Monday, April 8, 2013

Suzann Ledbetter and The Walking Deadline

Last Saturday I attended Suzann Ledbetter Ellingsworth’s workshop on “How to Show, How to Not Tell,” sponsored by the St. Louis Writers’ Guild.

Suzann is a multi-published, award-winning writer as well as an editor. Her editing business is The Walking

 During her presentation she talked with conviction and humor about her philosophy on writing, revising, and editing. She was so impressive and funny that one guy asked her to marry him—she gracefully turned him down; she’s already married.

Here are some highlights of Suzann's presentation:

Do a synopsis! By doing so you’re telling your brain you mean business this time.

Always write forward. Don’t worry about grammar or spelling until you revise.

You don’t know your story until you finish it.

Every word really does count. Learn to recognize passive writing and revise to active.

Cut/banish repetitions. Delete indistinct, nondescript verbiage.

Suzann listed common repetitions and clues to passive constructions.  Here are some she mentioned: of, that, saw, walked, going to, only, very, just -- and the most common color references (brown/black/green/blue).

Rarity of an adjective will convey its importance when it is mentioned.

Revise on the printed copy – not on screen.

An editor should be able to tell you WHY something needs to change.

Language is story. Use it. Respect it. Put it to work.

The story is always the boss, and character is the boss of the story.

Keep a “Book-Book” – A spiral notebook for every book you write. Make notes on chapters, characters, etc.. Keep your list of repetitive words and phrases to be revised.

There's no secret to writing. Just sit down and do it.

To learn more about Suzann's editing business, visit The Walking Deadline website.


  1. As a huge fan of THE WALKING DEAD on AMC, I love the title of her business. :)

    And I think "Always write forward" is great advice.

    1. Hi Madeline,

      Like you, Suzann's husband is a huge fan of The Walking Dead. She named her editing business "in homage" to the program.

  2. Great advice. I'm glad to hear I'm not weird because I have to revise on a printed copy!

  3. Love that last secret to writing, just do it!!!!

  4. Thanks for sharing these important points that all writers need to follow. Sorry I missed her presentation!

  5. SLWG has been having some terrific presenters. Sounds like this is another one I shouldn't have missed.

    Critter Alley

  6. This was a great workshop and you summed it up quite nicely.

  7. Hi Tammy,
    I do the same thing!

    Hi Claudia,
    How true!

    Hi Mary,
    You're welcome; maybe next time.

    Hi Pat,
    How true!

    Hi Lynn,
    It was good to see you there.



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