If You Do Just One Thing Today...

...go and read this blog. Then come back here and tell me how awesome my agent is for sending me the link.

I love the INTERN. In a total non creepy-stalky way, of course.

I bet you will, too. :-) Cheers!


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Mermen Debunked, a Medusa Tree and Smellin' Them Roses

Hi everyone! I'm back from a mini vacation out to the Canmore/Banff area wanted to share some wonderful pics. I hope they will help remind all my fellow writers to make time for the beauty around us. Writing is stressful, and breaks can help us get in tune with our creativity. So get out there and look, smell...experience!




This is the world famous Banff Springs Hotel from the back. We drove around the front but I couldn't get a good shot from the car. It was amazing, and even had a bag piper playing on the stone steps. I don't even want to think how much it would cost to stay here!




Another spectacular view of the mountains. Just incredible!!



Okay, so I had to get a shot of this tree I found on a hiking trail. It reminded me of Medusa with the branches growing every which way. I don't know which mountain we were climbing up, but we dubbed it 'Hello Kitty Mountain" because the top peaks reminded us of cat ears.





This is Little Bows Falls, a fierce roaring tumult of water that makes me scared to wonder what a 'Big Bow Falls' might look like...





I thought this was a nice view from the cliff side above Little Bow...














Here's another cool-looking tree, clinging to the cliffs above 'Little Bow Falls'. I figure this must be close to the starting point of the Bow, a major river bisecting Calgary (which runs right past my house). That's oldest there, leaning on the stone pillar...




In Banff we took the kids to an Indian Trading Post. It's been years since I've been in one, and I've missed the smell of leather from the moccasins and other tanned products.

Imagine my surprise when I also came across a decades-old news article regarding a creature found in Lake Superior: a MERMAN!



And here, irrefutable PROOF that mermen exist! I mean, they had its skeleton in a glass showcase, people! So OF COURSE THIS IS THE GENUINE ARTICLE.

Just remember, you saw it here first!



This is my view from the softest, thickest bed of moss you could possibly imagine. My family and I lay here for quite a while, staring up at the clouds high above us. Had I been alone, I probably would have fallen asleep it was so comfy, and no bugs to speak of. Heaven!



Finally a pretty flower I found springing up from the mossy undergrowth.

Have you stopped to smell the flowers lately?


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Setting Thesaurus Entry: Barn Part 2 (Dairy)

The information for this entry came from our friend Joyce Servidio, which was nice, since neither Angela nor I have much experience with dairy farms. Thanks for the info, Joyce!


Sight
Cow breath on a cold day; steaming manure/urine; white-washed windows to keep the blinding morning sun out; cats hunting; mother cat with kittens; cats begging for squirt of milk from udder; sawdust; flicking of ears & tail; metal tags in ears; bull nose ring; calves nursing; barn dances; stainless steel pipes, milkers, & bulk tank; youngsters training animals for 4-H shows; show ribbons & trophies; water hoses; bale hooks; white-wash flakes; dark liquid eyes; calves mouthing wooden or metal rails; charts for feeding regimins; flies, flyspecks, flypaper, fly traps; flakes of whitewash falling when first of next season’s haybales are dropped onto haymow floor.

Smell:
Fresh white-wash; fresh milk, sour milk; manure (different in summer than winter because of feed); fresh/sour haylage; fresh/sour silage; molasses; sawdust; fermenting corn silage; wet hay, moldy hay, dry hay; bedding straw.

Sound:
Kittens mewing; cats meowing; mice & rats scutling; cats purring; chink of chains; clank of metal stantions; splatter of manure; scrap of shovel on concrete; brush of broom on concrete; cat fight; pulse of milking machines; calves blatting; calves suckling on nipple; splast of urine; barn dances, square dancers & callers; clatter of manure system; tractor & manure spreader idling at barn door; scrap of cow tongue on concrete manger getting taste of few grains or drop of mollases; moos, bellers; “heeeere, kitty, kitty” call; “come-bossy” call; milk compressor; silo unloader; tractor & bucket loaders; quiet murmuring of workers talking to animals; cursing; dripping water from water bowls; gushing water; cows slurping water; thump of bales dropping off elevator into mow floor or earlier layers of bales (two different sounds); stirring milk replacer powder into water with whisk; flies buzzing.

Feel:
Warmth of cow on cold morning; cats stroking legs beging for taste of milk; sawdust; sticky mollasses; warmth of manure/urine if unlucky enough to get splashed; coolness of same if fall; smooth wood of haymow floor from years of sliding hay bales; bounce of mow floor during barn dance or when bales fall from elevator; foot/leg slipping between haybales; waft of fresh air; cow snot & drool; scratch of hay/straw through thin jeans or on bare arms.

Taste:
Mollasses; grain; oats; fresh milk; water.



Helpful hints:


--The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.


Example 1: The door slammed back and forth against the wall, hinges giving a rusty wheeze with each bang. Inside, the barn was dark as a hole, so a person had to make their way through it by feel, but that was hardly comforting. Shuffling feet awakened metal pails and broken pipes. Cobwebs fluttered in phantom breezes and stuck to the skin. Boards creaked. It was easy to imagine any number of things dwelling in such a place. And the imaginer would be right.



Example 2: Eyelet curtains fluttered at each window. The smooth, white-washed boards dared any spider to spin so much as a thread. Fresh hay crunched under my shoes. I glanced at Aunt Pearl, who stood there in gloves, hat, and a cloud of perfume to survey her finished project. She closed her eyes and drew in a deep breath--one that turned to a gagging cough. I sighed, wrinkling my own nose at the animal smell. There was only so much you could do to beautify a barn.


--Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.


Example 1: (Simile) The ancient barn smelled like a haystack that had been left out in the rain.


Example 2: (Metaphor) Stalls lined the walls the length of the barn. A cow stood in each one, head down and staring at nothing while the metal milk machines did their work: robot parasites, sucking the life from their hosts.

CTS Entry: Barbed and Spined

Natural:

Claws
Talons
Beaks (owl, eagle, falcon)
Thorns (raspberry bush, rose bush, blackberries bush, brambles)
Cactus
Cockle burr
Thistle
Holly leaves
Prickly pear
Burdock
Porcupines
Sea urchin
Venus Fly Trap
Hedge hog
Agave
Pine needles
Iguana
Sting ray
Tusks
Icicles
Frost
Date Palm
Aloe Vera Plant

Man-made:

Barbed wire fences (ranches, farms, prisons, mine fields, government areas)
Decorative knives/swords
Wrought iron fences
Weather vanes
Arrowheads
Fish hook
Spear gun
Spurs
Plow
Hair brushes
Pet brushes
Curry combs
Serrated knife
Pickets
Pincushion
Antennas
Toilet Brush
Fire poker

Synonyms:

Spur, nub, quill, needled, bristle, thorny, horned, spike, briary, burry

Describing a shape is best done in as few words as possible. Think of the shape as a camera snap shot--you want to capture the gist of what you mean as soon as possible so you can get on with other related (and more important) detail, and the action happening in the scene

A weak example:

The mugger held his knife out, a long, curved blade with a spurred backbone, made for causing more damage coming out than it would going in. I handed my wallet over; the forty bucks I had in it wasn't worth losing my life.

What's wrong with this example?

The words chosen to describe the shape don't create a precise image.

A strong example:

The mugger held his knife out, moonlight glittering off a wickedly barbed edge. A huge blade like this had to be all show--it was a ridiculous choice for a back alley shakedown. Still, as he waved it back and forth, you couldn't help but imagine the kind of damage it might do. I handed my wallet over, the forty bucks I had in it not worth the risk of being wrong.

Why does this work?

This example puts more emphasis on how the shape causes a heightened emotion rather than over explain the look of it.

Setting Thesaurus Entry: Tree House

Sight
wooden planks, cut-out window, rope ladder, boards nailed to tree trunk to make a ladder, chipped/mismatched dishes, ratty furniture, carpet remnants, curtains, junk food wrappers, crumbs, books/magazines, legs dangling from the sides or through the trap door, trees, leaves, branches, moss, squirrels, birds, insects, lizards, the backyard, swing set, dappled shade and sunlight, discarded toys on the lawn, the back of the house, lights shining from windows, sprinklers, cushions, pillows, posters nailed to the wall, names signed or carved in the wood, trap door, rope with bucket tied to it, playing cards, roof, spiderwebs, cloth nailed over windows for curtains, keep out signs or club name signs, pocket knife, secret stash of treasures or forbidden items


Sounds

creak of boards, rope ladder scraping against tree trunk, wind in the leaves, leaves brushing against the house, branches creaking, curtains flapping, soda cans popping open, rustle of candy wrappers, crunch of potato chips, birds singing, scrabble of lizards on wood, insects buzzing, squirrels chattering, laughter, conversation, pages turning, quiet sound of music from an MP3 player, rain on the roof, click of someone texting on a phone, distant voices from house/neighborhood, drone of cars on the road, dogs barking, doors slamming, rhythmic patter of sprinklers, whispering, giggling

Smells

nearby flowers, fresh-mown grass, new wooden planks, sawdust, rain, fresh air, tree sap, moldy furniture/carpet, chocolate, sweat, hamburgers/hot dogs cooking, chimney smoke, pitch/sap, musty cushions

Tastes

water, soda, juice, chocolate, candy, chips, sandwiches, cookies, rain, sweat, stolen cigarettes

Touch

rough/smooth wooden planks, nail heads sticking out of boards, gaps in boards, breeze blowing through the window, curtains brushing your skin, treehouse swaying in a strong wind, scratchy rope, nappy carpet, soft fabric on furniture, glossy feel of magazines, papery book pages, rough tree bark, bite of mosquito, raindrops/cool mist from sprinklers, splinters under the skin, fingers pinched between boards, rough housing with friends, hard floor beneath back, leaning against the walls or trunk, running fingers over a cherished item (a collectible baseball card, the skull of an animal that was found, a metal box with personal items in it, etc)

Helpful hints:

--The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.

Example 1:

Kent gasped and yanked his hand back as the splinter skewered his palm. The floorboards creaked and he froze. Shoot--had they heard? Carefully, holding his breath tight in his chest, Kent leaned down to stare through the open knothole in the floor. Mark and his posse were right beneath him, looking around, trying to figure out where he'd gone.

Example 2:

I looked up from my magazine to see what the guys were up to. Jimmy was polishing the rocks he'd collected at the creek and lining them up on the narrow shelf above the window. Connor and Darren were throwing darts scavenged from the dump at a target drawn on the wall with a sharpie pen. I grinned and turned a page of my Mad Magazine. This is what summer was all about--hanging with the guys, no girls, no parents...and most importantly, no school work to worry about.
--Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.

Example 1: (Simile)

In the storm, leaves and branches battered against the walls like zombies looking for their next meal.

Example 2: (Metaphor)

Moonlight streamed in the window--nature's night light watching over us.

CTS Entry: Sticky


Natural:

Honey
Sap
Pitch
Spider webs
Burrs
Snail or slug goo
Tree buds
Flower nectar
Frog's tongue
Hen's Bane
Resin
Phlegm
Sleepy eyelids
Mud
Venus fly traps
Pollen
Thistle heads

Man-made:

Pull taffy
Glue
Paper mache
Bread dough
Biscuit dough
Cinnamon buns
Carmel apples
BBQ sauce
Hot wings
Rice Krispy Squares
Fly paper
Cooked ribs
Paint
Sticky notes
Duct Tape
Cling wrap
Band aids
Gum
Tar
Pitch
Grease
Hair wax or gel
Dried juice or pop spills
Old candies or lollipops
Lint brush
Dirty floors
Wet paint
Sweaty or wet clothing
Roasted marshmallows
Cooked rice or noodles

Synonyms:

Gummy, viscid, gluey, viscous, gooey, adhesive, tacky, viscid, clingy

Describing texture in a story creates intimacy between reader and character, and can even cause an emotional trigger for both. To anchor the reader in the scene, make sure comparisons and contrasts are clear and relatable, and within the scope of the narrator's life knowledge and experience.

A weak example:

As I walked down the dark hall of Aunt Emma's trailer, the gungy, gritty floor clung to my shoes like a tacky coat of paint.

What's wrong with this example?

There's a mixed image going on here--a gungy, gritty floor (dirty) and new paint (clean, a freshened up look). Make sure your comparison is an accurate match for what you are trying to show.

A strong example:

As I walked down the dark hall of Aunt Emma's trailer, the gungy, gritty floor clung to my shoes like used fly paper.

Why does this example work?

Here, the images go together--a gluey paper strip studded with dead bugs is a perfect match for a disgusting, unswept floor.

Setting Thesaurus Entry: Prison Cell

Sight

Iron bars, cement, thin mattresses, old sheets, plain blankets, toilet, sink, stuff written/carved into the walls, painted cement floor, prison overalls, prison shoes, prison clothing and incidentals, a few toiletries (toothpaste, comb, soap, dental floss), light with a cage over it, reading table, books or magazines, photos taped to the wall of girl friends, wives, children or friends, contraband hidden out of sight (cigarettes, drugs, bladed weapons, money, syringes, electronics, lighters, food, cutting tools, etc), inmates (pacing, reading, sleeping, staring at the wall, doing sit ups and push ups, writing letters)

Sounds

footsteps echoing down the walkways, coughing, talking, muttering, swearing, yelling, whispering, shoes squeaking, pages turning, water turning on and off, toilets flushing, humming, grunting/panting while exercising, mattresses squeaking, guards speaking/yelling, buzzers, iron door shuddering open, voices over loudspeakers, sirens, riots/fights

Smells

Sweat, metal, mildew, cleaning products, soap, air conditioning, food from the mess hall, dust, dirt

Tastes

water, contraband items, approved items purchased through prison confectionery (cookies, chips, instant coffee, chocolate, etc)

Touch

Cold metal bars, cracked and dirty porcelain sinks, walls of pitted concrete, laying back on a mattress with no back support, springs digging into your back or no springs at all, lumpy pillows, scratchy blankets, piled sheets rubbing at your skin, running a finger over the face of loved ones in photos, flipping through magazines, a pen held tightly in fingers as you write a letter, sketching or studying for educational improvement, probing a bruise with your fingers after a scuffle with guards or a fight with inmates, pacing across a hard floor, sweat dripping down your face while exercising in the cell, turning your face to sunlight coming through a high window, leaning against the bars, hooking your arms through the bars, the chafe of handcuffs or ankle cuffs, uncomfortable shoes rubbing at feet

Helpful hints:


--The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.

Example 1:

I pull down Jackie's picture from the gloomy wall next to the bed, careful to only touch the edges. She's in the park near our old place, apples in her cheeks as she pumps her legs on the swings. Her grin is so bright I smile just looking at it, and I long to touch her face, but fear wearing away her beautiful image. In the photo she's five or six, an age left behind a dozen years ago. I wonder what she looks like now, if she's happy. I would trade another year in this place of cold steel and weeping concrete to have just one hour back with her, there in the park, where our smiles could meet without a photo between us.

Example 2:

One of the guards waited for me outside the cell as I glanced around one last time at the barren walls that had housed me for seven years. The room was straightened, toothpaste scum washed down the cracked sink, table cleared off, bed neatly made. I didn't need to do any of these things, but habits are hard to break. In my hands, I carried three items: a copy of Orwell's 1984, a photo of my wife and our son, and my toothbrush. Maybe it was stupid to bring the toothbrush, but I couldn't bare to leave anything personal of myself behind in a place that held only frustration and despair. I turned my back on the room and follow the guard to where my family waits. A strange feeling swelled in my chest, something absent so long I almost didn't recognize it: hope.

--Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.

Example 1: (Simile)

The bed creaked as I sat, the lumpy mattress sagging in the middle like the sludgy bilge of a rotten ship. How many others had claimed this spot before me, staring at the same chipped paint that I now did?

Example 2: (Metaphor)

As the metal bars rattle close behind me, my eyes grow used to the dim light of my new home. Slowly they reveal themselves to me, the ghosts who have remained to greet the newest inductee. Carved and penned, the walls are filled with ravings at the unfairness, the wasted opportunities. The dingy cement reeks of loss, tattooed with the life stolen by steel and fences.


A special note:


I found some good information here regarding prison life: contents found in a prison, items that can be purchased by prisoners and their costs, etc. There are also personal stories regarding inmate treatment and the gritty reality of prisons. As this information is provided mostly by inmates in Pennsylvania, be aware that some of the language and content may be highly offensive.

Keep in mind too that not all prisons or operations are similar nor host the same conditions or environments, but some of this may offer good generalities for fiction writing.

CTS Entry: Black

Real World Comparisons
Raven or crow's wing
Bird's eye
Pupil
Volcanic rock
Dirt/soil
Crow
Animal's nose
Tire
Pepper
Darkness
Night
Dried poop
Burnt wood
Ashes
Oil
Tar
Leopard's spots
Zebra's stripes
Rot
Poppy seeds
Black widow
Animal fur (notably: panther, bear, cat, horse)
Licorice
Beetle's shell
The proverbial sheep
Tuxedo
Hair
Water moccasin
Hitler's mustache
Dracula's cape
Grand piano
Ink
Coal
Onyx
Killer whales
Guns
Black jelly beans
Blood blisters
Flies
Pavement
Cast iron pans
Ripe olives
Blackheads
Bike tires
Black beans
Kiwi fruit seeds
Pirate flag
Soot
Black hole
Dung beetle
Scarabs
Priest clothing
Cavities
Fungus
Sunflower seeds
Peppercorns
Eight ball (in pool)
Bikers leather (jacket, pants, etc)

Synonyms for Black: jet, ebon, ebony, inky, obsidian, onyx, sable, sooty

Make every detail count. Colors are powerful descriptors, not fillers. Make sure that if you use a comparison or contrast to highlight a color, you choose the right one. Look at the setting and atmosphere you are working to create, then draw from the viewpoint character or narrator's history, education and past experiences to find the right fit.

A poor example:

Once Wendy had loaded up at the buffet she sashayed to our table, smiling like she actually thought she belonged. She'd chosen a short ebony dress as her outfit this evening, which made her bloated white legs as appealing as soiled hospital linen.

What's wrong with this example?

The emphasis is more on how the black skirt makes her legs look, rather than describe the skirt itself. If the black object is important, don't let other things overrun the description.

A strong example:

Once Wendy had loaded up at the buffet she sashayed to our table, smiling like she actually thought she belonged. As she stood there balancing a heaped plate, I took a closer look at the ridiculous ebony dress encasing her chubby form. What was she thinking--a shiny number like that should make the wearer look sleek, not a dung beetle clinging to its precious meal.

Why is this example better?

It provides a simile that gives an apt image and also really says something about the nastiness of the person making the comparison.

What's Your Google?

Last week, a Muser, Parakeva, asked about which entries are the most popular here at The Bookshelf Muse. I don't know about you, but I am always interested in what brings visitors here to the blog and what they find the most useful, so of course I couldn't wait to post about this!

About hmm, October of last year, I signed up for Google Analytics, which is an excellent way to find out more about who visits your site, what they are looking for and how long they hang out. (There's probably a bazillion other things it does too, but my technical skillz are right above 'neanderthal' so if you are interested in finding out more of it's higher functions I suggest you go and check out their home page.)

Now, where were we? Ah yes...which entries are the most popular. :)

For the Setting thesaurus:

Forests
Deserts

For the Emotion Thesaurus:

Shock/surprise
Anger

For the Color Thesaurus:

Brown
Purple

For the Shape Thesaurus:

Oval
Square

For the Texture Thesaurus:


Gritty
Slimy

The top visited posts outside of these are:

Introduction to the Emotion Thesaurus
Manuscripts Editors Don't Want to See

The strangest things people searched for that lead them here:

Baloney smell
(Uh, what?)
Row boat book shelf (we get lots of people looking for bookshelves!)
Wanting to please thesaurus (Hey, we're not that kind of blog!)
8 months splotchy skin crying when eating (I never cry when I eat, honest.)
Are pine trees edible, smokable (What can I say? Wow!)
Aunt Edna's dry ribs (Ummm, sounds good!)
Boardwalk stuffed snakes (My kids love these!)
Can an oxygen mask cause purple and dry cracked lips and tongue? (I have no idea!)
Mildew newspapers (recycle, recycle, recycle!)
Lung wort mulching (who names these plants, anyways?)
Lifeguard bathing suits for dogs (How humiliating!)

And finally...*drum roll*

I fantasize about my critique group partner (Is this the guy wanting to smoke pine trees, I wonder?)

Anyway, thank you Parakeva for asking the question. One more interesting tidbit--since October 2008, visitors from 57 different countries have stopped by! How neat is that?

I think stats can be fun! What about you?

Setting Thesaurus Entry: Pond

Sight

leaves floating on water, lilly pads, water lillies, frogs, tadpoles, thrush, reeds, long grass, reeds, mud, algae, rocks, pebbles, willows, clover, moss, swirling water, air bubbles drifting up, water striders, snakes, weeds, wild flowers (dandelions, daisies, wild strawberries, clover blooms, bluebells, etc), deer drinking, rabbits, squirrels, beetles, dragonflies, butterflies, mosquitoes, spiders, turtles, toads, bullfrogs, broken branches, waterlogged sticks floating at the edges, minnows, birds, grasshoppers, leeches, snails, flies, ducks, geese, swans, bees, petals floating on the water

Sounds

splashing, air bubbles popping, wings flapping birds trilling, frogs croaking, small animals in the underbrush, a doe lapping up water, squawking birds, the buzz and hum of insects, wind rustling the leaves of the nearby trees, crickets/grasshoppers rubbing their legs together, the shushing whisper of grass blades

Smells

algae/stagnant water, grass, wildflowers, wild mint, sweet clover, pine & spruce trees, wet earth, sunshine, decaying leaves, water slime

Tastes

The dewy sweetness of a grass stalk shoot plucked from the ground, seasonal berries (Saskatoon's, strawberries, gooseberries, wild raspberries, blackberries), accidentally eating a bug while talking, rose hips

Touch

Cold water slipping over skin, mud squishing between toes, warn sun on the skin, soft grass or moss against the back, insects landing or crawling across skin, the bite of an insect, the slimy feel in the hand from a caught frog or tadpole, scratching in the mud with a twig, pulling up grass and ripping it apart, de-petalling a flower and tossing the silky petals into the water, tossing smooth or muddy rocks in the water, pulling a leech off the skin, clothes that stick to you as you pull them onto your wet body, blowing on a dandelion seed head, water seeping into boots, picking flowers, berry juice sticking to fingers and lips, placing a hand on a hot rock baking in the sun, sunburn, bug bites, grit under nails, washing mud off hands in the water, walking barefoot along a grassy bank

Helpful hints:


--The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.

Example 1:

Flinn and I sit on the lush bank, our poles dripping lines into the motionless water. The head of a bullfrog lifts briefly near a patch of duckweed, eying us curiously before dropping back down into the murk. Neither Flinn or I know if this pond has fish, but we do know that hidden here among the tall cedars and rustling poplar trees, dad and his list of dusty, grimy farm chores can't reach us.

Example 2:

I flop next to Maya on the bank, my dripping body nourishing the grass and nodding bluebells. She begins to hum--a soft, smooth tune that mingles with the flutter of dragonfly wings and droning bees. A smile on my lips, I close my eyes and let the rolling lullaby sing me to sleep as the sun pulls the cool from my skin.

--Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.

Example 1: (Simile)

My fingers skim the surface like water striders, creating ripples that carry my touch across the water.

Example 2: (Metaphor)

A breeze winnowed along the water's edge through trees and reeds and silky grass, filling the air with an exotic language of rustles, ticks and creaks.

CTS Entry: Rectangle


Natural:

No true rectangles in nature

Man-made:

Brick
Magazines
Rooms of a house
Windows
Curtains
Books
Computer/TV monitors
Filing cabinets
TV trays
Paper
Postcards
Mattresses
Bathroom mirrors
Rugs
Towels
blankets
Sheets
Posters
Lumber
Wall plates for light switches
Doors
Envelopes
Shingles
iPod
Watch faces
Grandfather clocks
Dominoes
Walls
Billboards
Desks
Business cards
Paper money
Lighters
Sheet of paper
Erasers
Pack of gum
Granola bars
Chocolate bars
Cel phones
Keyboards
Calendars
Stick of gum
Flags
Satchels
Laptops
Truck box/bed
Garage pads
Football field
Soccer field
Bread loaf
Coffin
Cemetery plot
Headstone
Parking stalls

Synonyms: quadrangle, quadrilateral, oblong, four-sided figure

Describing a shape is best done in as few words as possible. Think of the shape as a camera snap shot--you want to capture the gist of what you mean as soon as possible so you can get on with other related (and more important) detail, and the action happening in the scene

A weak example:

I held my hands apart the span of a loaf of bread. "I'm telling you, Muriel--the rat I seen musta been this big!"

What's wrong with this example?

This example uses a rectangular object to indicate a size, not a shape.

A stronger example:

I flopped onto the mattress of my motel room, quickly discovering the thing was as comfortable as a truck bed filled with gravel.

Why does this work?

This shows us the shape in two places: the mattress itself and a truck bed of gravel, both familiar objects that don't require lots of explaining.

Winning is So Awesome

I tell you, there's nothing better than coming home from a long-overdue workout to find out something great has happened. There I was, chugging water and doing some quick moderation stuff over at The Critique Circle when I got a friendly ping from Tabitha Olson to stop by her blog. And guess what?

I won this:



I know, SO COOL, right? I've been looking forward to this book ever since reading C.K.Kelly Martin's I Know It's Over, which is a beautifully told story told from the Male's point of view, dealing with the raw emotions of a relationship ending, even when you don't want it to. One Lonely Degree promises to be just as compelling as Kelly's debut novel, so I'm very excited to get it in my hot little hands.

Tabitha at Writer Musings is randomly drawing books every month at her blog, and for the month of June, she's handing out four books. The contest will start Saturday, June 6th, when she will unveil the titles, so make sure you get in on it!

What's the coolest thing you've ever won?

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