Writing Books with Emotional Savvy

Hello everyone!

Recently, an author friend of mine, Olivia Berrier, recommended I get The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. I followed her advice. At that time, I also purchased The Emotional Wound Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Psychological Trauma by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi.

Both books help writers to find different ways of showing, rather than telling, how the character feels.

 

Emotional ThesaurusThe Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi

The front of the book has a section titled “Writing Nonverbal Emotions: Avoiding Common Problems.” The main portion of the book is the emotions thesaurus.

Each emotion spans two pages of the book and has the following sections:

  • Definition: a brief explanation of what the emotion is
  • Physical Signals: a list of physical manifestations of or reactions to the emotion
  • Internal Sensations: a list of internal manifestations of or reactions to the emotion
  • Mental Responses: a list of mental reactions to the emotion
  • Cues of Acute or Long-term Emotion: a list of different ways people react to feeling that emotion intensely or for an extended period of time
  • May Escalate To: the emotion(s) to which the featured emotion often morphs or intensifies
  • Cues of Suppressed Emotion: physical signals, internal sensations, or mental responses to trying to hide or hold in the featured emotion
  • Writer’s Tip: advice about writing emotions

 

Emotional Wound ThesaurusThe Emotional Wound Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Psychological Trauma by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi

At the front of the book are several article like entries. These offer advice about caring for oneself as a writer, defining what an emotional wound is, and raising awareness to how to develop and write about a character’s emotional wound.

In the thesaurus section of the book, the types of traumas that cause emotional wounds are broken into seven categories: Crime and Victimization, Disabilities and Disfigurements, Failures and Mistakes, Injustice and Hardship, Misplaced Trust and Betrayals, Specific Childhood Wounds, and Traumatic Events. Beneath each category are more specific events or situations. For example, two of the more specific situations listed under “Misplaced Trust and Betrayals” are “A Sibling’s Betrayal” and “A Toxic Relationship.”

Each event or situation resulting in an emotional wound spans two pages of the book and has the following sections:

  • Notes or Examples:
    • Notes talk about the event or situation and how it could have come about or impacted the character.
    • Examples sometimes contain the same information as a note and always have a list of causes or very specific events or situations. For example, two of the perpetrators/situations listed under “Being Bullied” are “A jealous friend or resentful classmate” and “Co-workers who were threatened by one’s status or prowess.”
  • Basic Needs Often Compromised by This Wound: universal needs that often are not met or not fully met when an individual has the featured emotional wound
  • False Beliefs that Could Be Embraced: a list of erroneous beliefs an individual might have as a result of the featured emotional wound
  • The Character May Fear…: a list of common fears for people who have the featured emotional wound
  • Possible Responses and Results: a list of ways people handle/respond (positively or negatively) to the featured trauma/emotional wound
  • Personality Traits that May Form: attributes and flaws that often develop as a result of the emotional wound
  • Triggers That Might Aggravate This Wound: a list of events, sights, or situations that might trigger the trauma/jab at the emotional wound
  • Opportunities to Face or Overcome This Wound: a list of situations or realizations that are difficult for the person who has the emotional wound

I hope you find these books as helpful as I do.

Happy writing!

Katie

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Objects and Inference

Hello everyone!

Have you ever heard the expression, “You can tell a lot about a woman by the contents of her purse?” If you look at what someone carries with them or how they decorate their home, you get an idea about their likes, interests, habits, etc.

Try to describe yourself through things. Go through your house and choose eight objects that represent you as a person. You only get to use eight items to portray yourself, so make each one count. See if you can hint at more than one thing about yourself through your selections. (This skill comes in handy with word choice as well.)

Now that you’ve created your own object character bio, ask someone to choose eight items at random. Your challenge for the next two weeks is to create a character based off of the eight things you were given. If this does not resonate with you or if you finish early, you can also try to write a short story that contains all eight objects in a logical way.

Happy writing!

Katie

P.S.

What were you able to infer about me from the eight objects I shared? I’d love to find out! Feel free to post your inferences in the comments section below.

NaNoWriMo and Beyond

Hello everyone!

Happy National Novel Writing Month!  I was looking around for advice on how to get the most out of NaNoWriMo and found “41 Insider Tips for Winning NaNoWriMo 2017.”

What I love about this article is that it gives advice about post November editing as well as ideas for how to prep for writing your novel and how to meet your NaNoWriMo goals.  A lot of the tips can be applied to novel writing in general, not just to NaNoWriMo.

quoteWhether your goal is to write 50,000 words before December 1st or to strengthen a novel you’re currently editing, I hope you find “41 Insider Tips for Winning NaNoWriMo 2017” to be helpful.

Happy writing!

Katie

Inspiring Lines

Hello everyone!

Anyone who knows me is aware that I love theaters, both cinematic and stage.  Sometimes, while watching a movie or a performance, a line or concept will stand out to me.  If I tap into my writer side, I will notice that two storytelling possibilities are presenting themselves:

  1. Take the idea behind the line and use it as the theme for a story.
  2. Use the line as the springboard for a character. Write the line into that character’s dialogue and let the tone of that line guide a scene or the character’s personality through the story.  (If you choose this option, be sure to go back later and change the line so there is not a copyright infringement.)  Remember, with this option, you are using the words of the line, but you can change the tone, situation, and body language.  For example, “Why so serious?” from The Dark Knight (2008) could be asked innocently or flirtatiously.

Your writing challenge for the next two weeks is to select one of the well-known, and in some cases abused, movie lines below.  Then, write a short story using the line in one of the methods described above.

  1. “There’s no place like home.” – The Wizard of Oz (1939)
  2. “Just a flesh wound.” – Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
  3. “No. I am your father.” – Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
  4. “Snakes. Why’d it have to be snakes?” – Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
  5. “Go ahead, make my day.” – Sudden Impact (1983)
  6. “Nobody puts Baby in a corner.” – Dirty Dancing (1987)
  7. “You can’t handle the truth!” – A Few Good Men (1992)
  8. “Houston, we have a problem.” – Apollo 13 (1995)
  9. “Show me the money.” – Jerry Maguire (1996)
  10. “You make me want to be a better man.” – As Good As It Gets (1997)

Happy writing!

Katie

Book Clubs: Making Them Part of Your Platform

Hello everyone!

book club 7I recently read an interview with Kathryn Craft, conducted by Donna Galanti: “Book Club Tips: Are You and Your Novel Book Club-Worthy?” I had never considered how making my book more appealing to book clubs could be a marketing strategy, but the points brought up during the interview made a lot of sense. I hope you find the interview as thought provoking as I did.

Happy writing!

Katie

Agents: Things to Consider BEFORE You Sign

Hello everyone!

In the FAQ section of her website, author-illustrator Debbie Ridpath Ohi answered the question “How did you get your agent? Any advice on how I can get an agent?” She gives a list of things to consider BEFORE signing with an agent. She also provides several helpful links where people can learn more about what an agent does, querying an agent, and even look up agents who are currently accepting unsolicited queries.

I highly recommend that you read Debbie Ridpath Ohi’s answer to the questions: “How did you get your agent? Any advice on how I can get an agent?”, and that you check out the other links she shared.

Happy writing!

Katie

Foreshadowing

Hello everyone!

Have you ever read a novel or short story and when you came to the end of it realized that the author had been hinting at the ending all along? This is effective foreshadowing.

foreshadowing-power-point-1-6-638As I have been editing my novel, The Four Crystals, I have been trying to sprinkle foreshadowing throughout the story without making the ending too obvious. It’s hard!

Below are three articles about foreshadowing and how to correctly incorporate it into your own writing.

For a quick overview of how to foreshadow, read “Narrative Elements: Foreshadowing” on Author’s Craft.

For some suggestions and examples of how to foreshadow, read  “Nine Examples of Foreshadowing in Fiction” by Harvey Chapman.

For a longer explanation of what foreshadowing is, a list of common literary methods used to foreshadow, and an exercise to help you spot bad foreshadowing (referred to in the post as “telegraphing,” but what I like to call “oversharing”), read “Foreshadowing – The Guide To Hooking Readers” by Mladen Reljanović.

photo(1)The main thing to remember about foreshadowing is that it should be subtle, like the aroma of food preparing you for a big meal. Two pitfalls to avoid are oversharing and not following through on foreshadowing (this does not apply to deliberate red herrings). Oversharing is like shoving food down someone’s throat. They don’t enjoy it. Equally bad is foreshadowing something and then not following through. This is like seeing a restaurant, smelling the food cooking, and then being told the restaurant is closed for the day. You leave the restaurant dissatisfied and angry.

Happy writing and good luck foreshadowing!

Katie