Author Topic: 4 Ways to Turn a Notebook Into a Powerful Writing Tool  (Read 31173 times)  

Offline GrandmaBirdie

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4 Ways to Turn a Notebook Into a Powerful Writing Tool
« on: December 05, 2016, 10:10:50 am »
PDF Index of GrandmaBirdie's Lists
I remove the oldest lists from this post as I add new ones. If you want a complete index, you'll find it in the PDF archive.

4 Ways to Turn a Notebook Into a Powerful Writing Tool
Lori Wade explains how writers can turn a paper notebook into a powerful writing assistant.

Grammar Goofs to Avoid at the Office: Part Two
Five more grammar blunders that might raise eyebrows at the office or alienate smart readers.

Grammar Goofs to Avoid at the Office: Part One
This is the first in a series of posts about grammar goofs that might irritate people in your office or alienate savvy readers.

How to Create a Title for Your Book
A title might not seem important when starting a WIP, but once a book nears completion, a definitive title becomes increasingly important.

700+ Ways to Describe Villains
Alfred Hitchcock said, "The more successful the villain, the more successful the picture." Try these ways to create word pictures with believable villains.

Tips to Stack the Odds When Submitting to Literary Journals
An excellent way for writers to build a portfolio is to be published in literary journals. This post provides a few tips for improving the acceptance odds.

200+ Ways to Say "Excited"
Writers want readers to be excited by their words. This post will help wordcrafters create excitement without overuse of "excited" or "excitement."

150+ Ways to Say "Disappointed"
If you're disappointed by the number of times you've found "disappointed" in your WIP, these alternatives might rescue you.

150+ Ways to Say "Overwhelmed"
Book characters should experience emotional overwhelm when the story calls for it. Here are a few tools to overwhelm them without undue repetition.

150+ Ways to Say "Confused"
Confused about how to mitigate the overuse of "confused" in your writing? Relax. That confusion means you recognize the problem.

300+ Ways to Say "Love"
Some people toss the word "love" around like confetti. This post provides ways to show how characters feel without overusing "love."

200+ Ways to Say "Embarrassed"
People show embarrassment in many ways. Some are visible, and others aren't. This post provides the tools to embarrass characters as often as you wish.

300+ Ways to Say "Happy"
Rather than say a character is happy, writers can show the happiness or provide context that explains the reason for it.

500+ Ways to Replace the Verb "Make"
"Make" often invades writing, unnoticed until a WIP is read out loud. No wonder it's a nemesis for so many writers. Try these replacements.

350+ Ways to Replace the Verb "Take"
"Take" appears so often you might want to take a whip to the next writer who takes liberties with it. Take a look at these alternatives.

200+ Alternatives for Wide Eyes
Whether characters widen their eyes or exhibit wide-eyed gazes, those actions soon bore readers. Try these alternatives.

1200+ Ways to Describe the Sun Part 2
In the second part of this post you'll find sun verbs, nouns, props, cliches, and idioms.

1200+ Ways to Describe the Sun Part 1
Does your WIP include the sun? Find sun adjectives, similes, metaphors, colors, and shapes in the first of two posts.

Writing Rules: When Can You Break Them? (Rules 23-26)
This is the sixth in a series of articles about so-called writing rules. When is it acceptable to break them?

1000+ Ways to Describe Snow Part 2
How to add the magic -- or menace -- of snow to writing. This the second of two posts about ways to incorporate snow in creative writing.

1000+ Ways to Describe Snow Part 1
Snow can add intrigue or ambience to a WIP. This the first of two posts about ways to incorporate snow in creative writing.

Writing Rules: When Can You Break Them? (Rules 19-22)
This is the fifth in a series of articles about so-called writing rules. When is it acceptable to break them?

Writing Rules: When Can You Break Them? (Rules 15-18)
This is the fourth in a series of articles about so-called writing rules. When is it acceptable to break them?

Writing Rules: When Can You Break Them? (Rules 11-14)
This is the third in a series of articles about so-called writing rules. When is it acceptable to break them?

Writing Rules: When Can You Break Them? (Rules 7-10)
This is the second in a series of articles about so-called writing rules. When is it acceptable to break them?

Writing Rules: When Can You Break Them? (Rules 1-6)
This is the first in a series of articles about so-called writing rules. When is it acceptable to break them?

1300+ Ways to Describe Fingers
Fingers perform complex tasks, soothe fevered brows, and wipe away tears. Discover ways to describe them in Part 1 of this post.

700+ Ways to Describe Eyebrows
Eyebrows, forehead fuzz, eye coifs ... No matter what writers call them, eyebrows can enhance descriptions, show emotion, or add humor.

600+ Ways to Describe Chests
Whether you need literal or figurative ways to describe chests, you'll find helpful resources in this post.

600+ Ways to Describe Toes
What if a barefoot character has missing toes? Or her toe ring traps her foot in a crevice near the beach? Story prompts?

600+ Ways to Describe Knees
Whether you're looking for literal or figurative ways to depict knees in narrative, you'll find more than 600 options here.

400+ Ways to Describe Knuckles
Do you crack your knuckles while waiting for inspiration? This post will help you knuckle down and get creative--with knuckles.

500+ Ways to Describe Elbows
People tend to overlook elbows. However, judicious inclusion of this oft-ignored body part in your WIP adds depth to characters.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2020, 08:52:15 am by GrandmaBirdie »

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    Offline EmmaS

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    Re: Over 400 Words to Describe Hands
    « Reply #1 on: December 05, 2016, 11:49:42 am »
    That was oddly fun to read! Just a few of those words were able to conjure images and ideas for my WIP. Thanks. :D

    Offline GrandmaBirdie

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    Re: Over 400 Words to Describe Hands
    « Reply #2 on: December 05, 2016, 12:17:15 pm »
    That was oddly fun to read! Just a few of those words were able to conjure images and ideas for my WIP. Thanks. :D

     :D I'm glad you found it useful, Emma. Any other words or concepts you'd like me to research?

    Offline EmmaS

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    Re: Over 400 Words to Describe Hands
    « Reply #3 on: December 05, 2016, 02:58:35 pm »
    Alternatives to nodding. My characters love to nod, and I would love for them to STOP. ;D There are so many other ways to convey that someone is listening or paying attention or agrees, but I go blank when I'm writing/editing sometimes.

    Offline Nancy_G

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    Nancy

    Offline GrandmaBirdie

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    Re: Over 400 Words to Describe Hands
    « Reply #5 on: December 05, 2016, 08:20:35 pm »
    Alternatives to nodding. My characters love to nod, and I would love for them to STOP. ;D There are so many other ways to convey that someone is listening or paying attention or agrees, but I go blank when I'm writing/editing sometimes.

    Your wish is my command, Emma.

    Other Ways to Say "Nodded"
    « Last Edit: December 17, 2016, 02:16:46 pm by GrandmaBirdie »

    Offline GrandmaBirdie

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    Do you undervalue texture in your writing?
    « Reply #6 on: December 12, 2016, 05:52:26 am »
    Warning! Writing prompts ahead.

    Visuals are often a writer's first consideration. We might describe dimensions, shape, and color. Sound could come next, followed by scent. We might assign taste attributes to food, teardrops, and lipstick.

    Sadly, many writers undervalue texture.

    Over 400 Adjectives to Describe Texture

    Offline Anna Drake

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    Re: Do you undervalue texture in your writing?
    « Reply #7 on: December 12, 2016, 08:43:44 am »
    Thank you very much. These are excellent tips.


    Anna Drake | Website | Twitter | Amazon | Facebook

    Offline Word Fan

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    Re: Do you undervalue texture in your writing?
    « Reply #8 on: December 12, 2016, 09:39:01 am »
    When I was practice writing in kindergarten we dealt with texture. We had texture in our writing paper. It was that lined yellow paper with little wood chips in it.

    (Sorry. I couldn't resist.  :-[  True story, though.)

    Offline FFJ

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    Re: Do you undervalue texture in your writing?
    « Reply #9 on: December 12, 2016, 01:10:57 pm »
    Thanks Kathy! I'm a fan of your helpful posts and visit your blog whenever I get the chance!

    Continued success.

    Offline GrandmaBirdie

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    Re: Do you undervalue texture in your writing?
    « Reply #10 on: December 12, 2016, 01:49:18 pm »
    Thanks Kathy! I'm a fan of your helpful posts and visit your blog whenever I get the chance!

    Continued success.

    Thank you very much. These are excellent tips.

    Thanks! Please let me know if you have a word wishlist, and I'll add your suggestions to my to-do file.

    Offline Anna Drake

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    Re: Do you undervalue texture in your writing?
    « Reply #11 on: December 12, 2016, 02:03:45 pm »
    Thanks Kathy! I'm a fan of your helpful posts and visit your blog whenever I get the chance!

    I agree. I will be visiting the blog again, and while there earlier today, I signed up to be notified of new posts. Thanks again, Kathy. Good stuff.


    Anna Drake | Website | Twitter | Amazon | Facebook

    Offline Christopher Bunn

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    Re: Do you undervalue texture in your writing?
    « Reply #12 on: December 14, 2016, 09:30:24 am »
    This topic reminds me of an experiment we did in school. I think it was around Halloween time. The teacher had closed boxes filled with different substances. The boxes had a small hole in them that allowed us to put our hands in but not see what was inside. We had to guess the contents by what we felt.

    Pretty interesting. Very easy to be wrong.

    Christopher Bunn | Scribbles & Tunes | Newsletter

    Offline Ethan Jones

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    Re: Over 400 Words to Describe Hands
    « Reply #13 on: December 17, 2016, 02:12:32 pm »
    Wonderful lists, thanks for sharing.
    Blessings,
    E

    Offline GrandmaBirdie

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    Re: Over 400 Words to Describe Hands
    « Reply #14 on: December 17, 2016, 02:17:48 pm »
    Wonderful lists, thanks for sharing.
    Blessings,
    E

    My pleasure, Ethan. Nice to meet another fellow Canuck here.

    Offline Carol (was Dara)

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    Re: Over 400 Words to Describe Hands
    « Reply #15 on: December 17, 2016, 02:24:31 pm »
    I could always use some new ways to scowl.  ;D

    Offline GrandmaBirdie

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    Re: Over 400 Words to Describe Hands
    « Reply #16 on: December 17, 2016, 02:32:10 pm »
    I could always use some new ways to scowl.  ;D

    You're the second KBoarder who has asked. Guess it will have to move to the top of my priority list.

    Offline GrandmaBirdie

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    Re: Over 400 Words to Describe Hands
    « Reply #17 on: January 02, 2017, 06:22:08 am »
    I could always use some new ways to scowl.  ;D

    Hi, Carol. Happy New Year!

    Today's post is Over 200 Ways to Say "Frown" or "Scowl."

    Offline GrandmaBirdie

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    No! Another frown. And a scowl. What else can I use?
    « Reply #18 on: January 02, 2017, 06:27:05 am »
    How often do your characters frown or scowl? Are you looking for alternatives?

    Over 200 Ways to Say "Frown" or "Scowl."

    Offline Mark E. Cooper

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    Re: No! Another frown. And a scowl. What else can I use?
    « Reply #19 on: January 02, 2017, 06:29:29 am »
    How often do your characters frown or scowl? Are you looking for alternatives?

    Over 200 Ways to Say "Frown" or "Scowl."

    Smile
    laugh
    cry
    smirk
    grimace
    grin
    yawn
    quirk eyebrow
    bite lip
    wink
    roll eyes


    http://www.dailywritingtips.com/100-words-for-facial-expressions/

    Offline KelliWolfe

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    Offline Sean Sweeney

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    Re: No! Another frown. And a scowl. What else can I use?
    « Reply #21 on: January 02, 2017, 06:51:22 am »
    Grimace, the corners of her/his mouth tumbled.....
    Sean Sweeney, formerly John Fitch V -- author of 28 novels and counting.

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    Offline The Bass Bagwhan

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    Re: No! Another frown. And a scowl. What else can I use?
    « Reply #22 on: January 02, 2017, 05:00:12 pm »
    Grimace, the corners of her/his mouth tumbled.....

    Sorry, no offense to you Sean, but this is one of my pet hates when someone's lips "curl up at the corner" or their "brow furrowed". A simple "smiled" or "frowned" is all that's needed.
    As for the OP, if you're referencing characters' facial expressions so often that you're now struggling for alternatives, you're using that device far too much. And your dialogue should be portraying that emotion anyway.
    As an editor I see authors constantly, repetitively, describing frowning, smiling, nodding and shrugging.
    Try saving your MS as a nonsense file that you can fiddle with, then do a Find and Replace with something like Find "smile" and Replace with "smole". The process will display how many times the edit is applied. It's a way of discovering how often you're using any word or phrase and you'll probably get a nasty fright.
    Good luck with it.
    Author, freelance writer and editor, professional musician, recording engineer... published in Australia, the UK and Germany. So why am I poor? Oh, wait...
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    Offline amdonehere

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    Re: No! Another frown. And a scowl. What else can I use?
    « Reply #23 on: January 02, 2017, 06:18:19 pm »
    [quote author=Graeme Hague link=topic=245971.msg3426336#.
    As for the OP, if you're referencing characters' facial expressions so often that you're now struggling for alternatives, you're using that device far too much. And your dialogue should be portraying that emotion anyway.
    [/quote]

    You made a very good point, but the challenge I find is the need to add beats to break up the dialogues so half the page doesn't read like a script. I've in fact intentionally observed people in conversations in real life. Interestingly, in real life people don't move or gesture that much when they're talking. If they're sitting in Starbucks talking they just talk for a long time and nothing much happens except their facial expressions (other than eating or drinking beverages). But in fiction we have to find things to break up the dialogues, so it's not all about portraying emotions.

    Offline kathrynoh

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    Re: No! Another frown. And a scowl. What else can I use?
    « Reply #24 on: January 02, 2017, 07:16:55 pm »
    It depends a lot on the weight of the emotion. If it's just to break up dialogue (and coffee shop scenes in particular are hard I find), then just a frown or a smile. If the emotion has more importance then it needs something more than just a frown. What are they doing with their hands and the rest of their bodies?

    Tbh, I use people shredding up paper napkins way too much in cafe scenes :) I think because it's a personal habit.

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