Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Optimum Potential

Recently, I visited Margie Lawson's website and was reminded of a term I heard months ago in my online crit group, RWC.

Backloading.

When I first heard of it, I thought, wow, this sounds complicated. But now I'm ready to give it a try. I'm ready to stop being lazy, which was the only thing stopping me before.

Backloading is basically ending your sentences on an emotionally powerful word. This technique gives your sentence a stronger, deeper impact on the reader.

Ex:
Okay > Jane shuddered when John set his greasy palms on her shoulders.
Better> John set his greasy palms on Jane's shoulders, and she shuddered.

The second sentence ends on the word shuddered. This action can imply fear. The hope is to have the reader leave that sentence feeling Jane's alarm.

Have you ever heard of backloading? Leave some examples, if you want, in the comments section. :-)

7 comments:

Kristen Painter said...

I've heard about Margie Laweson, but not heard the term backloading. I'll have to go read about it. From the examples you gave, I don't think I like the sentence structure it creates, although the first seems like Jane's POV and the second seems like John's.

Anyway, must go read.

Jessica said...

Hey Kristen,
Well, I don't know if my examples are the best, LOL
And I'm still learning pov so I might've done it funny. I made up the sentences but if you check out her website you'll probably see all sorts of interesting stuff.
:-)

Sarah said...

I haven't heard of backloading, but I agree it does give the sentence a dramatic flare. Thanks for the tip!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jessica -

Like Kristin, I've heard of Margie Lawson, but not the term "backloading." I'd like more detail. I'll have to check out her website/blog.

Interesting concept.

Blessings,
Susan :)

anita said...

I think it's an awesome concept, but like anything else, it would have to be done in moderation. The more you used it, the less potent the effect.

Less is always more in writing, as we've always been told. But it sure could pack a punch to a certain crucial moment in a certain scene, I would think. Very interesting stuff, Jessie!

Terri Tiffany said...

I have never heard the term but I know the concept. It is a great way to add to a sentence and a mood. But oh--how often do I forget to do it! It is one of those good editing reminders to do before we submit!

Jessica said...

It is great. I agree with Anita and Kristen, though, that if we're not careful it can make the sentence sound funny. :-) I've never done this purposefully (backloading) so now I'm feeling the urge to check my manuscripts. LOL
Thanks for stopping by everyone.