Monday, January 20, 2014

Drip, Plunk, Splash!

At the risk of seeming like a comic book where zing and thwap blaze the page, let's investigate some enriching sounds:

Water: plunk, drip, splash, ocean waves, pattering raindrops, plop, trickle, gurgle

Laughter: guffaw, snicker, titter, giggle, chuckle, cackle

Metal: creak, groan, squeak, moan, chink, clink, clatter, jingle

Impact: thud, thwack, whack, pow, crack, wham, bam, flop, tap

Animals: growl, hiss, squeal, squeak, cheep, tweet, bark, roar, wail, scream, chatter, purr

Wind or air: puff, whiff, whistle, whine, blast, roar

Let's try this:

A gentle wind played with the long narrow ends of the sun hungry leaves. As I turned my attention to the sky a dozen geese honked their message: Winter is coming! Prepare your houses, or better yet, follow us! And to these noble creatures I write: I wish I could follow you, see where you're going, and return to light in the nearest pool of water when the warm rays of light lengthen again in the time of life's renewal. To you I salute. You remind me of the romance of a hundred places I've never been.

The fence creaked heavily under winter's breath, so soon to arrive like a greedy child eager to have his due before the promised time. A goat nibbled the edges of dried hay and sticks, unperturbed by the chill that hung in the air and the smoke that arose silently from the neighbor's chimney.


Sometimes the biggest sound, after all, is silence.

Write on.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Wise Sayings Jump Start

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

 A stitch in time saves nine.

 Don't let the cat out of the bag.

 Don't open a can of worms.

 He who rides a tiger can never dismount.

 Don't swap horses in the middle of the stream.

 Blood is thicker than water.

 Let a sleeping dog lie.

 If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

 Ain't never been a horse than ain't never been rode, and ain't never been a rider that ain't been throwed. (While we question the grammar, the idea has its merits.)

Take a saying, any saying. Look at it carefully. Got it? Okay, now use it to launch a new story thought, either on an existing story that's stuck in the mud or in a brand new one just waiting for your unique perspective!

Here are some more:

People who live in glass houses don't throw stones.

It wasn't raining when Noah built the ark.

A cat may look at a queen.

No copyrights here. Write on! (And on, and on, and on...)

Monday, January 6, 2014

Add a Comic Relief

Most people like to laugh. If you can incorporate laughter into your novel or short story you have just given your readers a mental, emotional, and even physical health boost. Isn't that what it's all about? Giving? Oh, of course you want to make money at your craft, and rightly so. But none of us (hopefully) is such a Scrooge (don't worry he's public domain) as to put money completely above doing a benefit to those who support us.

Some characters lend themselves to making readers laugh. Some straight laced characters end up making us laugh because of the things that happen to them. Let's try a practice.

"The bumblebee flew quickly and landed on Anabella's hat. Not only this, but it did so just at the time she was reaching up to adjust her newest pink feather. Knowing her fear of bees, and knowing that sooner or later it would fly away of its own accord, Robert thought of a plan.

'Anabella, dear, why don't we feed the birds?'

He took her by the hand, hoping that as she walked the jostling movement would gently induce the bee to take flight, but unfortunately it was resolutely perched, nibbling on the edge of a dried flower that graced her upper bonnet."

Okay, so this is not laugh-out-loud funny, but it's a place from which to start. All kinds of things are possible in this situation. Will Anabella be stung? Will Robert succeed in dislodging the bee? How will he keep her in the dark about its presence and its whereabouts?

Play with it, my dear writer. You can do it. Write on!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Eliminate a Character

When plots and subplots can't seem to match up, it may be you need to eliminate a character. By this I do not necessarily mean the character will die in the story, although that is certainly a possibility. No, rather, have your extra or unnecessary character go on an extended vacation, or have him or her tangle with a problem that takes him or her miles from where the rest of the story starts to happen. Or, you can simply rewrite it without him or her and see if it makes a difference. Having more characters than we really need means that each of those characters needs to be fleshed out and attended so as not to appear hollow. Or unneeded.

Write on!