Monday, October 10, 2016

Learning Styles

When I started Occupational Therapy for my hand/wrist several months ago, one of the questions asked during the intake session was, "What is your learning style?" Several examples were given and I chose, "demonstration."

My therapist showed me pictures of the exercises needed to restore my function and demonstrated them. She used terms like, "Bend your fingers at the second knuckle, not the first one."  "How do you hold a key? Now, press your thumb into the therapy clay to simulate that movement." Her instructions, descriptions, and demonstrations helped me understand and perform the exercises.

I thought about my learning style for writing. Cramming long blocks of text into my head didn't cut it for me. A lot of words confuse me. Visuals help, but are not sufficient for me to "get it." Examples and descriptions put pictures to the words.

So, what works? My editor, Deirdre Lockhart, of Brilliant Cut Editing, figured it out. Here are a few examples of her instructions:

1. Excerpt: He doubted either of these women ever heard of disco music or bell-bottom pants. Editor's comment: " Adorable line, but...if he is 46, in 2016, then he was born in 1970. His prime "dating" years would have been late 80s-90s. Definitely no bell-bottoms, scarcely any disco. He only remembers those as something snickered at in old shows - unless you are referring to the 70s resurgence of the early 2000s."

Revision: "He doubted either of these women ever heard of "Walk Like an Egyptian" or velour shirts." Editor's comment in next edit: "Great and perfectly timed revision, Susan."

2.  Excerpt:  "They rode in silence, but the tension remained." Editor's comment: "How does he feel this? What does he see to show him Dan feels it too? Show."

Revision:  "They rode in silence, but Dan's mouth slashed across his face in a straight line. Maybe he could give it one more shot."

3.  Excerpt: "Lindsey seemed to relax." Editor's comment: "How can he tell? A soft smile? Little color returning to her pallid checks? What? Show. Share!"

Revision:  "Lindsey shrugged, and she resumed jogging."

My editor used examples and descriptive language to communicate the changes she wanted. This worked well for me.

Disclaimer:  I did not receive any payment for this endorsement. I've used this service and highly recommend it.

Writers and Readers: What's your learning style? Written instructions? Demonstration? Pictures? Other? Please share.

Photo Credit:  Holger Selover-Stephan


Karen Lange said...

I like the examples you shared, Susan. We're always learning and polishing our writing, aren't we? Glad you found a great editor. Have a good week!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Karen -

Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I was amazed at how much I learned from a professional during the editing process.

God bless,