Thursday, March 7, 2013

Those Pesky Details

I am always trying to add depth to my manuscripts and sometimes I think I forget to use certain effects in the pursuit of making sure that my characters are well rounded, they have character arcs, the plot is engaging, etc. I have lists to remind me of the things I tend to forget about or find important to make sure I have addressed certain issues.

I came across this blog post through a link on Twitter the other week and realized I don't use color nearly enough. I mean I really don't touch on it that often. I'm just glad I came across the post when I did, because otherwise I would be doing another round of edits looking for my five senses. I took the post to heart and ran out to my local hardware store where I snagged tons of paint chips.

At the same time that I realized I don't add enough color into my writing, I also noted I don't touch on a lot of the five senses regularly enough in my manuscript. Part of this realization came from reading Sever by Lauren DeStefano. Her descriptions are so beautiful. She really does a good job of using the senses to describe what her main character, Rhine, is feeling, seeing, hearing, smelling, and tasting. I need more of this.

But what do you do when you find yourself at a loss for words that provide you with exactly what you're thinking about? Aha! You run right over to The Bookshelf Muse blog! Do it. If you haven't heard of Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi you are missing out on a wonderful addition to your writing. I have been following their blog for a while now and purchased their book The Emotion Thesaurus for my Kindle. I have found, though, that I would much rather have it in hard copy form to flip through as I edit, so I purchased it again as a paperback. 

Anyhow, they not only deal with emotions, but they also have entries on their blog about everything else. Just scroll down their blog and look at the right side of the screen to find what you are looking to describe for a link. I'm eagerly awaiting news on if they will publish any other of thesaurus books. Seriously I would purchase any other books they do based on their blog. Such a helpful tool to have at your fingertips.

I did a run through of the chapters I had edited prior to reading the blog post and checked them for everything from colors (using my new paint chips) and weather or shapes (using The Bookshelf Muse blog).

Now to add all of these things to my currently insane list of what to look for when editing. lol

How do you deal with adding these details in your manuscripts? 

6 comments:

  1. Paint chips are a great idea! I keep reminding myself to throw in all senses when I write, tasting or smelling whenever possible. I've never tried anything with shapes though. That could be interesting :)

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    1. Yeah, I have to remind myself all the time to add in the senses as I edit. I don't think much about them when I draft, at all. :-)

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  2. I LOVE using the emotion thesaurus when editing! Such a great resource when I find I'm being to repetitive. And I love this paint chip idea!

    For colors I actually made myself a "rainbow spreadsheet" in Excel, so that I wouldn't always use the same words to describe colors. Or, if I wanted to evoke the sense of a color, I'd have a thing or emotion to give the setting the feel of the color without actually stating it flat-out.

    However, I do think there's power in simplicity. Sometimes the most straightforward way of describing things can evoke the strongest emotional reaction.

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    1. Oh my goodness! I love the idea of your spreadsheet. I'm a spreadsheet kind of person. That's so great! And you're right, simplicity is sometimes the best route. :-)

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  3. Great observation about color! And how a character describes color says so much about that character. Is it red or is it scarlet or crimson. Totally different character. I love sensory description in all ills, and agree that 3D writing is critical to an immersive experience. But you actually do description very well already! :)

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    1. I completely agree. How characters describe things helps define them. And thank you so very much! :-)

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