First Impressions

Margie Lawson has this great technique for editing your work called the EDITS System.  A person can go to her website and download her seminars for a very reasonable price, and the course comes by email or as Word documents so you can print them out and go through them at your leisure.  The theory is great, the reality less so.

EDITS teaches you how to assign highlighter colors to things like dialog, description, action, etc.  When you edit your work, you take the pages, highlight, and then lay the paper out.  It’s a great, immediate visual to see where you have too much or not enough.  I learned a lot from her course on this and would recommend the copyrighted course with the following reservations.

Margie must be a powerful speaker in person as her energy shines through on the pages.  Lots of smiley faces, LOL acronyms, and exclamation points.  I felt exhausted after reading.  I also found them distracting and at times, immature, as if I was spending time with a teenager and cell phone.

Distractions that eventually resulted in me deciding not to order any more courses from her, no matter how much I learned, included the errors of misspelled words, grammar mistakes, and typos.  Lots and lots of them.  It was obvious that someone typed them up totally ignoring the little red underlined words.  And then never took a moment to read through the document before presenting it, breaking one of the first laws of writing.  If something was submitted to an agent or publisher with that many mistakes, it would have been tossed.  Plus, it leaves the impression that if she didn’t care enough about the material to edit it, why should I care enough to pay for it?  And I have to admit, being tight with money, that it annoyed me to pay for something that didn’t feel professional.

The course was many pages long, but as I got into the material I realized it could have been condensed down to at least half that, because the majority of the course was using other writer’s stories as examples.  A few would have been perfect, but pages and pages of them became almost as distracting as the typos.

And yet with all these serious problems, I did learn from her system and I use it when I sit down for a first read through, for first rough impressions of chapters.  I love the visual aspect of the highlighter system, and Margie is very correct when she explains that dialog, for example, should be broken up with bits of internalizations, body language, senses, and so forth.  I’m glad I paid for the course, I’ll continue to use it, but I doubt I’d purchase another from her because the quality of work simply sets my editing teeth on edge.  And after that sentence Margie would type, ‘Cliche Alert!!!’

I live and learn and write and grow as a writer, no matter the quality of the materials I learn from.  In spite of first, last, and continuing impressions. And one of the things I’ve learned from Margie is the importance of those first impressions.

4 thoughts on “First Impressions

  1. I’m big on first impressions too. I like the idea of this highlighter technique — it makes my visual senses all excited to think about approaching editing that way. 🙂


    • I know what you mean. The visual aspect of using highlighters made Margie’s course well worth the $20. She explains very well what it means when you see too much of one color or not enough. Out of the whole course, I ended up keeping the one or two pages that explained the highlighter system and all the colors because the rest of the course just annoyed me too much every time I looked at all the mistakes! Lisa


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