semicolon, or you could have written "Fear welled up in her throat and she choked."

3. Finally, you'll want to be careful with capitalization in the dialog in the last line. It should be written thus:

"Ma'am? Would you take my hand, please?" he said softly.

Notice that I capitalized "Would," since it is the first word of a sentence, and I made "he" lower case. That's trickier, as it appears to be the first word of a sentence (since there is a question mark before it), but it's really not. It's in the middle of the sentence that begins with "Would you..."

It took courage to post your tightened writing here, and I'm glad I was able to review it. Your writing has considerable potential! I hope you'll stop by the other classes and do the "homework" there, too.
Jan Ackerson

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Re: Jan's New Writing Lessons--TIGHT WRITING

Postby RachelM » Mon Dec 30, 2013 5:02 pm

Hi, Jan!

This was a great lesson! There have been many times that I have groaned when I checked my word count, but every time that I have had to cut words, it has improved my writing.

I did read through the entire thread, so my apologies if I have inadvertently stolen anyone's thoughts, words, or phrases. Here is my 100 word edit:

Doreen studied her book while the subway clacked through station after station. Tensely aware of the burly man slouching next to her, she pressed against the cold window. As the train sped through another long tunnel, Doreen sighed, held her finger in the book, and squeezed her thigh away from the man's immense leg. The train screeched to a halt. The only light: a flickering tube overhead. Doreen's hands flew to her face, and a small choking sound escaped from her throat.

His arm shooting out, the man grabbed her shoulder. “Ma'am?” he whispered. “Would you hold my hand please?”


Please don't be afraid to point out any errors! I love the chance to improve my weak areas.

God bless!
My FaithWriters profile: RachelM FW member profile

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Re: Jan's New Writing Lessons--TIGHT WRITING

Postby glorybee » Mon Dec 30, 2013 7:20 pm

RachelM wrote:Doreen studied her book while the subway clacked through station after station. Tensely aware of the burly man slouching next to her, she pressed against the cold window. As the train sped through another long tunnel, Doreen sighed, held her finger in the book, and squeezed her thigh away from the man's immense leg. The train screeched to a halt. The only light: a flickering tube overhead. Doreen's hands flew to her face, and a small choking sound escaped from her throat.

His arm shooting out, the man grabbed her shoulder. “Ma'am?” he whispered. “Would you hold my hand please?”


Please don't be afraid to point out any errors! I love the chance to improve my weak areas.

God bless!


Rachel, this is very well done. The only change I can see is that you should put a comma before the very last word. If 'please' is at the end of a request, you should always use a comma.

Thanks for posting your version of the story, and for being willing to have public critique. You did a fine job!
Jan Ackerson

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Re: Jan's New Writing Lessons--TIGHT WRITING

Postby trudynewell » Wed Jan 15, 2014 3:40 pm

Hi Jan - Just wanted you to know this is really helpful. I have made a commitment to writing seriously. I have been looking through your writing lessons - and trust this will be a help and inspiration.

Thanks for your hard work. Oh, could you recommend a good grammar book. One that covers the basics, and would serve as a good reference.

Thanks - and God bless - Trudy

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Re: Jan's New Writing Lessons--TIGHT WRITING

Postby glorybee » Wed Jan 15, 2014 4:49 pm

trudynewell wrote:Hi Jan - Just wanted you to know this is really helpful. I have made a commitment to writing seriously. I have been looking through your writing lessons - and trust this will be a help and inspiration.

Thanks for your hard work. Oh, could you recommend a good grammar book. One that covers the basics, and would serve as a good reference.

Thanks - and God bless - Trudy


Strunk and White's "The Elements of Style" is a classic, but it's becoming somewhat dated. I'd recommend that you go to a local bookstore or Amazon.com and find one that seems to meet your needs.

To tell the truth, I don't use a grammar manual, because it's so much easier to just google it if I have a problem (which happens frequently).
Jan Ackerson

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