Emotion Thesaurus Entry: Guilt

· Muttering to oneself tearfully
· A cracking voice
· Rapid, fevered apologies
· A flight response—running away, unable to deal with the consequences
· Sweating
· Paranoia that others know or are passing judgement
· Nervous fidgeting (picking at nails, squirming in chair, a scattered gaze that bounces around)
· Darting glances at the person you have wronged
· Following or stalking the one wronged, trying to convince oneself to confess
· Causing pain to oneself as penance
· Insomnia
· Paleness, a harried or haunted look
· Self-loathing
· Growing steadily reclusive, cutting oneself off from others

Good news! This sample has been expanded and streamlined into book form! The full list of physical, internal, and mental cues for this and 74 other emotions can be found in The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression, available for purchase at AmazonBarnes & NobleiTunes, and Smashwords. The PDF is also downloadable via the Paypal button in the sidebar. 

Clichés part 2

Top ten ways to spot the Evil, Power-Hungry Villain Cliché

Quick, read the following paragraph:

Evil High Lord Ruderon, eldest son of the half-demon Scythe, commands his chaotic army of Lizard Men, Killer Terriers and Cannibalistic Toads in a bid for world domination. Standing against him is a band of warriors serving the Path of Light, a sect of druids seeking balance in the cosmos.

Now answer the questions, or if you're too lazy (boo!) scroll down to the answers:

Who is the villain?
Evil or good?
Proof of this?
What does he want?
Why does he want it?

*Final Jeopardy Music* Alright, pens down. Everyone ready with their answers?

Who is the villain? Evil High Lord Ruderon

Evil or good? Evil...it says so in the dude's title!

Possible proof of this? Son of a demon, commands a 'chaotic' horde of bad things like killer terriers, opposes druids who seem to be good

What does he want? World domination

Why does he want it? Um, because...because...

And there we have it. The number 1 sign you have a cliché villain on your hands is the fact that there is no motivation for power (or for being evil in the first place). He just wants power and is evil. No reasoning needed--if it's good enough for the author, it's good enough for the reader, right? After all, those readers are pretty bright...and (duh) will know he's the bad guy without me wasting time explaining why.

No, no, no. Everyone has a reason for what they do. Don't skimp on the villain--he's one of the most interesting characters in your story. If you don't show us WHY he's being evil/striving for power and glory, it hurts your story and screams cardboard character.

Other signs you need to stage a cliché intervention:

2. He paces a lot &/ drinks wine pretty much in every scene

What is it with the pacing and the wine? I mean seriously, too much wine and not even the most regimented of evil villains will be able to walk a straight line, much less command armies and take over the world. He needs AA, not a fine Merlot.

3. He kills his high ranking minions during fits of rage

This one really bugs me. I mean, not all minions are the sharpest tool in the shed, sure, but cream rises to the top (spotting the clichés, are you?), right? Those high-ranking officials are the best of the best. What villain would clamp his gauntleted hand over the throat of a general just because he was a little miffed that the Hero circumvented his latest nasty trap? I mean, please. Maybe he'd stomp on one of those cannibal toads, but murder a second-in-command just because? No way--the villain is way too smart to waste talent.

4. He rules with a crushing iron fist and treats all enemies/minions/underlings equally bad

Another annoyance. People can rule through fear--I get that. But ask yourself, how far would Hitler have gotten if he started sending his generals to the gas chamber just because the wifey was PMSing or he lost a wad of cash at the track? Villains can rule cruelly, but the followers have to get something out of it, or they'll lose patience and overthrow him. This is (unfortunately) how it goes in real life, and fiction should be no different.

5. He makes a series of stupid mistakes, or one big one that leads to his downfall which even a Newbie Minion wouldn't make

Villains are smart. Period. If they made loads of mistakes, they wouldn't be in a situation to take over the world or lead minion armies. Even baddies like Freddy Kreuger or Jack the Ripper knew their stuff enough to keep sowing discord for a long, long, time. Sure, your villain will need to make a mistake sooner or later for your hero to win, but whatever happens, make sure the mistake is logical and character-consistent, not bone-headed.

6. He has no redeeming qualities

In this sense, a villain is just like any other main character. If he is so evil, so cruel that there is nothing about him that we can understand, recognize or feel within ourselves, the villain screams cliché. This ties in with the whole 'want power for the sake of power/evil for the sake of evil' thing. The best way for us to believe your villain is compelling is if he has a redeeming quality, something that humanizes him, just like your protag does.

Show us into his soul, just a little. If he has a goal, want or desire that we understand or have felt our self (the desire to protect family, the need to be accepted, the desire to see a world of equality and prosperity) then we understand his motivation to do what he does. We might disagree with his methods to get it, but we can see where he's coming from.

If he is a product of abuse, poverty, illness, etc., the reader will feel some empathy and see how that upbringing has shaped him. Sometimes the best villains are the ones who have the same goal or desire as the Hero only their route to achieve it and their choices are different.

7. The final climatic scene shows a dialogue where the villain reveals his master plan to the hero in order to gloat

Oh wow--we've all seen this, haven't we? In fact, I'll say that it happens enough that it 'can' be pulled off, but if it's done without skill, it feels cliché. This plot device, if used, should be a combination of the hero asking questions and the villain trying to clarify himself WITHOUT the element of gloating. Unless you're very skilled, I'd avoid this one.

8. He allows the hero to reach his peak strength before 'doing something about him'

Um, yeah, this makes sense. Let the hero gather his strength/create an army/weapon up/etc before the villain finally decides to take him out. Um, no. Just like the rest of us, Villains don't like road bumps, they don't want snags. Smooth and easy saves time, manpower and money.

9. They own a castle, on a barren landscape, frequented by lightning and darkness

Okay, let's think about this logically. If you wanted to hide out, stay off the radar, amass an army, etc., I completely understand finding a place that's out of the way with only gophers for company. That make sense. BUT, Don't go too far off the beaten path. A fortress halfway up a mountains, out in the desert, smack dab in the middle of a bog...does it make sense to choose such a local?

Think about supplying those minions of yours--how are you going to find fresh water stuck in the Sahara? Too much darkness can lead to a vitamin D deficiency, a precursor to many diseases--doesn't your villain want to enjoy those golden years? Then there's stuff like Beaver Fever. Can you imagine the medicare costs? Oi. Now that will cut a big chunk out of the Evil Overlord budget.

Atmosphere is important, but don't verge into the cliché to achieve it.

10. He has unexplained wealth and resources at his disposal

I can sort of understand this for a villain who has worked his way into an army of minions to steal from the populaces (it's unexplained, but logically alluded to), but what about those villains who show up in a town half-dead and zip in their pockets because they had an early run-in with the hero that almost did them in? It seems like all they need to do is make a few connections and boom, guns, ammo, clothes, a place to stay. If you look at your psychotic killers who stake out seedy motels, how do they pay for their dry cleaning when Tide can't get out the bloodstains? I have yet to read about Joe Chainsaw rifling through his victim's pockets after delivering room service to #303, have you?

And your bonus reason (just because you're all so special)...

11. Your villain has a name like Evil High Lord Ruderon

Um, yeah. Nuff said.

Villains can be evil. They can desire power. These things don't have to be elements that make them into the cardboard villain cliché. Just treat Uncle Villain like any other character in your story and show the reader WHY he's hungry for power, WHY he's evil. Make us sympathize with him, or at least empathize where he's coming from. Cardboard characters are ones with no motivations, no history, no personality facets. There is no room in good fiction for them.

Look for a fresh edge, a new way to present your villain. How would you describe them if they were the Hero, on the side of right? Remember, villains have their own story. Very few of them see themselves as 'evil' or as being in the wrong. In their eyes, the things they do are to achieve an end that has purpose and meaning. According to them, their actions are justified, and it is the writer's job to show it. Use your imagination, and find your way out of the villain clichés.

Have another Villain cliché you see all the time? Feel free to post it in the comments!

Grammar Answers Round #2

Hello again, everybody. Lots of punctuation questions this time. My answers address punctuation in fiction, which is a little more flexible and not quite as rigid as scholarly writing or journalism.

Punctuation is a tool that some writers use to surprising advantage in unorthodox ways.

There are two schools of thought on punctuation: ‘closed’ and ‘open’. Closed punctuation (loosely defined) refers to using all punctuation that could or might be used—all of it—every comma, semicolon or colon. Open punctuation (also loosely defined) refers to minimal punctuation only to provide clarification, prevent misinterpretation or aid in the pacing of fiction (commas, the rare semicolon, an extremely rare colon).

Closed punctuation is most common in the United States. Canada and the U.K. lean toward the open end of the spectrum. That’s a very general statement, however, and individual publishing houses will have their own house style for punctuation.

Now for answers to the questions in the order they appear on the blog.

Anonymous asked: “I’d like to know what you think about semicolons in dialogue.”

I’m really glad you qualified that with the word ‘think’, because semicolons in dialogue are a stylistic choice. Whether or not they appear in dialogue is the choice of both the writer and his or her editor. What I ‘think’ is that they don’t work well in dialogue, and here’s why:

Punctuation in dialogue is used to shape the cadence of the speech. It provides pauses, emphatic endings, flourishes, questions, and helps the writer convey the speech pattern of the character. Readers implicitly know how to shape the sound of a line of dialogue that ends in a period. There is a finality. A comma lends a slight pause, an intake of breath. Ellipses help us to hear a voice trailing off. An em dash is a sudden cessation of speech. An exclamation mark shouts. A question mark lilts the text. What is the sound of a semicolon?

The use of semicolons in dialogue can make the reader aware of the text, instead of listening to the ‘sound’ you are writing. I advise writers to avoid them entirely in dialogue and keep the reader within the cadence of the speech pattern. Not all editors or publishers agree. So, the choice is yours. I don’t know if that helped or not, but it's my opinion that your ‘crit’ partners have a point.

familyonbikes asked: “I’m wondering how in the heck to use the three dots (I have no idea what that’s called)…”

The ellipsis¬¬ (plural: ellipses) is used to convey a trailing off of sound or, when used while quoting other material, to indicate that more unquoted material precedes or follows.

Some examples of trailing off or absence of sound or dialogue:

• “Rowan, what are you thinking?”
• “I just can’t seem to concentrate. . . ”

• “Your answer, Maestro?”
• “. . .”

Quoted material:

• “To be or not to be. That is the . . .”
• “. . . or not to be. That is the question.”

There are a few ways to punctuate the ellipsis and your publisher will choose the one they use in-house. I have three style guides beside me as I write this, and each one recommends a different way to construct and space ellipses. I’ll give you all three and you choose. The point here is to be consistent. It doesn’t matter which style you use, but always use the same one. That way, if your publisher decides to change the ellipses to suit the house style guide, they can all be changed at once.

First method (I use this one for internet writing as it shows up more clearly on the screen): a space before, between and after three periods. Like this . . . see how clear this looks on the screen?

Second method: no space before, spaces between three periods and no space after. Like this. . .but it can be hard to read on a computer screen.

Third method: space before, no spaces between three periods and a space after.
Like this … a little easier to read.

I wouldn’t recommend using ellipses after etc. in a list. Et cetera means “and other things”. The ellipses are redundant in that case.

You don’t need to capitalize the next phrase after an ellipsis unless it starts a new sentence. If you are only indicating a trailing off pause, then pick one of the three styles above and just continue without a capital. They can be placed anywhere in a sentence.

Punctuation with ellipses very much relies on context, so I can’t give you much more than that on punctuating around them. If used in dialogue, there is no closing punctuation. “I just can’t seem to . . . ”

colbymarshall asked: “…if you have dialogue that breaks with a tag in the middle separated by commas…does the second bit of dialogue begin with a capital letter?”

No, only if it is a new sentence or you’re using something like your example with a personal pronoun such as I. Example: “Really,” she said, “that’s ridiculous.”

Anonymous asked: “Can you go over its/it’s?”

Sure. It’s is a contraction of ‘it is’. Its is a possessive. An easy way to check for these when you’re reading through your work is to substitute ‘it is’ and see if that makes sense. If it does, then use it’s. If it doesn’t, use its. Examples:

“It’s raining out. My car will have its new wax job ruined.”

Lame example, but sound them out and you’ll see the difference.

Angela asked/screamed: “I always get confused in situations where a person is quoting another person . . . ”

The most common usage in North American is punctuation inside the quoted text which ends with three quotation marks.

“ . . . ‘Sure, parents can come too.’”

If I came across this in a manuscript I was editing, I’d recommend rewriting to avoid ending the quote at the end of dialogue. That doesn’t change the way it should be done if it has to be done, but if you can avoid that particular configuration in fiction, try to do so.

Angela also asked why there are so many style guides. Good question. Most style guides are written for particular publishing areas. The Chicago Manual of Style addresses scholarly books and journals. The Canadian Style addresses Government of Canada publications. There are style guides for newspapers, professional societies, scientific publications, medical publications. Most do not address fiction, and they often conflict with each other. They can be good sources of information but they really exist as tools for publishers and editors to provide consistency in published manuscripts. A good dictionary and a thesaurus are the writer’s best guides.

Emotion Thesaurus Entry: Indignation

· Exhaling impatiently, snorting
· Sputtering, stuttering over words, speaking in broken sentences
· Speechlessness
· Vehement denial, even in the face of logic
· Breaking eye contact
· Throwing one's hands in the air
· Crossing the arms over the chest
· Walking away
· Eyes bulging or blinking rapidly
· The mouth dropping open
· Sharp, spastic movements (hands/arms jerking about, interrupted pacing, opening and closing fists)
· Slapping one's hands over the top of the head
· Becoming defensive: “How dare you!” or “How could you say such a thing?”

Indignation also can lead to Anger responses, or be paired with Shock. You can combine actions from these emotions to convey an even more accurate effect.

Good news! This sample has been expanded and streamlined into book form! The full list of physical, internal, and mental cues for this and 74 other emotions can be found in The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression, available for purchase at AmazonBarnes & NobleiTunes, and Smashwords. The PDF is also downloadable via the Paypal button in the sidebar. 

Clichés…a writer’s dirty little secret

I thought it might be interesting to take a look at this controversial topic and the power it has over writers. Cliché, not a term to be used lightly, literally means a phrase, expression, or idea that has been overused to the point of losing its intended force or novelty (thank you wiki). It can come in the guise of a characterization, plot device, description, setting, idea or a million other things.

Some scoff at clichés, damning them alongside trans-fats, celebrity authors and Hitler. A cliché? Not in MY work, no way. Others discuss them in low, embarrassed tones. If forced to point one out to a fellow writer, it’s done with carefully averted eyes and a grimace, like the other person has just soiled themselves. “I think this might be a little…cliché.”

Why does this one word cause such discomfort? Because a cliché is an insult, a slur. A blight on a manuscript. And, a writer’s dirtiest little secret.

A secret—this loathsome term? Impossible! And yet it isn’t, because as much as we hate clichés and disparage their presence, we use them all the time in our writing.

Clarisse, can you hear the lambs screaming?

Okay, let me explain. It is said that are no unique ideas, no fresh thoughts, no new ways of saying or doing anything that has not been said or done before. Take a look at books like The Hero with a Thousand Faces or The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure For Writers and you’ll see what I mean, or simply think portals to other worlds, chosen ones, a magic fill-in-the-blank (swords, amulets, etc), hearts racing, a river of tears, a dying man’s declaration. Face it…clichés are everywhere.

Personally, I believe there are fresh ideas, characters and descriptions out there, hidden in the crags and crevices of our imaginations. Unfortunately, not everyone has the ability or the time to mine them into being. Oftentimes we believe we have something new, only to discover it has been done before.

Whether you believe ‘nothing is new’ or not, I hope we can agree that all writers use clichés at some point. Some are successful at it (Star Wars, anyone?) and some…not so much. The trick is to pick and choose when and where to use them and to always adapt them so they stand in a fresh light.

Over the next few posts, I want to take a look at a few of the worst offenders: evil villains, trite metaphors, sappy emotional expressions, plots we see too often, character stereotypes (the handsome rich jocks, Ugly Betty type nerds, the blonde & beautiful mean girls). Let’s drag this topic into the light and discuss how to freshen the tired (and sometime outright annoying) cliché.

Do you have a pet peeve cliché? Are you having trouble with keeping one out of your story? If so, mention it in the comment section and we’ll take a look at it together!

Showing vs. Telling

So...it was requested that we write a post on showing vs. telling. Since this is one of the common problems I see when critiquing, I figured it would be a good topic for our blog. Here goes:

What's "Telling" and What's Wrong With It?
Simply put, "telling" is telling the reader something. The country was in turmoil. My sister has no manners. Angela is a lunatic. Things like these need to be explained in the story, so what's wrong with just telling the reader?

1. Telling usually explains everything to the reader right off the bat. There are certain venues where you want people to explain things as simply as possible: when they're giving directions or explaining a calculus lesson; when you're on the phone with your neighbor who never stops talking and LOST starts in 30 seconds. But in fiction, telling is kind of like talking down to the reader; it doesn't give him/her any credit. At worst, repeated telling says to the audience I'm not entirely sure that you're capable of getting the point if I write it with any subtlety, so let me make it really simple. At best, it's a sign that you, as the author, are unsure of your own ability to make yourself understood without just stating it outright. Neither message is one you want to send.

2. Telling oftentimes interrupts the flow of the story. Consider one of the statements from above: Angela is a lunatic. If the author has to explain this in so many words, she has probably stopped telling the story to do so. When she's done, the story will commence, but in the meantime, the pace has halted, stopping the reader's attention along with it--something else you don't want to do if you can possibly help it.

3. Telling doesn't usually draw the reader into the story because telling is flat: it doesn't include details, emotion, or anything unique. Do you know someone who's a really good storyteller? My husband tells great stories; granted, they're usually embellished for effect, but that's what makes them great—lots of emotion and hand-waving, little details, a smattering of completely made-up vocabulary to give it his own personal flair. When he tells a story, people listen and can almost believe that the story's happening to them. This is what we want to achieve in our writing.

What's "Showing" and Why Is It Preferred?
The alternative to telling is showing. It's telling the reader what you want them to know in a way that pulls the reader in and is far more interesting than simply stating a fact. Showing usually gets more information across, too.

Example 1: (I've used examples from my writing in this post not because I'm convinced of my own literary genius, but because every book I own is packed and buried in the guest bedroom. I apologize in advance.)
· Nerien jerked upright in bed and reached out, but only felt crumpled blankets and the heave of his own chest. He fell back and groaned into his pillow. Why? Why did he always wake up before the dream ended? (showing)

In this example, I could have simply stated that Nerien was frustrated when he woke up. But saying it doesn't evoke that emotion; it merely states it. Instead, showing how he felt draws the readers in, helps them to feel the character's frustration instead of just reading about it. Showing is also usually more active and immediate.

Example 2:
· It was a noisy river. (telling)
· The sturdy stone bridge had no railing. Dara stood at the edge, watching the gentle Supine River turn crazy and wild where the river from Frost Berth joined it. It was particularly loud just below, where a branch had become tangled in the grasses near the pillars. The water gurgled and choked around it. Or was it the branch that was choking? Dara touched the soft scars that marred her upper arm. She felt a certain kinship with that branch. She was often choking these days, but it wasn't water that squeezed her. (showing)

As this example illustrates, 'showing' isn't a technique used only for emotion. It really could be used in all areas of description, from describing settings and characters to explaining relationship dynamics to strengthening dialogue.

Okay, so that's telling and showing. But how do you identify the telling parts of your story and show them instead? Since this post is getting a little long, these questions will be answered in part two, later this week.

Emotional Thesaurus Entry: Confidence/Pride

· Shoulders back, chest out, chin lifted
· Giving a half-shrug and a grin that conveys agreement or secret knowledge
· Flirting
· Comfortable being in close proximity to others or initiating contact
· Telling jokes, adding to or steering a conversation
· Hosting an event or activity (a BBQ, getting the guys together for a football game)
· Bragging, obsessively talking about an achievement or material object (winning a game, a new car, etc)
· Reacting with anger or jealousy if one's reputation is impugned
· Doing or saying things outside of the norm without anxiety or concern
· Leaning in to talk or listen
· Maintaining good eye contact
· Lots of physical contact, touchy-feely
· Running the hands through the hair, flipping one's hair
· Assuming a pose that's sexy, appealing, or draws attention to one's best attributes
· Wearing clothes that are flashy or dramatic

Good news! This sample has been expanded and streamlined into book form! The full list of physical, internal, and mental cues for this and 74 other emotions can be found in The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression, available for purchase at AmazonBarnes & NobleiTunes, and Smashwords. The PDF is also downloadable via the Paypal button in the sidebar. 

Grammar Questions Now Closed

Thanks to everyone who sent in grammar questions for the Grammar Guru. We'll post the responses soon!

Long Live Grammar!

We are pleased to announce Grammbo, the Grammar Guru will be returning to the Bookshelf Muse to answer more grammar-related questions. For those who are new to the Muse, Grammbo is a successful editor who does manuscript evaluation, style, and substantive editorial work, in addition to being a published author herself.

Like last time, please direct your grammatical questions in the comments of this post, and please idicate the market for which the work is intended. Grammbo is versed in Canadian, UK and American markets, and not all rules are the same for all countries.

If you would like to check out the first addition of Grammbo's grammar answers first to make sure your query has not already been answered, you can check here. When enough questions have been asked, we will close the question period and post the answers as soon as possible.

So, do you have a question about grammar, or need clarification on the application of a rule? Please let us know!

Emotion Thesaurus Entry: Hatred

  • Forearm muscles appearing cut from stone
  • Thoughts of violence, playing out fantasies of violence or humiliation
  • Bitter, seething words meant to provoke
  • A black mood that no one can dispel
  • A pinched face, frigid features, mouth twisted into a snarl or sneer
  • Spitting in someone’s face, at their feet or in their direction
  • Rash decisions, impaired judgment
  • Single-minded focus on how to destroy another
  • Starting hateful gossip
  • An inability to enjoy positive things or happiness
  • Angry tears
  • Cursing, swearing
  • A scathing tone
  • A shaking, rage-filled voice
  • Promising or declaring to another that you will destroy them/make them pay
*Note: Many Anger actions can be escalated or combined to show hatred

Good news! This sample has been expanded and streamlined into book form! The full list of physical, internal, and mental cues for this and 74 other emotions can be found in The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression, available for purchase at AmazonBarnes & NobleiTunes, and Smashwords. The PDF is also downloadable via the Paypal button in the sidebar. 

Drum Roll Please....

Our critique winner is the talented CJ! She guessed correctly that the lie was my ancesteral connection to Captain James Cook! Whoo hoo!

Thanks to everyone for playing--I hope I haven't scared anyone off with weird details from my life. This hopefully will be only the first of many contests, so stay tuned!

Meme-ber-me Again…With a Contest Twist

Boy, you innocently sic a few Mexican Timeshare-selling Zombies on people and do they ever let you forget? Nooooo…

(Just kidding--big thanks to Donna for this one—it looks fun!)

The Meme Rules Which I Must Abide By Or Forever Wander The Zombieless Void:

1. Link back to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post by posting links to their blog sites.
5. Let them know they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment on their site.
6. And let your tagger know when your entry is up.

Has everyone taken their meds? It’s time to creak open the door to the scary place which is ANGELA.

Incredible Detail # 1: If you handed me a honeycomb frame from a bee hive, I know the proper technique to extract the honey from it.

Incredible detail #2: When I was a kid, I wanted to be an entomologist. I kept spiders in my mailbox and my first pet was a tarantula.

Incredible detail # 3: I have an alien driver’s license in my purse. You never know when you’ll need to drive those interstellar vehicles…

Incredible detail # 4: In elementary school, I once lead a group of girls safely across an island when our teacher ‘forgot us’ on a class trip.

Incredible detail # 5: I am a distant relative of Captain James Cook, the famous explorer from Great Britain who sailed to all 7 continents.

Incredible Detail # 6: When I was 11, I carved my initials in a tree when I thought I was going to die in a forest fire that I helped start

Incredible Detail #7: As a teen I was featured in national newspapers, radio and on TV for starving myself on purpose

Now the more observant Musers might notice there’s an extra factoid in there. That’s because kiddies…one of those factoids is a LIE. The question is which one?

For this Meme, I tag whoever wants to participate. For our Musers, I add this twist:

Angela’s Awesome Revised Guidelines to the Glorious Ever After Critique WIN

1. Guess which incredible detail is not true

2. Post your guess in the comment section

3. Include one reason why you want to be as cool as Angela and Becca

4. Hug a zombie if you see one. They’re people too (well, sort of)

5. You only get one guess

6. First one to find the lie (and follow the rules) wins their choice of either a query letter or 1st chapter macro critique (any genre except Erotica, please)

Well, what are you waiting for? Step right up and make your guess! Credit for this idea should go to Susan, who has a great blog and I suggest everyone stop by and say hello!

Classy Writing Workshops

I recently read a post on Kristen Nelson's blog about a conference schedule that contained an unfortunate typo. I'm sure that the How to Shag an Agent workshop was very popular, though some of the attendees were no doubt disappointed. It made me wonder about what other interesting classes might be available to writers. My top three:

Adding Humor to your Fart
Getting Started: Hooking Basics
The Power of Observation: Finding Pot Anywhere

Any others? Feel free to swear--er, share...

Emotion Thesaurus Entry: Disgust

· Sneering
· Flinching away, recoiling
· Bringing a hand up to cover one’s mouth
· Eyes that appear cold, dead, flat
· A feeling of nausea, a heaving stomach
· Demanding another to stop speaking or desist what they are doing
· Feeling dirty or soiled, just by be being in the presence of the one who causes the disgust
· Using a purse or jacket to create a shield between oneself and the person causing discomfort
· A desire to flee
· Avoiding touches, brushes, stepping back to stay beyond the other person’s reach
· Shunning, evasive answers
· A curling lip
· A pale cast to one’s face, a pallor over the features
· Excessive saliva, having to swallow
· A choking or uncomfortable swallow
· Curling away from another if lying prone
· Turning away, spinning on a heel

Good news! This sample has been expanded and streamlined into book form! The full list of physical, internal, and mental cues for this and 74 other emotions can be found in The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression, available for purchase at AmazonBarnes & NobleiTunes, and Smashwords. The PDF is also downloadable via the Paypal button in the sidebar. 


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