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Authors' Forum => Writers' Cafe => Topic started by: GrandmaBirdie on December 05, 2016, 10:10:50 am

Title: 200+ Ways to Replace "Hate"
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on December 05, 2016, 10:10:50 am
PDF Index of GrandmaBirdie's Lists (https://kathysteinemann.com/archive.pdf)
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 (https://kathysteinemann.com/archive.pdf).

200+ Ways to Replace "Hate" (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/hate/)
Hate can range from dislike to loathing. If you've discovered too many occurrences of "hate" in your WIP, check these ways to replace them.

60+ Ways to Replace "That" (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/that/)
If "that" is a word that plagues your WIP, I'm here to tell you that there are methods that you can use to cure that plague.

60+ Ways to Replace the Adverb "Just" (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/just/)
Are you just astounded by the number of repetitions of the adverb just in your WIP? Just try these alternatives.

4 Ways to Turn a Notebook Into a Powerful Writing Tool (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/notebook/)
Lori Wade explains how writers can turn a paper notebook into a powerful writing assistant.

Grammar Goofs to Avoid at the Office: Part Two (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/grammar-goofs02/)
Five more grammar blunders that might raise eyebrows at the office or alienate smart readers.

Grammar Goofs to Avoid at the Office: Part One (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/grammar-goofs01/)
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 (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/book-title/)
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 (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/villainous/)
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 (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/stack-the-odds/)
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" (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/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" (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/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" (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/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" (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/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" (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/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" (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/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" (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/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" (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/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" (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/350-ways-to-replace-the-verb-take-a-word-list-for-writers/)
"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 (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/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 (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/sun-pt2/)
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 (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/sun-pt1/)
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) (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/rules-who-cares-06/)
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 (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/snow-words-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 (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/snow-words-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) (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/rules-who-cares-05/)
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) (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/rules-who-cares-04/)
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) (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/rules-who-cares-03/)
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) (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/rules-who-cares-02/)
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) (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/rules-who-cares-01/)
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 (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/fingers01/)
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 (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/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 (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/chests/)
Whether you need literal or figurative ways to describe chests, you'll find helpful resources in this post.

600+ Ways to Describe Toes (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/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 (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/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 (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/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 (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/elbows/)
People tend to overlook elbows. However, judicious inclusion of this oft-ignored body part in your WIP adds depth to characters.
Title: Re: Over 400 Words to Describe Hands
Post by: EmmaS 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
Title: Re: Over 400 Words to Describe Hands
Post by: GrandmaBirdie 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?
Title: Re: Over 400 Words to Describe Hands
Post by: EmmaS 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.
Title: Re: Over 400 Words to Describe Hands
Post by: Nancy_G on December 05, 2016, 03:10:42 pm
This book is helpful with so many lists, hence the title, Master Lists for Writers, ha.

https://www.amazon.com/MASTER-LISTS-WRITERS-Thesauruses-Character-ebook/dp/B016U2K20O/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1480979288&sr=1-1&keywords=master+lists+for+writers

Title: Re: Over 400 Words to Describe Hands
Post by: GrandmaBirdie 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" (http://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/nodded/)
Title: Do you undervalue texture in your writing?
Post by: GrandmaBirdie 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 (http://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/texture/)
Title: Re: Do you undervalue texture in your writing?
Post by: Anna Drake on December 12, 2016, 08:43:44 am
Thank you very much. These are excellent tips.
Title: Re: Do you undervalue texture in your writing?
Post by: Word Fan 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.)
Title: Re: Do you undervalue texture in your writing?
Post by: FFJ 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.
Title: Re: Do you undervalue texture in your writing?
Post by: GrandmaBirdie 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.
Title: Re: Do you undervalue texture in your writing?
Post by: Anna Drake 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.
Title: Re: Do you undervalue texture in your writing?
Post by: Christopher Bunn 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.
Title: Re: Over 400 Words to Describe Hands
Post by: Ethan Jones on December 17, 2016, 02:12:32 pm
Wonderful lists, thanks for sharing.
Blessings,
E
Title: Re: Over 400 Words to Describe Hands
Post by: GrandmaBirdie 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.
Title: Re: Over 400 Words to Describe Hands
Post by: Carol (was Dara) on December 17, 2016, 02:24:31 pm
I could always use some new ways to scowl.  ;D
Title: Re: Over 400 Words to Describe Hands
Post by: GrandmaBirdie 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.
Title: Re: Over 400 Words to Describe Hands
Post by: GrandmaBirdie 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." (https://www.kboards.com/index.php?topic=242655)
Title: No! Another frown. And a scowl. What else can I use?
Post by: GrandmaBirdie 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." (https://www.kboards.com/index.php?topic=242655)
Title: Re: No! Another frown. And a scowl. What else can I use?
Post by: Mark E. Cooper 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." (https://www.kboards.com/index.php?topic=242655)

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


http://www.dailywritingtips.com/100-words-for-facial-expressions/
Title: Re: No! Another frown. And a scowl. What else can I use?
Post by: KelliWolfe on January 02, 2017, 06:47:24 am
The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Expression (https://www.amazon.com/Emotion-Thesaurus-Writers-Character-Expression/dp/1475004958/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8)
Title: Re: No! Another frown. And a scowl. What else can I use?
Post by: Sean Sweeney on January 02, 2017, 06:51:22 am
Grimace, the corners of her/his mouth tumbled.....
Title: Re: No! Another frown. And a scowl. What else can I use?
Post by: The Bass Bagwhan 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.
Title: Re: No! Another frown. And a scowl. What else can I use?
Post by: amdonehere 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.
Title: Re: No! Another frown. And a scowl. What else can I use?
Post by: kathrynoh 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.
Title: Re: No! Another frown. And a scowl. What else can I use?
Post by: Cherise on January 02, 2017, 07:33:15 pm
At a cafe -- where there isn't much of what actors call business, which means body movement -- the point-of-view character could make little observations about each character's tendencies, past, or tastes before they speak, in order to avoid the script look and keep this in novel territory.
Title: Re: No! Another frown. And a scowl. What else can I use?
Post by: Nancy_G on January 02, 2017, 09:50:31 pm
Yeah, I struggle with this as well, trying to find something different than smiled or grinned or shrugged. I try to avoid the talking heads syndrome and add action in something they're doing. Great thread!
Title: Re: No! Another frown. And a scowl. What else can I use?
Post by: Nancy_G on January 02, 2017, 10:02:36 pm
I've also found this little gem to inspire descriptions: https://www.descriptionari.com/quotes/blue-eyes/. You can add whatever you're trying to describe like brown hair, green eyes, legs, arms...whatever.
Title: Re: No! Another frown. And a scowl. What else can I use?
Post by: Nic on January 03, 2017, 06:41:51 am
As an editor I see authors constantly, repetitively, describing frowning, smiling, nodding and shrugging.

As a reader I have to say that I see too many books which are mainly heads talking, with nary an emotion or reaction displayed, and an excess of at least 50-60% dialogue. Dialogue is an important means of exposition in theatre and plays in general. Its usefulness in books is overestimated by many.
Title: Re: No! Another frown. And a scowl. What else can I use?
Post by: daveconifer on January 03, 2017, 06:56:08 am
Yeah, I think trite body language is definitely overdone.  I've read some books where every character is constantly doing these things, and it gets old.  Faces and heads are not like dashboards on a car that indicate emotions or reactions.

furrowing their brow (concerned)
mouth fell open (surprised)
biting or chewing lip (worried)  [sometimes they talk at the same time!  I always act that out when I come to it!]
lump in throat/it in stomach (upset)
shrugging (showing that they still exist or sometimes showing that something isn't important)
grinning (often to indicate approval or pleasure, but really, people don't grin every time they are satisfied or pleased.  It would really be creepy if everybody grinned as often as they do in some books.  That's another one I act out)
eyebrows raised or arched (surprise)

edit: I don't have a problem with scowling or frowning, but as somebody else said, if I was worried about finding a different word for it I might be concerned that there was too much of it.

Great question!  And I realize that I'm just some schmuck whose opinions are just that.
Title: Re: No! Another frown. And a scowl. What else can I use?
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on January 03, 2017, 07:52:07 am
It is my observation over a long number of years that interesting people include gestures, facial expressions, and body language in casual conversation. Boring people are deadpan and show little emotion or movement to accent or punctuate what they say.

For the OP, I like "glower."

Glower used once in a short story would work. More than that, and readers will notice it. Anything that takes a reader out, even for a microsecond, detracts from a piece.

If a character is aggravated, appropriate body language could include:

clenched jaw
crossed arms
pacing
tapping foot

The same character, if angry, might exhibit:

bared teeth
flared nostrils
stamping a foot
wide-legged stance

The post provides many such alternatives (http://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/frown-scowl/).
Title: Do You Overuse This Verb?
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on January 09, 2017, 06:21:55 am
To have, or not to have? That is today's question.

The importance of have can't be ignored. As an auxiliary verb combined with a past participle, have forms the perfect, pluperfect, and future perfect tenses, as well as the conditional mood. However, when used to express ownership, it can weaken writing.

Consider a woman in a black dress as she walks down the street. You could describe her in several ways:

She had a black dress.
She owned a black dress.
She paraded a black dress.
She wore a black dress.
She flaunted a black dress.
She modeled a black dress.


Over 100 Ways to Say "Have" (http://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/have/)


Edited to restore link. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca (https://www.kboards.com/index.php?action=pm;sa=send;u=59615)
Title: Re: Do You Overuse This Verb?
Post by: bardsandsages on January 09, 2017, 07:46:36 am
Not sure about your example. If I am describing what a person is wearing, I would say "she wore..." Not "she had..."

She had a black dress merely states possession. It is a bad sentence not because of the word had, but because it doesn't tell us anything out of context.

She wore a black dress is a neutral statement.

She modeled a black dress implying that she is showing the dress to someone else.

She paraded a black dress sounds silly. Is she a Mummer? Maybe she paraded around in the black dress would make sense, implying that she was showing off.

She flaunted a black dress also sounds silly. Is she taunting someone with the dress? "I bought it and you couldn't" sort of thing?

Don't just change a word because some blog tells you the word is overused. Use the RIGHT WORD at the RIGHT TIME. Every one of those examples has a completely different meaning. They are not interchangeable words for "had." I see this all the time as an editor. Writers using "cute" words to try to avoid overuse of a "bad word" when there is nothing wrong with the word they should have used. It is like those blog posts telling you to avoid the word "said" in dialogue.

Words have meaning. We shouldn't just grab a thesaurus and swap out words without making sure we are using the right word in the right context.
Title: Re: Do You Overuse This Verb?
Post by: The Bass Bagwhan on January 09, 2017, 07:51:19 am
"Her dress was black".
Don't over-complicate things. If you're ever referring to a list of "100 Alternatives" to a term such as "have" you need to reassess what you're trying to do.
And as I'm writing this Julie beat me to it!
Title: Re: Do You Overuse This Verb?
Post by: unkownwriter on January 09, 2017, 07:51:39 am
Well said, Julie.
Title: Re: Do You Overuse This Verb?
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on January 09, 2017, 08:04:56 am
Use the RIGHT WORD at the RIGHT TIME. Every one of those examples has a completely different meaning. They are not interchangeable words for "had."

Exactly. Had is weak. If the woman has lost twenty pounds and wants to show off her new figure, she might flaunt the dress. If the dress is new and she's looking for reactions, she might model it. The correct verb choice will enliven writing.
Title: Re: Do You Overuse This Verb?
Post by: GeneDoucette on January 09, 2017, 08:12:22 am
the dress had a woman inside of it
Title: Re: Do You Overuse This Verb?
Post by: Not any more on January 09, 2017, 09:26:03 am
the dress had a woman inside of it
but we were able to rescue her before the insatiable garment completed its meal
Title: Re: Do You Overuse This Verb?
Post by: daveconifer on January 09, 2017, 09:56:19 am
the dress had a woman inside of it

Post of the year!
Title: Re: Do You Overuse This Verb?
Post by: eroticatorium on January 09, 2017, 10:04:00 am
the dress had a woman inside of it

The female's corpus was located within the confines of a piece of fabric constructed according to cultural fashions and governmental regulations to qualify as a "nice dress" whose threads were dyed in order to absorb all light, generating a color that humans refer to as "black".
Title: Re: Do You Overuse This Verb?
Post by: AkariaGale on January 09, 2017, 02:50:47 pm
The female's corpus was located within the confines of a piece of fabric constructed according to cultural fashions and governmental regulations to qualify as a "nice dress" whose threads were dyed in order to absorb all light, generating a color that humans refer to as "black".

Lulz forever! You aiming that award they give to worst writing of the year?  :P
Title: Re: Do You Overuse This Verb?
Post by: Calvin Locke on January 09, 2017, 03:27:35 pm
To have, or not to have? That is today's question.

The importance of have can't be ignored. As an auxiliary verb combined with a past participle, have forms the perfect, pluperfect, and future perfect tenses, as well as the conditional mood. However, when used to express ownership, it can weaken writing.

Consider a woman in a black dress as she walks down the street. You could describe her in several ways:

She had a black dress.
She owned a black dress.
She paraded a black dress.
She wore a black dress.
She flaunted a black dress.
She modeled a black dress.




link removed -- promotion not allowed in the WC :) --Ann


I am not sure 'had' is weak here, as much as it is just not proper. Now, if you said, 'She had ON a black dress' it would be appropriate, and yes, a bit weak.
Title: Re: Do You Overuse This Verb?
Post by: The Bass Bagwhan on January 09, 2017, 04:33:23 pm
Don't get me started on dialogue tags... my pet hate is "She/he stated".
Title: Re: Do You Overuse This Verb?
Post by: daveconifer on January 09, 2017, 05:05:18 pm
She had a black dress -- in her hands.  "I can't believe it's okay to walk around this place naked," Graeme stated.  "What does she think this is?  A parade?"
Title: Re: Do You Overuse This Verb?
Post by: Flay Otters on January 09, 2017, 05:14:17 pm
So...many...rules.
"James while John had had had had had had had had had had had a better effect on the teacher."
I have had it with had.
Title: Re: Do You Overuse This Verb?
Post by: mdrake on January 09, 2017, 05:47:32 pm
Can we just not with the stupid rules threads?  ::)

Kboards is like an oasis in the sea of crappy forums dedicated to people arguing over adverbs and how many times "was" gets used in a novel.
Title: Re: Do You Overuse This Verb?
Post by: JRTomlin on January 09, 2017, 06:29:38 pm
The use of 'had' you might find in that sentence more realistically is 'She had a black dress on.' That is a sentence that works and if it's not an important point, you might go with it. I don't love it, but some things aren't worth working yourself to death over (unless you're James Joyce and know the 7 words you wrote today but not the order they should go in).
Title: Re: Do You Overuse This Verb?
Post by: Reveries on January 10, 2017, 01:48:59 am
A quote from Stephen King. “Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word. There are no exceptions to this rule.”
Title: Re: Do You Overuse This Verb?
Post by: unkownwriter on January 10, 2017, 04:53:58 am
Can we just not with the stupid rules threads?  ::)

Kboards is like an oasis in the sea of crappy forums dedicated to people arguing over adverbs and how many times "was" gets used in a novel.

I agree that this is indeed an oasis in the sea of craft wars. Except that these "rules" no one wants to bother with often save one from bad writing. And some are actually rules about grammar, which so, so many writers I've read lately really need to know. Spelling, grammar and punctuation have been standardized for a long time, and not knowing them is often excused as being "new", and also by people not wanting to spend the time to learn them.

Discussions about things like use of "said" need to be prefaced for newbies by a warning that only occasional use of other words should be considered. Those "5000 alternatives to X" are an abomination. And why are we even talking about such stuff any more? Any decent writing book covers the subject, and more, so aspiring writers should already know this. If they don't, there's no reason they can't learn.
Title: Re: Do You Overuse This Verb?
Post by: GeneDoucette on January 10, 2017, 05:05:09 am
A quote from Stephen King. “Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word. There are no exceptions to this rule.”

I love this
Title: Do your characters shrug too often?
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on January 16, 2017, 06:10:05 am
Why do your characters shrug?

Perhaps you use shrugs as action beats to differentiate between speakers in dialogue; or maybe you're on an early draft, and you write the first thing that comes to mind.

A shrug should be more than an action beat. People shrug for many reasons. If you can determine their motivation, you can substitute alternative body language.

Over 100 Ways to Say "Shrug." (http://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/shrug/)
Title: Re: Do your characters shrug too often?
Post by: alawston on January 16, 2017, 06:32:38 am
They do shrug too much in my first drafts. By the time I get to the editing stage, I think they've all dislocated their shoulders and have to do a lot less shrugging.
Title: Re: Do your characters shrug too often?
Post by: Evenstar on January 16, 2017, 06:37:55 am
If they're not shrugging, they are sighing

Sigh...

They also have to get pretty creative with "clean" expletives in shock moments. They can only say "Oh my goodness!" or "For Goodness sake!" so many times
Title: Re: Do your characters shrug too often?
Post by: Not any more on January 16, 2017, 06:39:32 am
They shrug, nod, shake their heads. I usually have a very animated crew. I still remember reading a book and the author threw in a line, "there was a lot of nodding going on", which in context was very humorous.
Title: Re: Do your characters shrug too often?
Post by: Not any more on January 16, 2017, 06:41:09 am
If they're not shrugging, they are sighing

Sigh...

They also have to get pretty creative with "clean" expletives in shock moments. They can only say "Oh my goodness!" or "For Goodness sake!" so many times
In real life, my partner's strongest expletive is "Goodness!" :)
Title: Re: Do your characters shrug too often?
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on January 16, 2017, 07:22:16 am
If they're not shrugging, they are sighing

Sigh...

They also have to get pretty creative with "clean" expletives in shock moments. They can only say "Oh my goodness!" or "For Goodness sake!" so many times

Check out:

Over 300 Ways to Say "Sigh" (http://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/sigh/)

250+ Ways to Curse in Creative Writing (http://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/cursing/)


 :)
Title: Re: Do your characters shrug too often?
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on January 16, 2017, 07:25:39 am
They shrug, nod, shake their heads. I usually have a very animated crew. I still remember reading a book and the author threw in a line, "there was a lot of nodding going on", which in context was very humorous.

Try Other Ways to Say "Nodded." (http://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/nodded/)

 ;)
Title: Re: Do your characters shrug too often?
Post by: Christopher Bunn on January 16, 2017, 11:54:51 am
Shrug is one of those words that starts blurring in definition if you say it out loud a whole bunch of times. Shrug shrug shrug. It becomes some weird combination of shrub, drug, bug, slug, whatever. Or maybe it's just me.
Title: Re: Do your characters shrug too often?
Post by: S.L. on January 16, 2017, 11:57:25 am
*shrugs*
Title: Re: Do your characters shrug too often?
Post by: SC on January 16, 2017, 12:18:06 pm
They also have to get pretty creative with "clean" expletives in shock moments. They can only say "Oh my goodness!" or "For Goodness sake!" so many times

I like to say "blast" or "blast it". I picked it up from a quirky girl in high school. I also use "dang" and "dang it" a lot. I also use "oh my goodness". The benefit of using "clean" expletives is that you never have to watch your language around anyone.

What grates on me is when authors seem to think there's absolutely nothing between the kind of words that get movies an R rating and words like "fudge" and "poopy". Their characters either talk like sailors or preschoolers, no middle ground. If you're going to have your character's use swears and expletives, it's good to know a wide range of them.
Title: Re: Do your characters shrug too often?
Post by: FelissaEly on January 16, 2017, 01:47:34 pm
Try Other Ways to Say "Nodded." (http://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/nodded/)

 ;)

I love this, I'm sharing with my husband - his characters nod so much I feel like their heads are gonna fall off... lol ;)
Title: Re: Do your characters shrug too often?
Post by: Andrew Christie on January 16, 2017, 01:54:57 pm
shrugging, nodding, sighing, looking into the distance - guilty
Title: Re: Do your characters shrug too often?
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on January 16, 2017, 01:58:53 pm
I love this, I'm sharing with my husband - his characters nod so much I feel like their heads are gonna fall off... lol ;)

Heh heh. The old bobble-head characters, right?

I use Hermetic Word Frequency Counter to check my work and find my overused words/phrases. I'm always amazed at what I find.
Title: Re: Do your characters shrug too often?
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on January 16, 2017, 02:00:39 pm
shrugging, nodding, sighing, looking into the distance - guilty

I've created word lists for everything except looking into the distance. As soon as I finish this reply, I'll add it to my to-do file.
Title: Re: Do your characters shrug too often?
Post by: kemobullock on January 16, 2017, 02:04:38 pm
Oh yes. My characters do it all and frequently. Every time I type the word "look" or "looked" I die a little. As far as swearing goes, I'm a fan of "Geesh," and "Good Lord."
Title: Re: Do your characters shrug too often?
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on January 16, 2017, 03:14:12 pm
Oh yes. My characters do it all and frequently. Every time I type the word "look" or "looked" I die a little. As far as swearing goes, I'm a fan of "Geesh," and "Good Lord."

I've done look, but not looked into the distance.

125 Ways to Say "Look" (http://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/125-ways-to-say-look/)
Title: Re: Do your characters shrug too often?
Post by: Evenstar on January 16, 2017, 03:21:14 pm
This thread is golden, I'm bookmarking it. Do you have one for "smiled"?

"Yes," he smiled.
"No", she grinned back at him.
His mouth quirked wider.

That's about where I run out.....
Title: Re: Do your characters shrug too often?
Post by: FFJ on January 16, 2017, 03:40:27 pm
Thanks Kathy! I'm forever a fan!
Title: Re: Do your characters shrug too often?
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on January 16, 2017, 03:59:10 pm
This thread is golden, I'm bookmarking it. Do you have one for "smiled"?

"Yes," he smiled.
"No", she grinned back at him.
His mouth quirked wider.

That's about where I run out.....

Sure do!

99 Ways to Say "Laughed" or "Smiled" (http://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/ways-to-say-laughed/)
Title: Re: Do your characters shrug too often?
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on January 16, 2017, 04:00:29 pm
Thanks Kathy! I'm forever a fan!

Thanks, merci beaucoup, and danke.
Title: Re: Do your characters shrug too often?
Post by: Flay Otters on January 16, 2017, 05:31:55 pm
Sometimes I think my characters eyes are going to roll out the door and down the front steps.
Title: Re: Do your characters shrug too often?
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on January 16, 2017, 06:07:02 pm
Sometimes I think my characters eyes are going to roll out the door and down the front steps.

There's a cure for that.  8)

Other Ways to Say "Roll the Eyes" (http://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/roll-the-eyes/)
Title: Re: Do your characters shrug too often?
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on January 16, 2017, 06:20:25 pm
One of my characters raises his eye-brow often. I couldn't stop him doing it, so I made it part of his character and had the other characters give him crap about it.

Great idea. Take the eyebrows and make brow-lemonade out of them.
Title: Re: Do your characters shrug too often?
Post by: Lora_Richardson on January 16, 2017, 06:48:25 pm
Yes, in my first drafts my characters are doing way too much sighing, nodding, smiling, grinning, and looking away.  I love these lists for alternatives!  Thanks.
Title: Re: Do your characters shrug too often?
Post by: Evenstar on January 17, 2017, 01:58:10 am
Super helpful, thanks.

I downloaded a copy of Nag, nag, nag, it looks very amusing  ;D
Title: Re: Do your characters shrug too often?
Post by: Laran Mithras on January 17, 2017, 05:07:50 am
Mine was "leaning."

Leaned against the wall, leaned his head closer, leaned over the desk, leaned to look around...

 ::)

Sometimes my mind sees a scene and I type it instead of just concentrating on mood and dialog.
Title: Re: Do your characters shrug too often?
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on January 17, 2017, 05:51:30 am
Super helpful, thanks.

I downloaded a copy of Nag, nag, nag, it looks very amusing  ;D

Thanks, Evenstar. I made it perma-free. Megan and Emmett will return soon.
Title: Re: Do your characters shrug too often?
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on January 17, 2017, 05:54:34 am
Mine was "leaning."

Leaned against the wall, leaned his head closer, leaned over the desk, leaned to look around...

 ::)

Sometimes my mind sees a scene and I type it instead of just concentrating on mood and dialog.

 ;D You're doing it write. The first draft is for spewing ideas.

My personal nemesis is that. I always run a search during the editing phase to remove as many occurrences as possible.
Title: Re: Do your characters shrug too often?
Post by: wingsandwords on January 17, 2017, 05:56:03 am
These lists are golden! I've bookmarked them so I can use them when going through my first edit--it's easy to say 'shrug' 'look' or smile' when you're just trying to get the words down, I wouldn't want to break the flow by going to look up alternatives for one word, but what a great resource to have on hand when you're fleshing out. I'm sure after one or two edits like this it'll start to become second nature in the initial writing phase as well.
Title: Re: Do your characters shrug too often?
Post by: Simp on January 17, 2017, 05:57:29 am
My characters nod.  I've been working them through some other gestures, but their heads still bob up and down like a buoy.

Also, thanks for the lists.  I've got them all bookmarked.

I like to say "blast" or "blast it". I picked it up from a quirky girl in high school. I also use "dang" and "dang it" a lot. I also use "oh my goodness". The benefit of using "clean" expletives is that you never have to watch your language around anyone.


I still say Sugar Plum Faries on occasion.  I love the "sh" word, but tried to curb my sailor mouth when my son was young.  I would catch myself mid-curse and the flip the switch to Shhhhh-ugar Plum Faries.   My husband still cracks up when I shout it out.
Title: Re: Do your characters shrug too often?
Post by: plumstead on January 17, 2017, 06:39:38 am
I have a character who hesitates and pauses before speaking. Trying to replace those with the likes of "he rubbed the back of his neck" and "he pursed his lips".

My favourite non-swear swear is "for Pete's sake!" or "oh, for the love of Pete!" It got a bit awkward when my 3-year-old met my husband's friend, Pete. "Mom, do you love Daddy as much as you love Pete?"  :o
Title: Re: Do your characters shrug too often?
Post by: Sapphire on January 17, 2017, 07:20:40 am
GrandmaBirdie, thank you. This is one of the best threads I've come across on WC in weeks! I have bookmarked for my own use printed out several of the lists to share with my critique group. We had a discussion on this topic only a few days ago.
Title: Re: Do your characters shrug too often?
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on January 17, 2017, 07:46:26 am
My favourite non-swear swear is "for Pete's sake!" or "oh, for the love of Pete!" It got a bit awkward when my 3-year-old met my husband's friend, Pete. "Mom, do you love Daddy as much as you love Pete?"  :o

That's priceless. I hope you use it in one of your books.
Title: Re: Do your characters shrug too often?
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on January 17, 2017, 07:47:41 am
GrandmaBirdie, thank you. This is one of the best threads I've come across on WC in weeks! I have bookmarked for my own use printed out several of the lists to share with my critique group. We had a discussion on this topic only a few days ago.

My pleasure.

Anything on your wishlist for future posts?
Title: Re: Do your characters shrug too often?
Post by: scott.marmorstein on January 17, 2017, 08:15:51 am
Hmm, my characters make a lot of facial expressions, but not any shrugging or rubbing backs of necks. I guess my characters have so far been honest in their intentions... Something for me to work on! :) Though they do swear actual profanities at times...yeah, some people don't like it.
Title: Re: Do your characters shrug too often?
Post by: Debbie Bennett on January 17, 2017, 09:22:35 am
YES. All of it. Way too often. I do a word count of shrug, nod and their derivatives and there are hundreds of them! then it takes me ages to read each one in context and change some of them. Still - better than having characters who just sit there and do nothing.....
Title: Re: Do your characters shrug too often?
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on January 17, 2017, 10:12:52 am
YES. All of it. Way too often. I do a word count of shrug, nod and their derivatives and there are hundreds of them! then it takes me ages to read each one in context and change some of them. Still - better than having characters who just sit there and do nothing.....

By doing that, you can turn those weak spots into strong prose that readers will bookmark and quote on their blogs.
Title: Do you take advantage of color in your writing? 1000 ways ...
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on January 23, 2017, 05:49:05 am
Why is color in writing so important?

Pablo Picasso said, "Colors, like features, follow the changes of the emotions." Picasso was an artist who evoked emotion with colorful pigments. As a writer, you can do the same with colorful words.

Over 1000 Ways to Describe Colors (http://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/colors/)
Title: Re: Do you take advantage of color in your writing? 1000 ways ...
Post by: mach 5 on January 23, 2017, 06:29:26 am
Thank you, GB. That is wonderful and I appreciate the style note on hyphenating that ties into the overall topic. :)
Title: Re: Do you take advantage of color in your writing? 1000 ways ...
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on January 23, 2017, 06:43:58 am
Thank you, GB. That is wonderful and I appreciate the style note on hyphenating that ties into the overall topic. :)

Thanks, Mach. I encounter the hyphenation issue frequently when critiquing or editing. That tiny punctuation mark makes a huge difference when used correctly.
Title: Re: Do you take advantage of color in your writing? 1000 ways ...
Post by: writerc on January 23, 2017, 08:35:59 am
Thankyou for this. Reminders like this help to keep me on my toes when writing :)
Title: Re: Do you take advantage of color in your writing? 1000 ways ...
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on January 23, 2017, 09:10:19 am
Thankyou for this. Reminders like this help to keep me on my toes when writing :)

My pleasure! I considered doing one on cliches, but I found so many that I realized it would take an entire book.
Title: Re: Do you take advantage of color in your writing? 1000 ways ...
Post by: Jennifer Joy on January 23, 2017, 03:21:28 pm
I really enjoy your posts! Thank you so much for sharing, GrandmaBirdie!
Title: Re: Do you take advantage of color in your writing? 1000 ways ...
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on January 23, 2017, 04:11:18 pm
I really enjoy your posts! Thank you so much for sharing, GrandmaBirdie!

Thanks, Jennifer. I enjoy putting them together. Next week will be Over 300 Onomatopoeic Sound-Words.
Title: Re: Do you take advantage of color in your writing? 1000 ways ...
Post by: EmmaS on January 23, 2017, 09:59:53 pm
Thanks, Jennifer. I enjoy putting them together. Next week will be Over 300 Onomatopoeic Sound-Words.
Ooh, looking forward to that one! And thanks for this one, too. I haven't been using color words nearly as effectively as I could in my current WIP. Heading off to fiddle with some descriptions...
Title: Do You Use Sound in Your Writing? Over 300 Onomatopoeic Sound-Words
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on January 30, 2017, 06:16:39 am
Well-chosen sounds give writing more oomph. Writers can describe sounds, or they can choose verbs and nouns that do the same. Check this list for ideas.

Over 300 Onomatopoeic Sound-Words (http://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/sounds/)
Title: Re: Do You Use Sound in Your Writing? Over 300 Onomatopoeic Sound-Words
Post by: R. T. Leone on January 30, 2017, 06:22:54 am
Very interesting stuff--it was just a month or so ago I was trying to find a way to describe the sound of glass breaking.

Thanks Grandma!
Title: Re: Do You Use Sound in Your Writing? Over 300 Onomatopoeic Sound-Words
Post by: Robertson on January 30, 2017, 06:28:23 am
Absolutely!  As a songwriter, the sound of words is hugely influential for me.

Great list of words, I will definitely check it when stuck.  Thank you!
Title: Re: Do You Use Sound in Your Writing? Over 300 Onomatopoeic Sound-Words
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on January 30, 2017, 06:33:20 am
Great list of words, I will definitely check it when stuck.  Thank you!

Thanks Grandma!

My pleasure! I enjoyed researching the words for this post.
Title: Re: Do You Use Sound in Your Writing? Over 300 Onomatopoeic Sound-Words
Post by: Rachel E. Rice on January 30, 2017, 06:53:04 am
Thank you. This is a helpful list for a writer.
Title: 50 Ways to Say "Bring"
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on February 13, 2017, 06:02:39 am
Do you overuse bring, brings, brought, and bringing? Maybe you don't even realize it. Time to search your WIP?

50 Ways to Say "Bring" (http://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/bring/)
Title: Re: 50 Ways to Say "Bring"
Post by: mach 5 on February 13, 2017, 07:03:40 am
I'm going to get addicted to your lists :)
Title: Re: 50 Ways to Say "Bring"
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on February 13, 2017, 08:33:08 am
I'm going to get addicted to your lists :)

 :D Thanks for the thumbs up.

Next week: Over 100 Ways to Say "Big"

I love creating these.

Title: The 100 Best Websites for Writers in 2017
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on February 15, 2017, 12:40:00 pm
What a pleasant surprise to review my website logs this morning and see that TheWriteLife.com has named my website one of the 100 best for writers.

I'm stoked!

The 100 Best Websites for Writers in 2017 (https://thewritelife.com/100-best-websites-for-writers-2017/)
Title: Re: The 100 Best Websites for Writers in 2017
Post by: unkownwriter on February 15, 2017, 01:36:56 pm
That's nice. :)
Title: Re: The 100 Best Websites for Writers in 2017
Post by: Alan Petersen on February 15, 2017, 02:03:16 pm
Cool! Your lists are very helpful so I can see why they included your site.

And thanks for the info on this comprehensive list. Bunch of sites I hadn't heard about until now.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: The 100 Best Websites for Writers in 2017
Post by: BlouBryant on February 15, 2017, 02:24:08 pm
What a pleasant surprise to review my website logs this morning and see that TheWriteLife.com has named my website one of the 100 best for writers.

I'm stoked!

The 100 Best Websites for Writers in 2017 (https://thewritelife.com/100-best-websites-for-writers-2017/)

It's not a surprise to me. You've got some great stuff up there... you're in my top 20 bookmarks. Oh, and you're always super nice on here. 

(Congratulations)

BB
Title: Re: The 100 Best Websites for Writers in 2017
Post by: MKK on February 15, 2017, 02:30:16 pm
Congratulations and thanks for sharing the list. There are quite a few sites on there I've never visited—your site not being one of them :)
Title: Re: The 100 Best Websites for Writers in 2017
Post by: EmmaS on February 15, 2017, 03:12:49 pm
Well deserved! :)
Title: Re: The 100 Best Websites for Writers in 2017
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on February 15, 2017, 03:26:45 pm
And thanks for the info on this comprehensive list. Bunch of sites I hadn't heard about until now.

I intend to go through all the sites and check out their offerings.

Congratulations and thanks for sharing the list. There are quite a few sites on there I've never visited—your site not being one of them :)

It's not a surprise to me. You've got some great stuff up there... you're in my top 20 bookmarks. Oh, and you're always super nice on here. 

(Congratulations)

BB

Thanks, everyone!

I drop by TheWriteLife whenever I need a break from writing. Great website.
Title: Re: The 100 Best Websites for Writers in 2017
Post by: Vinny OHare on February 15, 2017, 04:41:26 pm
Congrats! I just shared it all over our social media. Some great sites listed.
Title: Re: The 100 Best Websites for Writers in 2017
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on February 15, 2017, 06:33:37 pm
Congrats! I just shared it all over our social media. Some great sites listed.

Thanks, Vinny!
Title: Re: The 100 Best Websites for Writers in 2017
Post by: Berries on February 15, 2017, 09:18:05 pm
Congrats! I've always loved your name :)
Title: Re: The 100 Best Websites for Writers in 2017
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on February 16, 2017, 05:37:15 am
Congrats! I've always loved your name :)

Thanks!

My grandkids came up with that moniker. I'm known as Grannie Stein on a few other writers' sites.
Title: 100 Ways to Say "Big"
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on February 20, 2017, 07:07:43 am
Does your WIP have a big problem with multiple repetitions of big?

If you search Google for "most overused words in writing," big will appear on the majority of lists you find. This post provides alternatives.

100 Ways to Say "Big" (http://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/big/)
Title: Re: 100 Ways to Say "Big"
Post by: Marti talbott on February 20, 2017, 07:41:37 am
I very much appreciate these kinds of post. Thanks.
Title: Re: 100 Ways to Say "Big"
Post by: Talbot on February 20, 2017, 07:43:04 am
Bigly!
Title: Re: 100 Ways to Say "Big"
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on February 20, 2017, 09:44:56 am
I very much appreciate these kinds of post. Thanks.

Thanks! Next week I'll cover little.

Bigly!

Heh heh. 8)
Title: Re: 100 Ways to Say "Big"
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on February 20, 2017, 11:43:35 am
Love these posts. Shame they're not consolidated into one. Then it would be easy to get notified when you find another excellent list.

Expanded versions of the lists will appear in a book sometime later this year.
Title: Re: 100 Ways to Say "Big"
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on February 20, 2017, 12:49:59 pm
Please let us know when it's released. I'm definitely buying a copy. It's handy to have quick reference when my brain seizes up!   :-X

Will do. I refer to the lists frequently as I write. I find they save me a lot of time.
Title: Re: 100 Ways to Say "Big"
Post by: WHDean on February 21, 2017, 10:17:39 am
Does your WIP have a big problem with multiple repetitions of big?

If you search Google for "most overused words in writing," big will appear on the majority of lists you find. This post provides alternatives.

100 Ways to Say "Big" (http://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/big/)

I found some of your advice puzzling. Take this pair of sentences:

Quote
Bernard's ego was bigger than his bank account.

Bernard's ego outmatched his mammoth bank account.

You said the second was better because it uses an active verb and a reader might misunderstand the first. I find that hard to believe. The formula "A's x is bigger than his y" is an English idiom, along with other stock variations like "His ambition outstripped his abilities." Most people would've heard it or used it and its variations many times.

I also don't think the comparison works because outmatched implies a competition between his ego and his bank account, when the first sentence was only making a point about the size of Bernard's ego. Outmatched works better with "His lifestyle outmatched his bank account," or some such, though it's a different point about Bernard's character. The modifier mammoth only adds to the imbalance. If you have to describe the object of the comparison, you lose the pithiness of the idiom. Adding mammoth is like saying "His ego outmatched his bank account, which was very large by the way." We have to know the size of his bank account before the comparison is made for the idiom to work. 

Then there's this pair:

Quote
The big tiger moved silently through the grass.

The behemoth tiger stalked silently through the grass.

Behemoth is a noun meaning "the largest and strongest thing," not an adjective, and I've never seen it used as a premodifier (M-W's "a behemoth truck" notwithstanding). It's usually used as a descriptive stand-in for a preceding noun (the technical term escapes me at the moment): "I saw the tiger again. This time the behemoth [= the tiger] was coming for me." 

Silently adds something to moved, but nothing to stalked because to stalk (in its transitive form) means "to pursue by stealth" (= silently). Of course, stalked has no direct object in your example, making it intransitive. The intransitive meaning of stalked, however, is different from the transitive meaning: "The tiger stalked the man [trans. = pursued stealthily]" but "The tiger stalked away [intrans. = walked slowly and softly/walked away stiffly, sullenly]." So stalked can't be substituted for moved silently without giving it an object or changing the meaning of the sentence.   

In many of the other examples I wondered why you didn't recommend striking out big altogether, instead of replacing it with a synonym. Take the "big bruise" example. You have a modifying phrase describing the bruise as impossible to hide (= big). Once you have that description, calling it big (or anything else) seems redundant.


Title: Re: 100 Ways to Say "Big"
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on February 21, 2017, 12:55:54 pm
I found some of your advice puzzling. Take this pair of sentences:

You said the second was better because it uses an active verb and a reader might misunderstand the first. I find that hard to believe. The formula "A's x is bigger than his y" is an English idiom, along with other stock variations like "His ambition outstripped his abilities." Most people would've heard it or used it and its variations many times.

I also don't think the comparison works because outmatched implies a competition between his ego and his bank account, when the first sentence was only making a point about the size of Bernard's ego. Outmatched works better with "His lifestyle outmatched his bank account," or some such, though it's a different point about Bernard's character. The modifier mammoth only adds to the imbalance. If you have to describe the object of the comparison, you lose the pithiness of the idiom. Adding mammoth is like saying "His ego outmatched his bank account, which was very large by the way." We have to know the size of his bank account before the comparison is made for the idiom to work. 

Then there's this pair:

Behemoth is a noun meaning "the largest and strongest thing," not an adjective, and I've never seen it used as a premodifier (M-W's "a behemoth truck" notwithstanding). It's usually used as a descriptive stand-in for a preceding noun (the technical term escapes me at the moment): "I saw the tiger again. This time the behemoth [= the tiger] was coming for me." 

Silently adds something to moved, but nothing to stalked because to stalk (in its transitive form) means "to pursue by stealth" (= silently). Of course, stalked has no direct object in your example, making it intransitive. The intransitive meaning of stalked, however, is different from the transitive meaning: "The tiger stalked the man [trans. = pursued stealthily]" but "The tiger stalked away [intrans. = walked slowly and softly/walked away stiffly, sullenly]." So stalked can't be substituted for moved silently without giving it an object or changing the meaning of the sentence.   

In many of the other examples I wondered why you didn't recommend striking out big altogether, instead of replacing it with a synonym. Take the "big bruise" example. You have a modifying phrase describing the bruise as impossible to hide (= big). Once you have that description, calling it big (or anything else) seems redundant.

The first example works if readers understand that Bernard has oodles of money. But maybe he's a mild-mannered accountant with an overdrawn account. The second leaves no room for misinterpretation.

For the next set, writers often use nouns as adjectives. It's a literary technique that draws an instant picture in readers' minds.
Title: Re: 100 Ways to Say "Big"
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on February 22, 2017, 10:22:14 am

Behemoth is a noun meaning "the largest and strongest thing," not an adjective, and I've never seen it used as a premodifier (M-W's "a behemoth truck" notwithstanding). It's usually used as a descriptive stand-in for a preceding noun (the technical term escapes me at the moment): "I saw the tiger again. This time the behemoth [= the tiger] was coming for me." 



I found some examples for you showing behemoth used as an adjective.

http://articles.courant.com/2005-12-24/news/0512240646_1_asian-marketing-foxwoods-resort-mohegan-sun-president

https://www.nbr.co.nz/article/syft-technologies-sniffing-out-a-fortune

http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/denali

http://www.wrestlinginc.com/wi/news/2013/0822/565090/bill-goldberg-responds-to-wrestlemania-30-rumor/

http://www.desertsun.com/story/sports/baseball/pete-donovan/2015/12/16/dodgers-clayton-kershaw-zack-greinke/77457282/
Title: Re: 100 Ways to Say "Big"
Post by: EC Sheedy on February 22, 2017, 11:01:10 am
Love these lists--and I will definitely be looking forward to your book.

I like the lists because they poke at my autopilot brain and help that foggy, lazy gray mass to visualize other choices.  :-*

Title: Re: 100 Ways to Say "Big"
Post by: Carol M on February 22, 2017, 02:24:04 pm
Thank you! Posts like these are very helpful.
Title: Re: 100 Ways to Say "Big"
Post by: GoneToWriterSanctum on February 22, 2017, 05:22:18 pm
Bigly!

Yuuuuggggeee!
Title: Re: 100 Ways to Say "Big"
Post by: WHDean on February 23, 2017, 05:40:40 am
The first example works if readers understand that Bernard has oodles of money. But maybe he's a mild-mannered accountant with an overdrawn account. The second leaves no room for misinterpretation.

For the next set, writers often use nouns as adjectives. It's a literary technique that draws an instant picture in readers' minds.

People use idioms like "his x is bigger than his y" because they come "pre-interpreted" by being so familiar. No one needs to add big and tiny to "you’re making a mountain out of a molehill" to prevent misinterpretation or make it more vivid.

It's concreteness that makes the mental picture, and tiger is far more concrete than either big or behemoth. A writer makes "The dog circled the snared rabbit" more evocative by changing dog to Rottweiler, not by adding big or behemoth to dog:

Quote
The Rottweiler circled the snared rabbit.

Or take the following pairs:

Quote
The velociraptor ran toward me.
The sasquatch stole my beer.

The behemoth velociraptor ran toward me.
The behemoth sasquatch stole my beer.

What's creating the mental images, behemoth or velociraptor and sasquatch? And what did behemoth add to either? That's why I originally suggested striking big, not adding another adjective.

I found some examples for you showing behemoth used as an adjective.

I turned up 134 hits on "the behemoth" in the online Corpus of Contemporary American English, which is a massive database of, well, contemporary American English. The phrase "a behemoth" returned 97 hits. (The one-word "behemoth" turned up 826 and the phrases "this behemoth" and "these behemoth" will fall under Number 2 below, but examples were very few anyway.)
 
1. The vast majority of the examples of the behemoth (about 85%) fit the usage I described above—i.e., behemoth is used as a stand-in for another noun.
 
2. About 10% of the same were appositional. Here are a few examples from the corpus: 
 
Quote
…second place in global production, surpassed only by the behemoth Brazil
…for law firms ranging in size from 15 lawyers to the behemoth Baker & McKenzie… 

3. Another 3%-4% followed a pattern like that of Number 1, except that there was a distance between the mention of the subject and a description of its large size, so the subject is repeated (presumably to avoid ambiguity of reference), even though behemoth could stand alone. This example is representative:
 
Quote
…the modern computer had been a huge block of wires and tubes about the size of an outhouse. The really powerful computers that cracked spy codes and guided inter-continental ballistic missiles were about the size of a roadside restroom along the side of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and with as much charm. These ugly contraptions jiggled punch cards and made computations. But prior to Xerox PARC the computer was bereft of colorful screens, joyous speakers, floppy discs, and all the strangely piquant terminology the engineers dreamed up. The behemoth computers of the past were used mainly by grim groups of scientists and bureaucrats. They had to schedule time on the machine. (American Spectator, 1999)

Of course, the word computers is superfluous with behemoth. The sentence could have begun "These behemoths of the past..." The point is that behemoth isn't being used as the adjective big would and could be; it's referring back to the earlier description of the computer as "huge block of wires and tubes about the size of an outhouse." Presumably computers was plugged back in to avoid confusion with engineers, which immediately preceded.
 
4. Less than 1% of the "a/the behemoth" sample fit the pattern you describe. We're talking somewhere around five hits in the entire corpus containing 826 "behemoths." The first is stage direction from the script of the film Bamboozled:
 
Quote
Ext. Times Square – Night: Mantan and Cheeba gaze skyward at a behemoth billboard for their show.
 
Among the choices: murals, elaborately lit designs, landscapes. But the people wanted a totem pole. The behemoth sculptures, typically carved from trees by native peoples to illustrate ancient legends, watch over lands in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. (Washington Post)

Not exactly inspiring. Behemoth sculptures adds abstraction to abstraction, evoking some large amorphous thing. The massive wooden sculptures/tree carvings/artworks would have evoked a stronger image.

So, I modify my original statement to say I've rarely seen behemoth used as a premodifier. And when I have, it wasn't particularly pretty.


Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on February 27, 2017, 06:12:30 am
As per your requests, this week's post: Over 100 Ways to Say "Little" (http://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/little/)

We've all heard the adage that little things can make a big difference. Unfortunately, too many little repetitions can make a big difference in writing too, maybe even enough to scare away readers.

That darned little pest creeps into writing unawares.
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on February 27, 2017, 06:31:02 am
Thanks, GrandmaBirdie.

I have been copy your lists and adding them to my notes for months now. They're not easy to find amongst all my other notes so hopefully your book will be out soon. Hint. Hint.  ;)

Heh heh. I'm working on it. The lists in the book will be even more comprehensive.

This link will take you directly to my online lists: http://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/category/word-lists/ (http://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/category/word-lists/)
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists
Post by: Becca Mills on February 27, 2017, 08:53:09 am
As per your requests, this week's post: Over 100 Ways to Say "Little" (http://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/little/)

We’ve all heard the adage that little things can make a big difference. Unfortunately, too many little repetitions can make a big difference in writing too, maybe even enough to scare away readers.

That darned little pest creeps into writing unawares.

"GrandmaBirdie, what a big 'little' list you have!"
"The better to describe you with, my dear ..."

 :)
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on February 27, 2017, 09:54:52 am
"GrandmaBirdie, what a big 'little' list you have!"
"The better to describe you with, my dear ..."

 :)

Hmm, Becca. You speak as though you know me. I never made it to the five-foot mark. You've piqued my curiosity. ::)
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists
Post by: Debbie Bennett on February 27, 2017, 02:22:32 pm
Shrugging! My characters are always shrugging...  :)
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on February 27, 2017, 03:00:37 pm
Shrugging! My characters are always shrugging...  :)

 ;) Done.

Over 100 Ways to Say "Shrug" (http://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/shrug/)
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists
Post by: Desmond X. Torres on February 27, 2017, 03:43:30 pm
What a great thread.
Comment for the bump.
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on March 06, 2017, 06:25:02 am
Today's addition: Over 300 Wind Words (http://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/wind-words/).

Environmental ambience adds depth to writing. Do you take advantage of it? This list of adjectives, verbs, and nouns will help.
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: Em Dash Abuse--It Ain't Pretty
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on March 13, 2017, 05:56:56 am
Latest post: Em Dash Abuse--It Ain't Pretty (http://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/em-dash/).

How often do you insert em dashes in your writing? Although occasional occurrences might clarify or emphasize, too many annoy readers and editors.
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: Exclamation Points! Plague or Pleasure?
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on March 20, 2017, 06:01:14 am
March 20: Exclamation Points! Plague or Pleasure? (http://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/exclamations/) F. Scott Fitzgerald hated exclamation points. Mark Twain didn't like them either. Elmore Leonard recommended only two or three per novel. What about you?
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists
Post by: Becca Mills on March 20, 2017, 10:18:48 am
;) Done.

Over 100 Ways to Say "Shrug" (http://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/shrug/)

Oh boy do I need this one. My characters are *always* trying to shrug. I'm afraid they're going to give themselves neck injuries. ;)

March 20: Exclamation Points! Plague or Pleasure? (http://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/exclamations/) F. Scott Fitzgerald hated exclamation points. Mark Twain didn't like them either. Elmore Leonard recommended only two or three per novel. What about you?

You know, I've always been a dues-paying member of the barely-ever-use-them club, and I got through my first novel feeling that I had barely used any at all. I thought, well, there might be five or six. Out of curiosity, I checked to see how many I actually used ... and there are seventy-two! Ahem. I mean, seventy-two!!!!!!!!!! Sneaky little weasels.
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on March 20, 2017, 10:37:16 am
Oh boy do I need this one. My characters are *always* trying to shrug. I'm afraid they're going to give themselves neck injuries. ;)

You know, I've always been a dues-paying member of the barely-ever-use-them club, and I got through my first novel feeling that I had barely used any at all. I thought, well, there might be five or six. Out of curiosity, I checked to see how many I actually used ... and there are seventy-two! Ahem. I mean, seventy-two!!!!!!!!!! Sneaky little weasels.

Isn't it amazing how little quirks creep into writing unannounced, like a flea infestation?  ;D Next week I'll be posting 200 ways to say "shake the head," another bugaboo for many writers.
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists
Post by: Becca Mills on March 20, 2017, 10:45:10 am
Isn't it amazing how little quirks creep into writing unannounced, like a flea infestation?  ;D Next week I'll be posting 200 ways to say "shake the head," another bugaboo for many writers.

Looking forward to it. Mine shake their heads even more than they shrug.  :-[
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: Exclamation Points! Plague or Pleasure?
Post by: daveconifer on March 20, 2017, 10:51:01 am
Sorry if you've already covered this, GB.  But is there a dictionary of terms I don't know about for common body movements?  For instance, I find myself spreading my palms, face up, away from my body to indicate confusion / confoundery.  Is there a verb for that?  By the time I try to describe it in a sentence, the whole mood of the scene unravels with unneeded klunky words.

There are others, but none are coming to mind.  (As I try to think of them, I'm spreading my palms, face up, awa-- oh wait, what was I saying?)

Thanks...
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: Exclamation Points! Plague or Pleasure?
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on March 20, 2017, 10:57:09 am
Sorry if you've already covered this, GB.  But is there a dictionary of terms I don't know about for common body movements?  For instance, I find myself spreading my palms, face up, away from my body to indicate confusion / confoundery.  Is there a verb for that?  By the time I try to describe it in a sentence, the whole mood of the scene unravels with unneeded klunky words.

There are others, but none are coming to mind.  (As I try to think of them, I'm spreading my palms, face up, awa-- oh wait, what was I saying?)

Thanks...

Maybe approach this from the opposite angle.

Decide what emotion your protagonist is experiencing. Stand in front of a mirror and pretend you're feeling that way. What does your face look like? Where are your hands and feet? Are you leaning forward/backward or cocking your head? All you need is one or two well-described action beats to transform your protagonist from a marionette into a breathing person on the page. Body language, like character descriptions, can be overdone.
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: Exclamation Points! Plague or Pleasure?
Post by: daveconifer on March 20, 2017, 11:03:40 am
Maybe approach this from the opposite angle.

Decide what emotion your protagonist is experiencing. Stand in front of a mirror and pretend you're feeling that way. What does your face look like? Where are your hands and feet? Are you leaning forward/backward or cocking your head? All you need is one or two well-described action beats to transform your protagonist from a marionette into a breathing person on the page. Body language, like character descriptions, can be overdone.

Thanks, I'll try something like that next time.

I absolutely agree about body language being overdone.  When somebody in a book I'm reading chews their lip (while talking!), furrows their brow and clenches their teeth on every page to show some kind of mood thing, I quickly tire of it...
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: Exclamation Points! Plague or Pleasure?
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on March 23, 2017, 08:56:30 am
The book is now available at all the Amazons: The Writer's Lexicon.



Edited to remove link (promotion is not permitted in the Writers' Cafe). - Becca (https://www.kboards.com/index.php?action=pm;sa=send;u=59615)
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: Book is Out
Post by: DanaFraser on March 23, 2017, 09:03:26 am
The ebook is a steal at 99c! Got the ebook and will likely pick up the print version after I've danced around digitally.
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: Over 200 Ways to Say "Shake the Head"
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on March 27, 2017, 06:14:13 am
March 27: Over 200 Ways to Say "Shake the Head." (http://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/shake-the-head/) Shaking heads appear so often in fiction they make me shake my head in disbelief. Are you aware that in some areas of the world a headshake signals agreement?
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: Over 200 Ways to Say "Shake the Head"
Post by: Desmond X. Torres on March 28, 2017, 08:33:23 am
just got mine. Best of success Kathy
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: Over 200 Ways to Say "Shake the Head"
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on March 28, 2017, 08:00:56 pm
just got mine. Best of success Kathy

Thanks, Desmond!
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: 100 Ways to Say "Clear the Throat"
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on April 03, 2017, 05:48:51 am
Today's addition: 100 Ways to Say "Clear the Throat." (http://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/clear-throat/) Have you ever shared space with someone who clears their throat every few minutes? Annoying. Fictional characters who do that will annoy readers too.
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: 100 Ways to Say "Clear the Throat"
Post by: Sapphire on April 03, 2017, 06:32:48 am
Today's addition: 100 Ways to Say "Clear the Throat." (http://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/clear-throat/) Have you ever shared space with someone who clears their throat every few minutes? Annoying. Fictional characters who do that will annoy readers too.
How did you know late last night one of my characters cleared his throat...AGAIN!
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: 100 Ways to Say "Clear the Throat"
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on April 03, 2017, 06:39:34 am
How did you know late last night one of my characters cleared his throat...AGAIN!

 8) Guess where I find my best ideas? From my own WIP. Guilty, guilty, guilty.
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: 100 Ways to Say "Clear the Throat"
Post by: Marti talbott on April 03, 2017, 06:44:15 am
These are great and a big help! Thanks!!!
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: 100 Ways to Say "Clear the Throat"
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on April 03, 2017, 08:11:10 am
These are great and a big help! Thanks!!!

My pleasure, Marti!
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: 100 Ways to Say "Clear the Throat"
Post by: Alan Petersen on April 05, 2017, 10:58:22 am
Hi Kathy,

I just wanted to say thanks for these lists and your book. I'm working on the second draft of my manuscript and I've found myself turning to your book and website more than once, so thanks!  ;D
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: 100 Ways to Say "Clear the Throat"
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on April 05, 2017, 04:32:12 pm
Hi Kathy,

I just wanted to say thanks for these lists and your book. I'm working on the second draft of my manuscript and I've found myself turning to your book and website more than once, so thanks!  ;D

My pleasure! Thanks for your support, Alan.

Next week I start on Volume II with 200 Ways to Say "Bad."
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: 100 Ways to Say "Clear the Throat"
Post by: FFJ on April 05, 2017, 05:21:43 pm
How did I miss that you published a book with all your helpful tips?

I just nabbed a copy. Thanks so much for publishing it. I've been looking forward to it. Best of luck and thanks so much for your lists. I find them very useful.
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: 100 Ways to Say "Clear the Throat"
Post by: NoLongerPosting on April 07, 2017, 08:09:40 am
These are great! I bought your book yesterday as well. I'm looking forward to using it.
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: 100 Ways to Say "Clear the Throat"
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on April 07, 2017, 09:37:22 am
How did I miss that you published a book with all your helpful tips?

I just nabbed a copy. Thanks so much for publishing it. I've been looking forward to it. Best of luck and thanks so much for your lists. I find them very useful.

These are great! I bought your book yesterday as well. I'm looking forward to using it.

Thanks, FFJ and Rickie! As of today, The Writer's Lexicon is an Amazon Best Seller.
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: The Writer's Lexicon is now an Amazon Best Seller
Post by: Sapphire on April 08, 2017, 04:24:37 am
Congratulations, Grandma Birdie on your success with this book! Writers of all ages, genres, and levels owe you a big giant thank you.
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: The Writer's Lexicon is now an Amazon Best Seller
Post by: 88149 on April 08, 2017, 08:26:12 am
Deleted
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: The Writer's Lexicon is now an Amazon Best Seller
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on April 10, 2017, 06:22:47 am
Congratulations, Grandma Birdie on your success with this book! Writers of all ages, genres, and levels owe you a big giant thank you.

Thanks, Sapphire!

Just bought this precious tome to soothe my wordsmith's angst . Congratulations, Kathy.

Thanks, Dan!

Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: The Writer's Lexicon is now an Amazon Best Seller
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on April 10, 2017, 06:24:43 am
Today's post:

200 Ways to Say "Bad" (http://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/bad/)

Overuse will transform "bad" into a pest that annoys readers worse than an army of angry ants. Try these alternatives.
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: 200 Ways to Say "Good"
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on April 17, 2017, 06:37:09 am
Today's word list: 200 Ways to Say "Good." (http://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/good/) Does "good" plague every second paragraph of your WIP? Try these alternatives.
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: Exclamation Points! Plague or Pleasure?
Post by: Becca Mills on April 17, 2017, 08:12:05 am
The book is now available at all the Amazons: The Writer's Lexicon.

Got mine! :)
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: Exclamation Points! Plague or Pleasure?
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on April 17, 2017, 08:40:11 am
Got mine! :)

Thanks, Becca!
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: 100 Ways to Say "Nice"
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on April 24, 2017, 06:26:22 am
April 24: 100 Ways to Say "Nice." (http://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/nice/) "Nice" is an unpretentious word that doesn't pack a lot of punch. 100 alternatives.
Title: Re: Why You Should Avoid "Feel" in Writing: 50 Alternatives
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on May 01, 2017, 06:06:55 am
May 1: Why You Should Avoid "Feel" in Writing: 50 Alternatives (http://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/why-you-should-avoid-feel-in-your-writing/)
Whenever you write about a character feeling something, you distance readers from your narrative. Here's how to avoid the "feel" trap.
Title: Do You Suffer from Contractionitis?
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on May 08, 2017, 06:31:36 am
May 8: 8 Guidelines for Contractions in Writing (http://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/contractions/)
Contractions were invented centuries ago. They make our writing more personable. Beware that you don't develop contractionitis, though.
Title: Re: 8 Guidelines for Contractions in Writing
Post by: Becca Mills on May 08, 2017, 07:20:59 am
May 8: 8 Guidelines for Contractions in Writing (http://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/contractions/)
Contractions were invented centuries ago. They make our writing more personable. Beware that you don't develop contractionitis, though.
Do people really try to use 's to mean "was"?? That would confuse me for sure!

Sent from my SM-G360V using Tapatalk

Title: Re: 8 Guidelines for Contractions in Writing
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on May 08, 2017, 08:13:27 am
Do people really try to use 's to mean "was"?? That would confuse me for sure!

They sure do. I see it when reading or doing critiques. Unless the context is clear, an apostrophe-s can disconcert readers.
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: 120 Ways to Say "Pout"
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on May 15, 2017, 06:19:50 am
May 15: 120 Ways to Say "Pout" (http://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/pout/)
The usual replacement chosen by writers for "pout" is "pursed lips," an unoriginal phrase. Try these alternatives instead.
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: Too Many Sighs of Relief in Your Writing? 75 Alternatives
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on May 22, 2017, 05:41:37 am
May 22: Too Many Sighs of Relief in Your Writing? 75 Alternatives (http://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/sigh-of-relief/)
Do your protagonists sigh in relief or breathe sighs of relief on every second page? Maybe it's time for a rewrite.
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: 100+ Ways to Say "Blush"
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on May 29, 2017, 06:57:19 am
May 29: 100+ Ways to Say "Blush" (http://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/blush/)
Why do people blush? Writers should know their characters' motivations. Then, their duty is to show readers the cause of each blush.
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: 4 Guidelines for Stacked Modifiers
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on June 05, 2017, 06:30:29 am
June 5: 4 Guidelines for Stacked Modifiers (http://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/stacked-modifiers/)
Should you worry about adjective order or how many modifiers you include in a sequence? What about commas and hyphens? Read this article for the answers.
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: 100+ Ways to Say "Blush"
Post by: Becca Mills on June 05, 2017, 09:33:51 am
May 29: 100+ Ways to Say "Blush" (http://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/blush/)
Why do people blush? Writers should know their characters' motivations. Then, their duty is to show readers the cause of each blush.

Hooboy, I need this one. I constantly find myself wanting to make my MC blush. It's a writing tic. So embarrassing. <blush>
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: 4 Guidelines for Stacked Modifiers
Post by: Becca Mills on June 05, 2017, 09:39:13 am
June 5: 4 Guidelines for Stacked Modifiers (http://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/stacked-modifiers/)
Should you worry about adjective order or how many modifiers you include in a sequence? What about commas and hyphens? Read this article for the answers.

I'd heard we were moving away from the absolute requirement that preceding compound modifiers be hyphenated in favor of an "if needed" approach.

ETA: Or should I say, an "if-needed" approach. ;)
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: 100+ Ways to Say "Blush"
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on June 05, 2017, 12:02:50 pm
Hooboy, I need this one. I constantly find myself wanting to make my MC blush. It's a writing tic. So embarrassing. <blush>

 ;D "Hooboy"--I like. First time I've seen it.

I'd heard we were moving away from the absolute requirement that preceding compound modifiers be hyphenated in favor of an "if needed" approach.

ETA: Or should I say, an "if-needed" approach. ;)

Hyphenation isn't an absolute requirement, but a recommendation, although Chicago Manual of Style calls some of the guidelines rules (http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/16/images/ch07_tab01.pdf).
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: 4 Guidelines for Stacked Modifiers
Post by: Diamond Eyes on June 05, 2017, 06:53:33 pm
These guides are really great. I feel like I'm becoming a stacked modifier and em dash Jedi. Thanks for the info!
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: 4 Guidelines for Stacked Modifiers
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on June 05, 2017, 08:34:52 pm
These guides are really great. I feel like I'm becoming a stacked modifier and em dash Jedi. Thanks for the info!

My pleasure, Kenny!

Do you have a wishlist of overused words or  grammar idiosyncrasies you'd like me to tackle for an upcoming blog post?
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: 4 Guidelines for Stacked Modifiers
Post by: Diamond Eyes on June 06, 2017, 12:18:46 pm
My pleasure, Kenny!

Do you have a wishlist of overused words or  grammar idiosyncrasies you'd like me to tackle for an upcoming blog post?

I can't really think of anything specific, but I do appreciate all the guides you have created so far and look forward to whatever topics you post about in the future. Thanks again.
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: Too Many Filter Words in Your Writing? 80 Alternatives
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on June 12, 2017, 06:52:07 am
June 12: Too Many Filter Words in Your Writing? 80 Alternatives (http://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/filters/)
Why should you avoid filter words? Think of the last time you stood in line at a bank or grocery store. Did you enjoy the wait?
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: 50 Alternatives for "Wink" in Writing
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on June 19, 2017, 07:57:54 am
June 19: 50 Alternatives for "Wink" in Writing (http://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/wink/)
Do your characters wink so often that their eyes resemble flashing signal lights? A wink is a vague action that might be misconstrued. Try these alternatives.
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: 50 Alternatives for "Wink" in Writing
Post by: SerenityEditing on June 19, 2017, 12:28:24 pm
Tangentially related questions/thoughts:
Do people ACTUALLY wink that much? The only times I ever wink are when I'm doing it ironically (like, "Gosh, what a shame that my horrible coworker got fired, I'm all torn up about it. I'll miss her so much." *hugely exaggerated wink*). I can't remember the last time I saw anyone - of any age, gender, or societal role - do it, unless they were doing it for a camera. But it shows up in manuscripts all the time. Do I just live in a winkless pocket of the world? Or is it maybe something people have begun doing more as a result of the use of the 'winky face' to help convey tone in casual written conversation?
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: 50 Alternatives for "Wink" in Writing
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on June 19, 2017, 03:59:28 pm
But it shows up in manuscripts all the time. Do I just live in a winkless pocket of the world? Or is it maybe something people have begun doing more as a result of the use of the 'winky face' to help convey tone in casual written conversation?

Exactly. I recently read something that contained so many winks I couldn't concentrate on the story. Like you, Serenity, I seldom wink and rarely see one in real life.

BTW for future interest, what day of the week are you most likely to read blogs? I post on Mondays but would be glad to change the day to match the preferences of readers.
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: "Alright" vs. "All Right": Which is "Right"?
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on June 26, 2017, 08:19:33 am
June 26: "Alright" vs. "All Right": Which is "Right"? (http://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/alright/)
Authors have penned "alright" for more than 130 years. Common sense suggests that public acceptance should justify the existence of a word. Right?
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: "Alright" vs. "All Right": Which is "Right"?
Post by: Forgettable on June 27, 2017, 04:32:39 am
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Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: "Alright" vs. "All Right": Which is "Right"?
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on June 27, 2017, 05:40:42 am
Think this one might depend on locality. 'Alright' appears in both my 1987 Heinemann Australian Dictionary, solely as an adverb, and in my Fifth Edn Macquarie Dictionary.  The Macquarie offers 10 forms of usage as both an adjective and an adverb.  I guess this is another one to pop on my 'list of words to avoid if writing for a US market  :P

Good point. However, an editor for an Australian publication might be an American.  ;) 

You'll find editors (and readers) worldwide with viewpoints like this one from http://languagehat.com/bad-words-in-dictionaries/ (http://languagehat.com/bad-words-in-dictionaries/)

I will woman the barricades against "alright" until they pry my Strunk & White from my cold, dead hands. I have shamed my own mother for writing that word in a letter to me (less nasty than you might think, because she always brags about winning the statewide school spelling bee championship when she was eleven, or some insane thing. My own chance ever at a spelling bee, I was tossed off in the easy rounds because I spelled "f-a-v-o-u-r". Too much Dickens).
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: "Alright" vs. "All Right": Which is "Right"?
Post by: Morgan Worth on June 27, 2017, 03:14:17 pm
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AIui-eKxAec sorry, just had to. LOL. Growing up, my understanding was that alright and all right meant different things. I considered alright to be similar to OK with a basis similar to the mythical "zero kills (0K)" signs in villages of preindustrial times which were allegedly used to signify no casualties in war that day. All right is what you got on that test, with no wrong answers.

This is exactly what I was taught, and what I recall from the books I read when I was a kid. But many people do consider "alright" a no-no now. I really don't get the opposition to it, but I can understand why authors avoid it.
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: "Alright" vs. "All Right": Which is "Right"?
Post by: Forgettable on June 27, 2017, 03:25:40 pm
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Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: "Alright" vs. "All Right": Which is "Right"?
Post by: The one with all the big dresses on the covers on June 27, 2017, 03:59:56 pm
Exactly.  All right = all correct.  Alright = okay, fine, no problems.
But I see that you are Australian also, so we have likely been raised with the same education. Alright was a word on my 7 year old's school spelling homework recently  :P

This is so interesting! I'm an Aussie also, and I learned early in my writing (from reader feedback) that I was supposed to use all right instead of alright, so I changed it, but have never had any idea why. I also thought they basically had different meanings and have found it so strange to write it to mean ok. Now I know it's a regional difference :)
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: "Alright" vs. "All Right": Which is "Right"?
Post by: Morgan Worth on June 27, 2017, 05:40:21 pm
This is so interesting! I'm an Aussie also, and I learned early in my writing (from reader feedback) that I was supposed to use all right instead of alright, so I changed it, but have never had any idea why. I also thought they basically had different meanings and have found it so strange to write it to mean ok. Now I know it's a regional difference :)

I'm from the U.S., though, and I was taught the different meanings of "alright" and "all right."
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: "Alright" vs. "All Right": Which is "Right"?
Post by: Linn on June 27, 2017, 06:50:28 pm
This argument never seems to reach a firm conclusion. Fortunately, some true icons have been kind enough to weigh in on the matter:

(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/8/84/Thekidsarealrightmovieposter.jpg)
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: "Alright" vs. "All Right": Which is "Right"?
Post by: Morgan Worth on June 27, 2017, 07:10:05 pm
This argument never seems to reach a firm conclusion. Fortunately, some true icons have been kind enough to weigh in on the matter:

(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/8/84/Thekidsarealrightmovieposter.jpg)

LOL. Perfect!
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: "Alright" vs. "All Right": Which is "Right"?
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on June 27, 2017, 08:09:59 pm
I've been conspicuously silent. This post has generated a firestorm of controversy.  :'(

I used to type alright--until an editor reprimanded me. Given its lack of support, I switched to all right a few years ago.
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: "Alright" vs. "All Right": Which is "Right"?
Post by: Morgan Worth on June 27, 2017, 08:18:57 pm
I've been conspicuously silent. This post has generated a firestorm of controversy.  :'(

I used to type alright--until an editor reprimanded me. Given its lack of support, I switched to all right a few years ago.

Sorry. I thought it was a pretty friendly discussion.  :)
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: "Alright" vs. "All Right": Which is "Right"?
Post by: Forgettable on June 27, 2017, 08:25:24 pm
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Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: "Alright" vs. "All Right": Which is "Right"?
Post by: Forgettable on June 28, 2017, 03:18:24 am
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Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: "Alright" vs. "All Right": Which is "Right"?
Post by: notjohn on June 28, 2017, 03:27:50 am
In my Shorter Oxford, the definition of "alright" is as follows: see All Right. That's about as shrill a condemnation as lexicographers are permitted these days. My Webster's Collegiate, which I use to check American usage, is more generous and even quotes a Gertrude Stein usage, but there is a general level of distaste even there.

If I saw it in a printed book, I would probably dismiss the book as not worth reading, depending on its provenance and subject matter (e.g. a self-published book by a war veteran would be okay, but not the same book published by Penguin Random House; a Jack Reacher novel, perhaps, but still a slightly raised eyebrow).

I don't recall that I have EVER seen the usage in a book from a reputable publishing house. (Gertrude Stein is of course quite another matter. A rose is a rose is a rose, etc. David Foster Wallace might also get away with it.)
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: "Alright" vs. "All Right": Which is "Right"?
Post by: SerenityEditing on June 28, 2017, 11:10:39 am
I'm American (a military brat, so I was educated in schools across the US and in the DoDDS system in Germany) and I was always taught that "alright" is incorrect. I mostly see AU/UK authors using it and I always change it. Whether or not they accept that change is up to them. (c:

Logically "alright" makes sense, as we have "always" and "already," etc. To be honest I'm not sure why it's not considered standard yet. But until then, I'll toe the line and keep "fixing" it.
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: "Alright" vs. "All Right": Which is "Right"?
Post by: The one with all the big dresses on the covers on June 28, 2017, 04:21:06 pm
I'm American (a military brat, so I was educated in schools across the US and in the DoDDS system in Germany) and I was always taught that "alright" is incorrect. I mostly see AU/UK authors using it and I always change it. Whether or not they accept that change is up to them. (c:

Logically "alright" makes sense, as we have "always" and "already," etc. To be honest I'm not sure why it's not considered standard yet. But until then, I'll toe the line and keep "fixing" it.

I think fixing it is the right idea (as you said, they don't have to accept it!) because there's every chance that, like me, they genuinely have no idea it's an issue at all and not a perfectly ordinary word. I write fantasy but try to keep it vaguely historically based so actually put some effort into researching words as I write if I think they might be too modern (with surprising results sometimes - some words I think are really modern-sounding are actually really old :) ) And it never occurred to me to look up alright, that's how much of a non-issue it was to me. I do write in Australian English, so I guess using it wasn't necessarily wrong, but I'd rather not annoy readers unnecessarily.
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: 120 Ways to Say "Itchy"
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on July 03, 2017, 08:04:41 am
July 3: 120 Ways to Say "Itchy" (http://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/itchy/)
Are you frustrated because you can't find synonyms for "itchy"? You're not alone. "Itchy" is a ticklish word with few close relatives.
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: 85 Alternatives for Clenched Fists
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on July 10, 2017, 06:48:38 am
85 Alternatives for Clenched Fists (http://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/clenched-fists/)
How often do your characters clench their fists? A fist is a tightly closed hand with the fingers doubled into the palm. So do clenching fists make sense?
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: Over 150 Ways to Say "Put"
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on July 17, 2017, 06:52:51 am
July 17: Over 150 Ways to Say "Put" (http://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/put/)
A writer can often replace "put" with a single verb that shows distinct action. However, "put" also appears in hundreds of phrases.
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: 100 Ways to Say "Sexy"
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on July 24, 2017, 06:41:20 am
July 24: 100 Ways to Say "Sexy" (http://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/sexy/)
If you discuss with others what "sexy" means, you'll find varying opinions. That's part of what makes it a weak adjective. However, you have alternatives.
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: 200 Ways to Say "Angry"
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on August 14, 2017, 06:41:09 am
August 14: 200 Ways to Say "Angry" (http://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/angry/)
"Angry" is an innocuous word--unless it appears too often. These alternatives will help you avoid "angry" repetitions (and angry readers).
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: 200 Ways to Say "Angry"
Post by: Evenstar on August 17, 2017, 01:13:48 pm
Have you got one for Beautiful?

I'm sick of trying to think up new ways to describe my heroines in my blurbs: I've done, beautiful, gorgeous, stunning, alluring and attractive... I'm out of adjectives.
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: 200 Ways to Say "Angry"
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on August 17, 2017, 01:16:11 pm
Have you got one for Beautiful?

I'm sick of trying to think up new ways to describe my heroines in my blurbs: I've done, beautiful, gorgeous, stunning, alluring and attractive... I'm out of adjectives.

Sure do, Evenstar.

http://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/ways-to-say-beautiful/ (http://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/ways-to-say-beautiful/)
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: 200 Ways to Say "Angry"
Post by: Evenstar on August 17, 2017, 04:28:09 pm
Sure do, Evenstar.

http://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/ways-to-say-beautiful/ (http://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/ways-to-say-beautiful/)

Nice one! Thanks Grandma  ;)

I bookmarked that page as I think I'll be using it a lot.

Though I did giggle a bit over "flabbergasting".  Not that it's a new word to me, but when you look at it it's kind of a strange one. What is flabber and why is it gasted? It doesn't sound very pretty in that context.
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: 200 Ways to Say "Angry"
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on August 17, 2017, 07:44:13 pm
Though I did giggle a bit over "flabbergasting".  Not that it's a new word to me, but when you look at it it's kind of a strange one. What is flabber and why is it gasted? It doesn't sound very pretty in that context.

 ;) "Flabbergasting" wouldn't sound right in a romance novel, but an adolescent with a crush might describe his love interest that way.
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: 200 Ways to Say "Angry"
Post by: LifesHumor on August 18, 2017, 06:27:16 am
Wow, I love your lists.
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: 200 Ways to Say "Angry"
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on August 18, 2017, 08:29:34 am
Wow, I love your lists.

Thanks, Mae!

Next week: Ways to Reduce "-ly" Adverb Abuse.
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: 6 Ways to Reduce "-ly" Adverb Abuse
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on August 21, 2017, 06:51:12 am
August 21: 6 Ways to Reduce "-ly" Adverb Abuse (http://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/adverb-abuse/)
Mark Twain found adverbs unexciting. So do readers. Energize your writing by pruning adverbs that end in "-ly". These steps will help.
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: 100+ Ways to Say "Sad"
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on August 28, 2017, 05:49:24 am
August 28: 100+ Ways to Say "Sad" (http://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/sad/)
Emotion in writing captivates readers, but if Mary Sue is sad on every page, she soon becomes irritating. Try these alternatives.
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: 100+ Ways to Say "Sad"
Post by: LifesHumor on September 01, 2017, 10:17:02 am
Do you have a tutorial on how to eliminate words like would and could? They are my kryptonite.
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: 100+ Ways to Say "Sad"
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on September 01, 2017, 11:50:11 am
Do you have a tutorial on how to eliminate words like would and could? They are my kryptonite.

Not yet, but I've added it to my to-do list. Thanks for the idea, LifesHumor.
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: Redundancies 102: 250+ Ways to Reduce Word Bloat
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on September 05, 2017, 11:09:54 am
September 4: Redundancies 102: 250+ Ways to Reduce Word Bloat (http://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/word-bloat/)
Is your WIP plagued by word bloat? This post provides over 250 phrases that you can delete, or replace with shorter alternatives.
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: 9 Writing "Rules" Examined
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on September 11, 2017, 06:20:25 am
September 11: Rules, Rules, Rules. 9 Writing "Rules" Examined (http://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/rules/)
Rules barrage writers from all sides. This post dissects a few rules and presents examples of why they might (or might not) be valid.
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: How to Exploit Negativity in Writing
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on September 18, 2017, 07:23:03 am
September 18: How to Exploit Negativity in Writing (http://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/negativity/)
Most people use negative words in dialogue. But would creative writing be stronger without all the nothings, nones, nevers, and nots?
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: How to Conquer Your Crutch Words
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on September 25, 2017, 07:03:58 am
September 25: How to Conquer Your Crutch Words (http://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/crutch-words/)
Crutch words contribute nothing more than fluff. These obnoxious weeds creep through your work and choke its vitality.
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: 9 Ways to Reduce Reader Confusion
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on October 02, 2017, 07:06:15 am
October 2: 9 Ways to Reduce Reader Confusion (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/confusion/)
If you confuse readers, your narrative will be ineffectual. This post suggests alternatives for several instances of confusing wording.
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: Action Beats: More than Dialogue Tag Surrogates
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on October 09, 2017, 09:45:04 am
October 9: Action Beats: More than Dialogue Tag Surrogates (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/action-beats/)
Action beats, like any literary device, distract readers if abused. Overreliance on them weakens writing.
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: Action Beats: More than Dialogue Tag Surrogates
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on October 10, 2017, 05:05:04 am
... but the moment it kills momentum, it has to go.

Exactly. And that is the point with so many literary devices, including show.
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: Action Beats: More than Dialogue Tag Surrogates
Post by: Paranormal Kitty on October 10, 2017, 06:12:05 am
I'm remembering when I tried to do only action beats and no dialogue tags. It didn't work.
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: Strong Verbs Cheat Sheet
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on October 16, 2017, 06:39:23 am
October 16: Strong Verbs Cheat Sheet (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/strong-verbs/)
Ambiguous verbs dilute writing. Strong verbs invigorate narrative and deliver precise meanings--without increasing word count.
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: Strong Verbs Cheat Sheet
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on October 16, 2017, 02:41:35 pm
Thanks grandmabirdie, I was just over using the word “look” today. Very timely!  :-*

 :-* Thanks, Twisted!
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: Why Effective Dialogue Often Ignores Writing "Rules"
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on October 23, 2017, 06:12:55 am
Why Effective Dialogue Often Ignores Writing "Rules" (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/dialogue-overrides-rules/)
Dialogue should sound real. It should motivate readers to finish "just one more chapter." After another. And another.
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: Why Effective Dialogue Often Ignores Writing "Rules"
Post by: Valerie A. on October 23, 2017, 12:08:41 pm
Thank you for these most helpful lists, GrandmaBirdie! 

I need to pay more attention to my characters' hands. Although I admit I had to look up ballerina nails  :)
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: Why Effective Dialogue Often Ignores Writing "Rules"
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on October 23, 2017, 01:23:27 pm
Thank you for these most helpful lists, GrandmaBirdie! 

I need to pay more attention to my characters' hands. Although I admit I had to look up ballerina nails  :)

My pleasure, Valerie!

If you know your audience, you can pick the most appropriate words. Since you had to look up ballerina nails, maybe it wouldn't be the best phrase for your readers.

I wish there were a formula for the perfect story ... No, wait. I take it back. That wouldn't work. AI would enable us to ask our computers to write stories for us. Can you imagine how that would turn out? :o
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: Why Effective Dialogue Often Ignores Writing "Rules"
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on October 30, 2017, 06:55:44 am
October 30: Other Ways to Say "Get" (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/get/)
GET ... or buy, pilfer, borrow, commandeer, mooch, requisition ... Strong verbs engage readers. Lackluster verbs bore them.
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: Other Ways to Say "Get"
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on October 31, 2017, 04:05:51 pm
That's a great list! I like that it is so comprehensive in covering the various usages of the word. Thanks!

Though I can't think of anything else I'd rather hear used to say "I'll get you my pretty, and your little dog too!"

 8) Thanks, M R! Next week I'll cover "because."
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: Other Ways to Say "Get"
Post by: MonkeyScribe on October 31, 2017, 04:13:36 pm
Though I can't think of anything else I'd rather hear used to say "I'll get you my pretty, and your little dog too!"

"I'll requisition you, my pretty, and commandeer your little dog, too!"
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: Alternatives for "Because"
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on November 06, 2017, 06:46:11 am
November 6: Alternatives for "Because" (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/because/)
Although finding replacements for "because" is difficult, it's not impossible. Try these alternatives.
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: Alternatives for "Because"
Post by: MonkeyScribe on November 06, 2017, 07:01:24 am
November 6: Alternatives for "Because" (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/because/)
Although finding replacements for "because" is difficult, it's not impossible. Try these alternatives.

Why would you look for an alternative to because?
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: Alternatives for "Because"
Post by: Paranormal Kitty on November 06, 2017, 08:10:47 am
Why would you look for an alternative to because?

Because.
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: Alternatives for "Because"
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on November 06, 2017, 08:38:11 am
Why would you look for an alternative to because?

The post explains why. ;) Like any word, if because is used too often in a short passage, it irritates readers.
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: Alternatives for "Because"
Post by: Paranormal Kitty on November 06, 2017, 09:13:26 am
I was taught never to use the word because in creative writing, so that list is very useful. Thank you!

That seems like strange advice.
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: Alternatives for "Because"
Post by: Paranormal Kitty on November 06, 2017, 10:29:29 am
My mother was an English teacher, so I didn’t tend to question her writing advice.

I think I would question it because (haha) I don't understand the logic? Why randomly ban one conjunction? There isn't really another word that has the same exact meaning either. It's like if you have a toolbox and decide that you can never use the Philips screwdriver for some reason, so you try to get by with the flat one.
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: Alternatives for "Because"
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on November 06, 2017, 10:41:25 am
I think I would question it because (haha) I don't understand the logic? Why randomly ban one conjunction? There isn't really another word that has the same exact meaning either. It's like if you have a toolbox and decide that you can never use the Philips screwdriver for some reason, so you try to get by with the flat one.

It's not a matter of randomly banning one conjunction; it's a matter of taming it when it occurs too often.
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: Alternatives for "Because"
Post by: MonkeyScribe on November 06, 2017, 11:28:12 am
The post explains why. ;) Like any word, if because is used too often in a short passage, it irritates readers.

"So does the replacement of common words with unusual and unnecessary variants," he opined.
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: Alternatives for "Because"
Post by: scott.marmorstein on November 07, 2017, 03:31:21 am
Oh, please tell me someone already said, "because, because, because, BEcause! Of the wonderful things he does! We're off to see the Wizard..." ;D :o :P
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: Alternatives for "Because"
Post by: MonkeyScribe on November 07, 2017, 05:16:39 am
Oh, please tell me someone already said, "because, because, because, BEcause! Of the wonderful things he does! We're off to see the Wizard..." ;D :o :P

No, you're the first for that particular joke. Thank goodness the songwriters didn't break out the thesaurus, right? ;)
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: Alternatives for "Because"
Post by: WHDean on November 07, 2017, 08:44:04 am
Some of your because-advice misses the mark by a longshot:

1. The news item and the statement by the ecological group use a rhetorical figure called repetitio, where a parallel structure is repeated (usually a triplet) to drive home a conclusion. Speechmakers use this device all the time.

2. Science writing guides tell science writers to use because in causal sentences instead of as, since, being that, due to, etc., because it's an unambiguously causal word. On top of that, most of your substitutions are deprecated because they're awkward and wordy: for reason that, inasmuch as, knowing as how (huh?), owing to the fact that, and so on. Ugh. You won't find a single disciplinary style guide that recommends those expressions over because.

3. Some of your substitutions change the meaning of the sentence. "Because she studied, she received excellent marks" is not equivalent to "As long as she studied, she received excellent marks." The first is a causal statement that explains a state of affairs. The second states the sufficient condition for maintaining a state of affairs.

4. Because is the wrong word in some of your examples: by reason of insanity is a familiar legal idiom that few experienced writers would bungle.

5. Many of your substitution examples are artificial because you've placed the dependent clause first, requiring a comma that could have been omitted if the clauses had been reversed and you'd used because: "The women walked home alone because she had no friends," "The teacher gave him detention because of his impudence," "She received excellent marks because she studied," "He missed the appetizer tray because he arrived late," "We decided to hire her because of her excellent references," "Visitors were required to wear gowns and masks because the patient had contracted a contagious infection," and so on. Compare, for example, "Visitors were required to wear gowns and masks inasmuch as the patient had contracted a contagious infection." What does that version even mean?

Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: Alternatives for "But"
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on November 13, 2017, 06:31:18 am
November 13: Alternatives for "But" (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/but/)
The simplest words are often the toughest to replace. Although rewording is an excellent option, sometimes direct substitutes function best.
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: Alternatives for "But"
Post by: MonkeyScribe on November 13, 2017, 09:23:38 am
November 13: Alternatives for "But" (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/but/)
The simplest words are often the toughest to replace. Although rewording is an excellent option, sometimes direct substitutes function best.

I looked at your list. If you're replacing the word but with "per contra" or "not taking that into consideration," or "brushing that aside," you won't be doing your readability any favors.
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: Alternatives for "But"
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on November 13, 2017, 10:13:10 am
I looked at your list. If you're replacing the word but with "per contra" or "not taking that into consideration," or "brushing that aside," you won't be doing your readability any favors.

For narrative, yes. However, dialogue trumps rules, and period pieces often use wording appropriate to the era.  ;)
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: Alternatives for "But"
Post by: Paranormal Kitty on November 13, 2017, 10:18:29 am
I looked at your list. If you're replacing the word but with "per contra" or "not taking that into consideration," or "brushing that aside," you won't be doing your readability any favors.

Yeah, I don't really understand the idea of replacing simple, building-block words with something fancier just to avoid repetition. Words like but, and, that, because, etc., are kind of like said in that they're semi-invisible. Using a bunch of obscure words and phrasings just throws the reader out of the story.
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: Alternatives for "But"
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on November 13, 2017, 10:25:16 am
Yeah, I don't really understand the idea of replacing simple, building-block words with something fancier just to avoid repetition. Words like but, and, that, because, etc., are kind of like said in that they're semi-invisible. Using a bunch of obscure words and phrasings just throws the reader out of the story.

Excessive repetition of any word throws readers out of a story.

As the post says, "Explore rewording before you consult this list. Then, if you require an alternative, choose with care."

Rather than rush to publish, I find that putting writing away for a few days or weeks gives new perspective. On a reread, the repetitions become obvious.
Title: Re: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: Alternatives for "But"
Post by: MonkeyScribe on November 13, 2017, 10:27:23 am
Yeah, I don't really understand the idea of replacing simple, building-block words with something fancier just to avoid repetition. Words like but, and, that, because, etc., are kind of like said in that they're semi-invisible. Using a bunch of obscure words and phrasings just throws the reader out of the story.

I do think it makes sense to look for unintentional echoes in your work and to make sure you're not leaning on the same sentence structure again and again. That sort of thing draws attention to itself in a bad way. But breaking out the thesaurus to replace common words is another matter. A word like "but" is almost punctuation, it's so invisible. You'd never say that your story has too many periods and commas and that you should replace them with some other alternative.
Title: Re: Grandma Birdie's Lists: Other Ways to Say "Use"
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on November 20, 2017, 06:35:31 am
November 20: Other Ways to Say "Use" (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/use/)
"Use" haunts public signs, hangs out in instruction manuals, and gluts novels. This post presents dozens of ways to mitigate "use" overuse.
Title: Re: Grandma Birdie's Lists: Alternatives for Really+Verb Phrases
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on November 27, 2017, 06:30:15 am
November 27: Alternatives for Really+Verb Phrases (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/really/)
Really, exceedingly, immensely, very ... These modifiers are *really* overused by many writers. Consider these alternatives for really+verb phrases.
Title: Re: Grandma Birdie's Lists: Do You Overuse Similes with "Like"?
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on December 04, 2017, 06:33:26 am
December 4: Do You Overuse Similes with "Like"? (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/like-similes/)
Ice cream is like similes. You enjoy that first creamy spoonful and delightful flavor. But what if you ingest too much too quickly?
Title: Re: Grandma Birdie's Lists: 16 Confusing Words and Phrases to Monitor in Writing
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on December 11, 2017, 06:49:35 am
December 11: 16 Confusing Words and Phrases to Monitor in Writing (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/confusing-words/)
You know what you mean, but will others understand? This post discusses a few common words and phrases that readers might misinterpret.
Title: Re: Grandma Birdie's Lists: Alternatives for "Afraid"
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on December 18, 2017, 07:02:49 am
December 18: Alternatives for "Afraid" (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/afraid/)
One flaw that might spur readers to abandon your book is excessive repetition. This post presents alternatives for "afraid."
(Last post until 2018.)
Title: Re: Grandma Birdie's Lists: Alternatives for "Afraid"
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on December 18, 2017, 08:26:02 am
Thanks, Twisted! Merry Christmas to you as well, and may 2018 prove your most successful year ever.
Title: Re: Grandma Birdie's Lists: 450+ Ways to Describe Legs
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on January 09, 2018, 06:55:51 am
January 8: 450+ Ways to Describe Legs (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/legs/)
Adjectives ... comparisons ... movement and feeling ... nouns ... anthropomorphization. Legs can add new dimension to writing.
Title: Re: Grandma Birdie's Lists: 450+ Ways to Describe Legs
Post by: IoneKeeling on January 09, 2018, 09:01:04 am
Thank you for all of these wonderful lists, Birdie. (I have your ebook, too)
Title: Re: Grandma Birdie's Lists: 450+ Ways to Describe Legs
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on January 09, 2018, 10:45:47 am
Thank you for all of these wonderful lists, Birdie. (I have your ebook, too)

Thank you, Ione!
Title: Re: Grandma Birdie's Lists: 450+ Ways to Describe Legs
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on January 09, 2018, 01:57:10 pm
Good to see you back, grandmabirdie! Hope you had a great Christmas and thanks for yet another great list!

Thanks, Twisted! Here's to a fantastic 2018 filled with opportunities and new friends.
Title: Re: Grandma Birdie's Lists: 450+ Ways to Describe Legs
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on January 10, 2018, 06:16:19 am
In my parent's day, legs were pins. As in "She/he has nice pins." Usually it was she. It was a different world then.

Ah, yes, words and writing styles change with the years. Period-fiction writers will choose different phrasing than modern-fiction novelists. I find etymonline.com an indispensable resource when researching words.
Title: Re: Abbreviations, Acronyms, and Terms Used by Writers
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on January 22, 2018, 07:09:13 am
January 22: Abbreviations, Acronyms, and Terms Used by Writers (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/abbrev/)
Are you overwhelmed by the jargon spouted by people in the publishing industry? You'll find many definitions here.

January 15: Every Author and Poet Needs This Measurement Tool (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/tool/)
Do you leave comments on blogs, ask bloggers to review your books, and volunteer for guest posts? Try this tool that helps you choose the right blogs.
Title: Re: 300+ Ways to Describe Noses
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on January 29, 2018, 06:49:43 am
This will be the last list for several weeks. Next Monday's blog post will explain why.

January 29: 300+ Ways to Describe Noses (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/noses/)
The nose is a word-tool that can add depth to writing. This post provides more than 300 ways for writers to incorporate and describe noses.
Title: Re: 500+ Words to Describe Faces
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on March 12, 2018, 07:07:00 am
I'm back after a few weeks off for surgery and recovery.  :)

March 12: 500+ Words to Describe Faces (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/faces/)
The face is usually the first thing people notice when they meet someone, and is often the body feature they rely on to make snap judgments.

March 5: 6 Tips for Remembering Story Ideas (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/story-ideas/)
If you're like most writers, ideas smack you on the head at the most inopportune times: while standing in line at the bank, when you're driving to work, just as you're falling asleep. No worries. Here are a few tips that will help you remember those ideas before they disappear into Lost-Idea Netherland.
Title: Re: 500+ Words to Describe Faces
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on March 12, 2018, 08:24:17 am
Thanks, Twisted! Every day brings a new improvement.
Title: Re: 500+ Words to Describe Faces
Post by: Paranormal Kitty on March 12, 2018, 07:42:37 pm
Why oh why did my brain see an extra e in there? Right there in the last word... Mind you, that list might have been useful also, if you have a particularly nasty setting for your story...

I hope she does that next time. It would come in handy for my next book, "The Hoarder and the Harlot". Or perhaps for a very niche brand of erotica.
Title: Re: 500+ Words to Describe Faces
Post by: Valerie A. on March 14, 2018, 02:22:35 pm
I hope she does that next time. It would come in handy for my next book, "The Hoarder and the Harlot". Or perhaps for a very niche brand of erotica.
It's not so much the descriptions as the things you can do with/to them. At least in my profession. http://veterinarymedicine.dvm360.com/just-ask-expert-what-fecal-analysis-method-do-you-use
Title: Re: 350+ Words to Describe Teeth
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on April 02, 2018, 08:55:43 am
April 2: 350+ Words to Describe Teeth (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/teeth/)
The average writer describes teeth to boost physical imagery. But the extraordinary writer describes them to advance character and plot development.
Title: Re: 350+ Words to Describe Teeth
Post by: anotherpage on April 03, 2018, 10:37:17 am
April 2: 350+ Words to Describe Teeth (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/teeth/)
The average writer describes teeth to boost physical imagery. But the extraordinary writer describes them to advance character and plot development.

I'm back after a few weeks off for surgery and recovery.  :)

March 12: 500+ Words to Describe Faces (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/faces/)
The face is usually the first thing people notice when they meet someone, and is often the body feature they rely on to make snap judgments.

March 5: 6 Tips for Remembering Story Ideas (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/story-ideas/)
If you're like most writers, ideas smack you on the head at the most inopportune times: while standing in line at the bank, when you're driving to work, just as you're falling asleep. No worries. Here are a few tips that will help you remember those ideas before they disappear into Lost-Idea Netherland.

This will be the last list for several weeks. Next Monday's blog post will explain why.

January 29: 300+ Ways to Describe Noses (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/noses/)
The nose is a word-tool that can add depth to writing. This post provides more than 300 ways for writers to incorporate and describe noses.

January 22: Abbreviations, Acronyms, and Terms Used by Writers (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/abbrev/)
Are you overwhelmed by the jargon spouted by people in the publishing industry? You'll find many definitions here.

January 15: Every Author and Poet Needs This Measurement Tool (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/tool/)
Do you leave comments on blogs, ask bloggers to review your books, and volunteer for guest posts? Try this tool that helps you choose the right blogs.

January 8: 450+ Ways to Describe Legs (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/legs/)
Adjectives ... comparisons ... movement and feeling ... nouns ... anthropomorphization. Legs can add new dimension to writing.

December 18: Alternatives for "Afraid" (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/afraid/)
One flaw that might spur readers to abandon your book is excessive repetition. This post presents alternatives for "afraid."
(Last post until 2018.)

December 11: 16 Confusing Words and Phrases to Monitor in Writing (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/confusing-words/)
You know what you mean, but will others understand? This post discusses a few common words and phrases that readers might misinterpret.

December 4: Do You Overuse Similes with "Like"? (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/like-similes/)
Ice cream is like similes. You enjoy that first creamy spoonful and delightful flavor. But what if you ingest too much too quickly?

November 27: Alternatives for Really+Verb Phrases (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/really/)
Really, exceedingly, immensely, very ... These modifiers are *really* overused by many writers. Consider these alternatives for really+verb phrases.

November 20: Other Ways to Say "Use" (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/use/)
"Use" haunts public signs, hangs out in instruction manuals, and gluts novels. This post presents dozens of ways to mitigate "use" overuse.

November 13: Alternatives for "But" (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/but/)
The simplest words are often the toughest to replace. Although rewording is an excellent option, sometimes direct substitutes function best.

November 6: Alternatives for "Because" (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/because/)
Although finding replacements for "because" is difficult, it's not impossible. Try these alternatives.

October 30: Other Ways to Say "Get" (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/get/)
GET ... or buy, pilfer, borrow, commandeer, mooch, requisition ... Strong verbs engage readers. Lackluster verbs bore them.

October 23: Why Effective Dialogue Often Ignores Writing "Rules" (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/dialogue-overrides-rules/)
Dialogue should sound real. It should motivate readers to finish "just one more chapter." After another. And another.

October 16: Strong Verbs Cheat Sheet (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/strong-verbs/)
Ambiguous verbs dilute writing. Strong verbs invigorate narrative and deliver precise meanings--without increasing word count.

October 9: Action Beats: More than Dialogue Tag Surrogates (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/action-beats/)
Action beats, like any literary device, distract readers if abused. Overreliance on them weakens writing.

October 2: 9 Ways to Reduce Reader Confusion (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/confusion/)
If you confuse readers, your narrative will be ineffectual. This post suggests alternatives for several instances of confusing wording.

September 25: How to Conquer Your Crutch Words (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/crutch-words/)
Crutch words contribute nothing more than fluff. These obnoxious weeds creep through your work and choke its vitality.

September 18: How to Exploit Negativity in Writing (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/negativity/)
Most people use negative words in dialogue. But would creative writing be stronger without all the nothings, nones, nevers, and nots?

September 11: Rules, Rules, Rules. 9 Writing "Rules" Examined (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/rules/)
Rules barrage writers from all sides. This post dissects a few rules and presents examples of why they might (or might not) be valid.

September 4: Redundancies 102: 250+ Ways to Reduce Word Bloat (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/word-bloat/)
Is your WIP plagued by word bloat? This post provides over 250 phrases that you can delete, or replace with shorter alternatives.

August 28: 100+ Ways to Say "Sad" (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/sad/)
Emotion in writing captivates readers, but if Mary Sue is sad on every page, she soon becomes irritating. Try these alternatives.

August 21: 6 Ways to Reduce "-ly" Adverb Abuse (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/adverb-abuse/)
Mark Twain found adverbs unexciting. So do readers. Energize your writing by pruning adverbs that end in "-ly." These steps will help.

August 14: 200 Ways to Say "Angry" (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/angry/)
"Angry" is an innocuous word--unless it appears too often. These alternatives will help you avoid "angry" repetitions (and angry readers).

July 24: 100 Ways to Say "Sexy" (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/sexy/)
If you discuss with others what "sexy" means, you'll find varying opinions. That's part of what makes it a weak adjective. However, you have alternatives.

July 17: Over 150 Ways to Say "Put" (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/put/)
A writer can often replace "put" with a single verb that shows distinct action. However, "put" also appears in hundreds of phrases.

July 10: 85 Alternatives for Clenched Fists (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/clenched-fists/)
How often do your characters clench their fists? A fist is a tightly closed hand with the fingers doubled into the palm. So do clenching fists make sense?

July 3: 120 Ways to Say "Itchy" (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/itchy/)
Are you frustrated because you can't find synonyms for "itchy"? You're not alone. "Itchy" is a ticklish word with few close relatives.

June 26: "Alright" vs. "All Right": Which is "Right"? (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/alright/)
Authors have penned "alright" for more than 130 years. Common sense suggests that public acceptance should justify the existence of a word. Right?

June 19: 50 Alternatives for "Wink" in Writing (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/wink/)
Do your characters wink so often that their eyes resemble flashing signal lights? A wink is a vague action that might be misconstrued. Try these alternatives.

June 12: Too Many Filter Words in Your Writing? 80 Alternatives (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/filters/)
Why should you avoid filter words? Think of the last time you stood in line at a bank or grocery store. Did you enjoy the wait?

June 5: 4 Guidelines for Stacked Modifiers (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/stacked-modifiers/)
Should you worry about adjective order or how many modifiers you include in a sequence? What about commas and hyphens? Read this article for the answers.

May 29: 100+ Ways to Say "Blush" (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/blush/)
Why do people blush? Writers should know their characters' motivations. Then, their duty is to show readers the cause of each blush.

May 22: Too Many Sighs of Relief in Your Writing? 75 Alternatives (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/sigh-of-relief/)
Do your protagonists sigh in relief or breathe sighs of relief on every second page? Maybe it's time for a rewrite.

May 15: 120 Ways to Say "Pout" (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/pout/)
The usual replacement chosen by writers for "pout" is "pursed lips," an unoriginal phrase. Try these alternatives instead.

May 8: 8 Guidelines for Contractions in Writing (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/contractions/)
Contractions were invented centuries ago. They make our writing more personable. Beware that you don't develop contractionitis, though.

May 1: Why You Should Avoid "Feel" in Writing: 50 Alternatives (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/why-you-should-avoid-feel-in-your-writing/)
Whenever you write about a character feeling something, you distance readers from your narrative. Here's how to avoid the "feel" trap.

April 24: 100 Ways to Say "Nice" (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/nice/)
"Nice" is an unpretentious word that doesn't pack a lot of punch. 100 alternatives.

April 17: 200 Ways to Say "Good" (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/good/)
Does "good" plague every second paragraph of your WIP? Try these alternatives.

April 10: 200 Ways to Say "Bad" (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/bad/)
Overuse will transform "bad" into a pest that annoys readers worse than an army of angry ants. Try these alternatives.

April 3: 100 Ways to Say "Clear the Throat" (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/clear-throat/)
Have you ever shared space with someone who clears their throat every few minutes? Annoying. Fictional characters who do that will annoy readers too.


Love this ^^^ Thanks.
Title: Re: 350+ Words to Describe Teeth
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on April 03, 2018, 10:52:16 am
Thanks, the voice. Wow. You quoted the entire initial post.  :o
Title: Re: 350+ Words to Describe Teeth
Post by: Pandorra on April 03, 2018, 10:58:05 am
Funny, I saw this and all I could think was that riddle... 50 white horses on a red hill, first they chomp, then they stomp then they stand still ...
Title: Re: 600+ Words to Describe Arms
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on April 09, 2018, 08:53:28 am
April 9: 600+ Words to Describe Arms (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/arms/)
Although your first thought might be to find words for physical descriptions of arms, consider also the deeper meanings they can add to writing.
Title: Re: 450+ Ways to Describe Abs
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on April 16, 2018, 09:21:28 am
April 16: 450+ Ways to Describe the Abdomen and Waist Area (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/abs/)
Abs, abdomen, stomach, waist, midsection ... No matter what you call this area of the body, well-chosen words will strengthen your writing.
Title: Re: 400+ Ways to Exploit Facial Expressions in Writing
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on April 23, 2018, 09:37:40 am
April 23: 400+ Ways to Exploit Facial Expressions in Writing (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/expressions/)
In real life, scowls, smiles, and curling lips reflect underlying emotions. They should do the same in fiction or creative nonfiction.
Title: Re: 400+ Opinion Adjectives
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on May 07, 2018, 09:14:11 am
May 7: 400+ Opinion Adjectives (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/opinion-adjectives/)
Songwriters have composed lyrics about loving arms, lying eyes, and cheating hearts. But can arms love? Can eyes lie, or hearts cheat?
Title: Re: 500+ Ways to Describe Ears
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on May 16, 2018, 06:47:57 am
May 16: 500+ Ways to Describe Ears (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/ears/)
Ears do more than hear or adorn a head. Check these adjectives, verbs, nouns, and phrases you can include in your WIP.
Title: Re: 500+ Ways to Describe Fire
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on May 30, 2018, 06:39:13 am
May 30: 500+ Ways to Describe Fire (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/fire/)
Would your WIP benefit from a few flames? Harness the power of fire in your narrative.
Title: Re: 500+ Ways to Describe Fire
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on June 01, 2018, 06:25:16 am
Where was this before I wrote a trilogy about fire? lol. Thanks for this!

 :)

Interesting book covers, M R.

Hmm. I've written a post about temperature, but not ice. I'll add it to my list.
Title: Re: 600+ Words to Describe Necks
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on June 06, 2018, 10:09:09 am
June 6: 600+ Words to Describe Necks (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/necks/)
To a would-be borrower, a loan officer’s neck might seem as scrawny as his compassion. How would you describe the neck of a sumo wrestler? A serial killer's victim? A coalminer?
Title: Re: 17 Ways for Writers to Lose Facebook Friends and Followers
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on June 13, 2018, 08:23:21 am
June 13: 17 Ways for Writers to Lose Facebook Friends and Followers (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/facebook/)
Here's how you can prevent people from becoming (or remaining) your friend on Facebook. Many no-nos also apply to Twitter and other social media.
Title: Re: 600+ Ways to Describe Lips and Mouths
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on June 27, 2018, 08:25:37 am
June 27: 600+ Ways to Describe Lips and Mouths (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/lips/)
More than kissing or eating machines, lips and mouths reflect overt or hidden emotions. This post provides hundreds of ways to describe them.
Title: Re: 600+ Ways to Describe Smiles
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on July 05, 2018, 09:48:17 am
June 27: 600+ Ways to Describe Smiles (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/smiles/)
Someone once said that everyone smiles in the same language. This post presents ways to include that language in writing and poetry.
Title: Re: 400+ Ways to Describe Frowns
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on July 25, 2018, 09:09:13 am
July 25: 400+ Ways to Describe Frowns (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/frowns/)
This post provides almost 500 ideas for adding frowns to writing: adjectives, verbs, nouns, props--and more.
Title: Re: 500+ Ways to Describe Body Build and Physique
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on August 22, 2018, 10:35:51 am
August 22: 500+ Ways to Describe Body Build and Physique (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/physique/)
The writer's duty when describing characters is to compromise between the desire to depict every wrinkle, and the need to keep readers engaged.
Title: Re: 500+ Ways to Describe Body Build and Physique
Post by: RobinGreaves on August 22, 2018, 12:59:43 pm
August 22: 500+ Ways to Describe Body Build and Physique (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/physique/)
The writer's duty when describing characters is to compromise between the desire to depict every wrinkle, and the need to keep readers engaged.

Always love your lists. Have one of your writer books, need to pick up the second.

Edited to add: just snagged it :)
Title: Re: 500+ Ways to Describe Body Build and Physique
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on August 22, 2018, 02:31:02 pm
Always love your lists. Have one of your writer books, need to pick up the second.

Edited to add: just snagged it :)

Thanks, Robin!

I'm working on The Writer's Body Lexicon now--for release sometime next year.
Title: Re: 500+ Ways to Describe Body Build and Physique
Post by: Hope on August 22, 2018, 03:00:44 pm
Thank you for posting these. I find them very helpful.
Title: Re: 500+ Ways to Describe Body Build and Physique
Post by: SA_Soule on August 22, 2018, 04:47:56 pm
This is an awesome post!  Thanks for sharing. :-)
Title: Re: 500+ Ways to Describe Body Build and Physique
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on August 22, 2018, 06:38:25 pm
Thank you for posting these. I find them very helpful.

This is an awesome post!  Thanks for sharing. :-)

:) Thanks for reading.
Title: Re: 600+ Ways to Describe Beards
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on August 29, 2018, 07:24:03 am
August 29: 600+ Ways to Describe Beards (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/beards/)
Beards represent more than mere facial hair. A character's beard should reflect his personality and lifestyle, revealing--or concealing--pertinent details.
Title: Re: 500+ Ways to Describe Mustaches
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on September 06, 2018, 10:06:51 am
September 5: 500+ Ways to Describe Mustaches (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/mustaches/)
Most adults trust men with facial hair more than they trust those with none. However, some people detest it. Where do your characters fit?
Title: Re: 500+ Ways to Describe Mustaches
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on September 10, 2018, 07:23:33 am


Someone also suggested Schnurrbart. I didn't consider foreign words for the post, but I can see where they might prove useful. Thanks for the idea, Flay.




edited to remove reference to deleted posts, PM if you have questions -- Ann

Title: Re: 700+ Ways to Describe Feet
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on September 19, 2018, 09:12:03 am
September 19: 700+ Ways to Describe Feet (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/feet/)
This post provides a few ways for writers to depict feet, whether they be clumsy, capable, humorous, humongous or ...
Title: Re: 800+ Ways to Describe Buttocks
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on September 26, 2018, 09:10:07 am
September 26: 800+ Ways to Describe Buttocks (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/butts/)
Unless you're prepared for immediate retribution, don't compare someone's hind end to a hippo's. Try some of the words in this post instead.
Title: Re: 800+ Ways to Describe Buttocks
Post by: Becca Mills on September 26, 2018, 10:01:56 am
September 26: 800+ Ways to Describe Buttocks (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/butts/)
Unless you're prepared for immediate retribution, don't compare someone's hind end to a hippo's. Try some of the words in this post instead.

Golden.  :D
Title: Re: 800+ Ways to Describe Buttocks
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on September 26, 2018, 10:36:37 am
Golden.  :D

Heh heh. Thanks, Becca.
Title: Re: 800+ Ways to Describe Chins
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on October 03, 2018, 09:20:27 am
October 3: 800+ Ways to Describe Chins (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/chins/)
A distinctive chin adds dimension to a character. This post can help create that dimension. Think of Patrick Stewart, Fergie, John Stamos, and Sandra Bullock--a few celebrities with memorable chins.
Title: Re: Reader Gripe #1
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on October 10, 2018, 10:10:20 am
October 10: Reader Gripe #1: Can You Guess What It Is? (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/gripe01/)
Do readers stick with your books, or do they grunt partway through and give up?
Title: Re: 600+ Ways to Describe Shoulders
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on October 17, 2018, 09:44:07 am
October 17: 600+ Ways to Describe Shoulders (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/shoulders/)
Aching, graceful, muscular, sun-kissed, windswept ... How do you describe your characters' shoulders?
Title: Re: 700+ Ways to Describe Backs
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on October 24, 2018, 09:02:09 am
October 24: 700+ Ways to Describe Backs (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/backs/)
If you're a writer or poet who needs to describe a character's back, you'll find help here--from emotion beats, to adjectives, to verbs.
Title: Re: 600+ Ways to Describe Breath and Breathing
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on November 21, 2018, 08:28:14 am
November 21: 600+ Ways to Describe Breath and Breathing (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/breath/)
Labored? Effortless? Panic-stricken? An asthmatic's breathing will differ from that of an athlete or a nervous job applicant.
Title: Re: 600+ Ways to Describe Breath and Breathing
Post by: Edward Lake on November 21, 2018, 09:39:31 pm
This is fantastic! Thank you!

Sent from my 5049W using Tapatalk

Title: Re: 600+ Ways to Describe Breath and Breathing
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on November 22, 2018, 04:58:52 am
This is fantastic! Thank you!

My pleasure, Edward.
Title: Re: 500+ Ways to Describe Elbows
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on December 05, 2018, 08:14:57 am
December 5: 500+ Ways to Describe Elbows (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/elbows/)
People tend to overlook elbows. However, judicious inclusion of this oft-ignored body part in your WIP adds depth to characters.
Title: Re: 400+ Ways to Describe Knuckles
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on December 12, 2018, 08:07:58 am
December 12: 400+ Ways to Describe Knuckles (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/knuckles/)
Do you crack your knuckles while waiting for inspiration? This post will help you knuckle down and get creative--with knuckles.
Title: Re: 600+ Ways to Describe Knees
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on December 19, 2018, 08:26:43 am
December 19: 600+ Ways to Describe Knees (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/knees/)
Whether you're looking for literal or figurative ways to depict knees in narrative, you'll find more than 600 options here.
Title: Re: 600+ Ways to Describe Toes
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on January 09, 2019, 08:13:11 am
January 9: 600+ Ways to Describe Toes (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/toes/)
What if a barefoot character has missing toes? Or her toe ring traps her foot in a crevice near the beach? Story prompts?
Title: Re: 600+ Ways to Describe Chests
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on January 16, 2019, 08:44:36 am
January 16: 600+ Ways to Describe Chests (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/chests/)
Whether you need literal or figurative ways to describe chests, you'll find helpful resources in this post.
Title: Re: 600+ Ways to Describe Chests
Post by: SA_Soule on January 16, 2019, 09:26:26 am
These lists are awesome! Thank you!

Your lexicons are so helpful, too.  :D
Title: Re: 600+ Ways to Describe Chests
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on January 16, 2019, 11:34:35 am
These lists are awesome! Thank you!

Your lexicons are so helpful, too.  :D

Thanks, SA! I've also started a series of posts called "Reader Gripe" on the blog. The third one will be out next Wednesday.
Title: Re: 700+ Ways to Describe Eyebrows
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on March 06, 2019, 11:17:06 am
March 6: 700+ Ways to Describe Eyebrows (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/eyebrows/)
Eyebrows, forehead fuzz, eye coifs ... No matter what writers call them, eyebrows can enhance descriptions, show emotion, or add humor.
Title: Re: 1300+ Ways to Describe Fingers
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on March 20, 2019, 09:29:13 am
March 20: 1300+ Ways to Describe Fingers (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/fingers01/)
Fingers perform complex tasks, soothe fevered brows, and wipe away tears. Discover ways to describe them in Part 1 of this post.
Title: Re: Index to GrandmaBirdie's Lists
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on April 17, 2019, 04:05:33 pm
April 17: PDF Index of GrandmaBirdie's Lists (https://kathysteinemann.com/archive.pdf)
You may have noticed that 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 (https://kathysteinemann.com/archive.pdf) I created recently.
Title: Re: Index to GrandmaBirdie's Lists
Post by: atree on May 03, 2019, 12:48:19 am
Excellent resource, thanks!
Title: Re: Index to GrandmaBirdie's Lists
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on May 03, 2019, 04:52:52 am
Excellent resource, thanks!

You're welcome!
Title: Re: Writing Rules: When Can You Break Them? (Rules 1-6)
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on July 31, 2019, 08:50:56 am
July 31: Writing Rules: When Can You Break Them? (Rules 1-6) (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/rules-who-cares-01/)
This is the first in a series of articles about so-called writing rules. When is it acceptable to break them?
Title: Re: Writing Rules: When Can You Break Them? (Rules 19-22)
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on November 20, 2019, 08:22:16 am
Writing Rules: When Can You Break Them? (Rules 19-22) (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/rules-who-cares-05/)
This is the fifth in a series of articles about so-called writing rules. When is it acceptable to break them?
Title: Re: Writing Rules: When Can You Break Them? (Rules 19-22)
Post by: Paranormal Kitty on November 20, 2019, 10:03:02 am
Love the part about passive voice.
Title: Re: Writing Rules: When Can You Break Them? (Rules 19-22)
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on November 20, 2019, 10:09:29 am
Love the part about passive voice.

 :) Yes, we're often told (by zombie editors) that passive voice should be avoided (by zombie writers).  :)
Title: Re: 1000+ Ways to Describe Snow Part 1
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on November 20, 2019, 06:43:44 pm
November 20: 1000+ Ways to Describe Snow Part 1 (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/snow-words-1/)
Snow can add intrigue or ambience to a WIP. This the first of two posts about ways to incorporate snow in creative writing.
Title: Re: 1000+ Ways to Describe Snow Part 1
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on November 27, 2019, 09:01:33 am
November 27: 1000+ Ways to Describe Snow Part 2 (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/snow-words-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.
Title: Re: Writing Rules: When Can You Break Them? (Rules 23-26)
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on December 18, 2019, 07:41:22 am
December 18: Writing Rules: When Can You Break Them? (Rules 23-26) (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/rules-who-cares-06/)
This is the sixth in a series of articles about so-called writing rules. When is it acceptable to break them?
Title: Re: 1200+ Ways to Describe the Sun Part 1
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on January 08, 2020, 08:47:58 am
January 8: 1200+ Ways to Describe the Sun Part 1 (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/sun-pt1/)
Does your WIP include the sun? Find sun adjectives, similes, metaphors, colors, and shapes in the first of two posts.
Title: Re: 1200+ Ways to Describe the Sun Part 1
Post by: Paranormal Kitty on January 08, 2020, 11:19:27 pm
Sun, that big orange scare ball in the sky.
Title: Re: 1200+ Ways to Describe the Sun Part 1
Post by: VisitasKeat on January 09, 2020, 01:31:18 am
From my fantasy series.:

Splash. The six mermaids emerged out of the lake's caked surface, their beautiful bodies teased by the arrows from the sun's quiver.
Title: Re: 1200+ Ways to Describe the Sun Part 1
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on January 09, 2020, 05:30:50 am
Sun, that big orange scare ball in the sky.

That certainly conveys the opinion of the narrator.
Title: Re: 1200+ Ways to Describe the Sun Part 1
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on January 09, 2020, 05:34:01 am
From my fantasy series.:

Splash. The six mermaids emerged out of the lake's caked surface, their beautiful bodies teased by the arrows from the sun's quiver.

Thumbs up. Kboards needs a like button. A tidbit like this will make people want to read your books.
Title: Re: 1200+ Ways to Describe the Sun Part 1
Post by: Ivan Brave on January 09, 2020, 06:03:16 am
I want a copy! Appreciate the way the book starts on "Beautiful" ;) Thanks for sharing the index and for keeping this alive. Again, want a copy . . . will get one soon:P
Title: Re: 1200+ Ways to Describe the Sun Part 1
Post by: VisitasKeat on January 10, 2020, 12:23:30 am
This one from my romantic suspense novel:

Sally stared at the distant hills. The sun was pleasantly red upon the valley. Its periphery appeared shy and rose, and they diffused and merged into the azure sky without the slightest fuss. The heavily wooded trees on either side of the valley sported mint-like tops. They painted the valley's exterior, brown and green. It appeared busy. Tweeting birds flew continuously from one side of the valley towards the other. The breeze was chilly and the air was damp with moisture. It had stopped raining an hour ago, but a mild drizzle played on, and it was filling ice cakes into the valley. Distant silvery clouds appeared trapped in the valley's backdrop. From time to time, they issued thin straw-like white lightnings. The scenic valley with its greenery and the cherry-like sun appeared like a classic cocktail glass drawn upon the canvas called Sky.
Title: Re: 1200+ Ways to Describe the Sun Part 2
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on January 22, 2020, 09:28:00 am
1200+ Ways to Describe the Sun Part 2 (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/sun-pt2/)
In the second part of this post you'll find sun verbs, nouns, props, cliches, and idioms.
Title: Re: 200+ Alternatives for Wide Eyes
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on February 05, 2020, 08:02:57 am
200+ Alternatives for Wide Eyes (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/wide-eyes/)
Whether characters widen their eyes or exhibit wide-eyed gazes, those actions soon bore readers. Try these alternatives.
Title: Re: 200+ Alternatives for Wide Eyes
Post by: LSBurton on February 05, 2020, 08:06:12 am
I'm 1000% linking this on my editing page. I see this a lot, which gets problematic when an author is using a first person POV. Describing one's autonomic response to surprise sorta steals away from the notion of the surprise itself.
Title: Re: 200+ Alternatives for Wide Eyes
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on February 05, 2020, 08:10:00 am
I'm 1000% linking this on my editing page. I see this a lot, which gets problematic when an author is using a first person POV. Describing one's autonomic response to surprise sorta steals away from the notion of the surprise itself.

Thanks, Lee!
Title: Re: 200+ Alternatives for Wide Eyes
Post by: VisitasKeat on February 05, 2020, 09:32:20 am
Sara's eyeballs vanished into a cloud even as she arched back to grab the knife hidden behind her tee shirt. And Pellary saw the evil intentions hatch in those egg-shaped eyes.
Title: Re: 350+ Ways to Replace the Verb "Take"
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on February 19, 2020, 08:15:02 am
350+ Ways to Replace the Verb "Take" (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/350-ways-to-replace-the-verb-take-a-word-list-for-writers/)
"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.
Title: Re: 350+ Ways to Replace the Verb "Take"
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on March 04, 2020, 09:37:09 am
500+ Ways to Replace the Verb "Make" (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/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.
Title: Re: 300+ Ways to Say "Happy"
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on March 18, 2020, 10:01:55 am
300+ Ways to Say "Happy" (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/happy/)
Rather than say a character is happy, writers can show the happiness or provide context that explains the reason for it.
Title: Re: 200+ Ways to Say "Embarrassed"
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on April 01, 2020, 12:51:53 pm
200+ Ways to Say "Embarrassed" (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/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.
Title: Re: 300+ Ways to Say "Love"
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on April 16, 2020, 09:05:02 am
300+ Ways to Say "Love" (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/love/)
Some people toss the word "love" around like confetti. This post provides ways to show how characters feel without overusing "love."
Title: Re: 150+ Ways to Say "Confused"
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on May 28, 2020, 07:37:49 am
150+ Ways to Say "Confused" (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/confused/)
Confused about how to mitigate the overuse of "confused" in your writing? Relax. That confusion means you recognize the problem.
Title: Re: 150+ Ways to Say "Overwhelmed"
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on June 11, 2020, 09:40:54 am
150+ Ways to Say "Overwhelmed" (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/overwhelmed/)
Book characters should experience emotional overwhelm when the story calls for it. Here are a few tools to overwhelm them without undue repetition.
Title: Re: 150+ Ways to Say "Disappointed"
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on June 25, 2020, 08:50:32 am
150+ Ways to Say "Disappointed" (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/disappointed/)
If you're disappointed by the number of times you've found "disappointed" in your WIP, these alternatives might rescue you.
Title: Re: 200+ Ways to Say "Excited"
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on July 09, 2020, 06:51:31 am
200+ Ways to Say "Excited" (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/excited/)
Writers want readers to be excited by their words. This post will help wordcrafters create excitement without overuse of "excited" or "excitement."
Title: Re: Tips to Stack the Odds When Submitting to Literary Journals
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on July 23, 2020, 09:24:26 am
Tips to Stack the Odds When Submitting to Literary Journals (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/stack-the-odds/)
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.
Title: Re: 700+ Ways to Describe Villains
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on August 06, 2020, 07:34:34 am
700+ Ways to Describe Villains (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/villainous/)
Alfred Hitchcock said, "The more successful the villain, the more successful the picture." Try these ways to create word pictures with believable villains.
Title: Re: How to Create a Title for Your Book
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on August 26, 2020, 01:28:26 pm
How to Create a Title for Your Book (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/book-title/)
A title might not seem important when starting a WIP, but once a book nears completion, a definitive title becomes increasingly important.
Title: Re: Grammar Goofs to Avoid at the Office: Part One
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on September 09, 2020, 07:57:50 am
Grammar Goofs to Avoid at the Office: Part One (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/grammar-goofs01/)
This is the first in a series of posts about grammar goofs that might irritate people in your office or alienate savvy readers.
Title: Re: Grammar Goofs to Avoid at the Office: Part Two
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on September 16, 2020, 09:25:35 am
Grammar Goofs to Avoid at the Office: Part Two (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/grammar-goofs02/)
Five more grammar blunders that might raise eyebrows at the office or alienate smart readers.
Title: Re: 4 Ways to Turn a Notebook Into a Powerful Writing Tool
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on September 23, 2020, 08:52:43 am
4 Ways to Turn a Notebook Into a Powerful Writing Tool (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/notebook/)
Lori Wade explains how writers can turn a paper notebook into a powerful writing assistant.
Title: Re: 60+ Ways to Replace the Adverb "Just"
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on October 07, 2020, 09:43:51 am
60+ Ways to Replace the Adverb "Just" (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/just/)
Are you just astounded by the number of repetitions of the adverb just in your WIP? Just try these alternatives.
Title: Re: 60+ Ways to Replace "That"
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on October 14, 2020, 09:52:39 am
60+ Ways to Replace "That" (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/that/)
If "that" is a word that plagues your WIP, I'm here to tell you that there are methods that you can use to cure that plague.
Title: Re: 60+ Ways to Replace "That"
Post by: Karen Monroe on October 14, 2020, 11:59:29 am
PDF Index of GrandmaBirdie's Lists (https://kathysteinemann.com/archive.pdf)
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 (https://kathysteinemann.com/archive.pdf).

60+ Ways to Replace "That" (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/that/)
If "that" is a word that plagues your WIP, I'm here to tell you that there are methods that you can use to cure that plague.

60+ Ways to Replace the Adverb "Just" (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/just/)
Are you just astounded by the number of repetitions of the adverb just in your WIP? Just try these alternatives.

4 Ways to Turn a Notebook Into a Powerful Writing Tool (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/notebook/)
Lori Wade explains how writers can turn a paper notebook into a powerful writing assistant.

Grammar Goofs to Avoid at the Office: Part Two (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/grammar-goofs02/)
Five more grammar blunders that might raise eyebrows at the office or alienate smart readers.

Grammar Goofs to Avoid at the Office: Part One (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/grammar-goofs01/)
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 (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/book-title/)
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 (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/villainous/)
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 (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/stack-the-odds/)
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" (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/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" (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/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" (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/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" (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/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" (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/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" (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/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" (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/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" (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/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" (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/350-ways-to-replace-the-verb-take-a-word-list-for-writers/)
"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 (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/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 (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/sun-pt2/)
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 (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/sun-pt1/)
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) (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/rules-who-cares-06/)
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 (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/snow-words-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 (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/snow-words-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) (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/rules-who-cares-05/)
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) (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/rules-who-cares-04/)
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) (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/rules-who-cares-03/)
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) (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/rules-who-cares-02/)
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) (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/rules-who-cares-01/)
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 (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/fingers01/)
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 (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/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 (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/chests/)
Whether you need literal or figurative ways to describe chests, you'll find helpful resources in this post.

600+ Ways to Describe Toes (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/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 (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/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 (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/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 (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/elbows/)
People tend to overlook elbows. However, judicious inclusion of this oft-ignored body part in your WIP adds depth to characters.

Very helpful.

Roger that.
Title: Re: 60+ Ways to Replace "That"
Post by: LDB on October 14, 2020, 04:23:53 pm
I didn't read all those pages so if it's been covered and is a problem being brought back, apologies. In many, if not most cases, the best way to handle "that" is to just drop it and let the sentence flow together without it.
Title: Re: 200+ Ways to Replace "Hate"
Post by: GrandmaBirdie on October 28, 2020, 08:28:45 am
200+ Ways to Replace "Hate" (https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/hate/)
Hate can range from dislike to loathing. If you've discovered too many occurrences of "hate" in your WIP, check these ways to replace them.