It’s almost tamale making time so I’ll be deep into making various traditional and vegan tamales with the family. But before that happens, I wanted to wish you all a Merry Christmas. I hope you are enjoying your time with your loved ones and continuing or making new traditions.
The time between Christmas Day and New Years Day is a perfect time to read a new book, journal, or decide your writing goals for the new year.
I’ve collected a few posts on writing that I hope you find helpful:
I’m all about trying to improve my writing skills. The stacks of books, both virtual and physical, take up more than one shelf of my bookcase and four bookshelves in Kindle Fire. So, it is with great expectation that the new Urban and Rural Settings Thesaurus (I wonder if it’s ‘thesauri’) are now available.
As we storytellers sit before the keyboard to craft our magic, we’re usually laser-focused on the two titans of fiction: plot and character. Yet, there’s a third element that impacts almost every aspect of the tale, one we really need to home in on as well: the setting.
How would you describe this place to someone who’s never been here?
The setting is so much more than a painted backdrop, more than a stage for our characters to tromp across during the scene. Used to its full advantage, the setting can characterize the story’s cast, supply mood, steer the plot, provide challenges and conflict, trigger emotions, help us deliver those necessary snippets of backstory…and that’s just scratching the surface. So the question is this: how do we unleash the full power of the setting within our stories?
In fact, swing by and check out this hidden entryfrom the Rural Setting Thesaurus: Ancient Ruins.
And there’s one more thing you might want to know more about….
Becca and Angela, authors of The Emotion Thesaurus, are celebrating their double release with a fun event going on from June 13-20th called ROCK THE VAULT. At the heart of the Writers Helping Writers site is a tremendous vault, and these two ladies have been hoarding prizes of epic writerly proportions.
A safe full of prizes, ripe for the taking…if the writing community can work together to unlock it, of course.
Last night I read my short story to an audience of 80+. My son, brother, and some friends came out to hear me read and accept my award, which made me a little nervous but their presence meant a lot to me. The positive comments afterward helped lift me up from the weariness I and other writers often experience since we usually work in isolation.
Most writers want to write AMAZING prose. Words so delicious that readers can’t wait to scoop up every tasty morsel and flip the page for more.
We want readers to feel emotion when we compose our sentences, to get goosebumps and shivers of excitement. We want readers to be inside the story. We want them to see what we see, hear what we hear, and be right where we are in our head.
Writers want to take the reader into the ghostly forest, a medieval castle, far-flung flung planet, or inside a prison.
So how do you amp up your writing?
Describe what the characters experience without telling them the emotion, i.e. fright, sadness. Describe the sensory details. Use the five senses: Sight, sound, taste, smell and touch. There are really six, but more about that one later.
Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass. Anton Chekhov
This is my stack of books on writing. The ones by Stephen King, Ann Lamott, and Natalie Goldberg are hiding somewhere:
All of these are great books for the mechanics of writing but my go to book isn’t in that stack. It’s on my Kindle.
This book describes the sixth sense: Emotions. There are 75 emotions described by the possible body language cues, thoughts, and visceral responses for each. I also have the companion e-book called Emotional Amplifiers. (The latter book is free).
2. Create compelling characters who have strengths and weaknesses, who are unique in their own way, and who have qualities worth rooting for or caring about. Show some physical characteristics, some language quirk and some personality. Give the reader a character worth remembering.
3. Create the mood by describing the setting. Again, the reader needs to be immersed in the story by visualizing the scene.
Here are some helpful tips on how to incorporate sensory details in your writing:
And here’s some handy tips for creating the mood of your scenes.
These books, The Setting Thesaurus, aren’t out yet, but I’m watching Writers Helping Writers website for the launch date, which right now is June 13, 2016. I’m excited and marked my calendar for their arrival.
I’ve pinned these charts to my “Writing Tips-Fiction” on my Pinterest boards for future reference. You might want to do the same.