Posted in book review, books, learning to write, nonfiction, writing

Book Review: The Emotion Thesaurus

emotion thesaurusHave you ever been stuck in a scene and your trying to describe a certain emotion, but you’re sick and tired of using the same emotions over and over, or tired of the heated gaze and clinched fists being the sum of your character’s physical show of anger? Well, guess what? Some smart ladies Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi came up with a nifty cheat sheet of 75 different emotions you can dive into and get a whole list of physical cues to break up the monotony of those glares and fists.

On each page of The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression there is a definition of the emotion, a whole list of physical cues, some internal sensations, mental responses, cues of acute or long-term effects of the emotion, a may escalate list (of different emotions the original emotion might cause), cues of what may happen when suppressing the emotion for too long, and even a neat little writer’s tip box to enhance the emotion in other ways.

Is that cool, or what?

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Posted in book review, books, how to write, learning to write, Michael Knost, nonfiction

Book Review: Writers Workshop of Science Fiction and Fantasy

writers workshop I ordered Writer’s Workshop of Science Fiction and Fantasy when it first came out earlier this year, knowing it would be great because of it’s predecessor Writers Workshop of Horror. Both of these books should be on all aspiring writers bookshelves, as they give wonderful insights on all sorts of writing areas.

The best part about Writer Workshop of Science Fiction and Fantasy is that you don’t have to be a writer of science fiction or fantasy to get something useful out of the book. Most of the topics touch on areas that span all genres of story telling. Just some of the topics covered in this book are;  Beginnings, Middles, Endings, Unbending Gender, Tactics of World building, and Rhetoric and Style.

Editor Michael Knost has brought exceptional authors together to tell how they do it right. It’s then up to the reader to decide what works best for them as they read and apply the techniques to their own writing.

Posted in book review, books, how to write, learning to write, Michael Knost, nonfiction

Book Review: Writers Workshop of Horror

workshop horror Writers Workshop of Horror is a fabulous book complied by editor Michael Knost who brings authors together to talk about what works for them in certain areas of the writing craft. Authors like Tom Piccirilli, Johnathan Maberry, Tim Waggoner, Joe R. Lansdale, and Brain Keene.

Not a horror writer? No problem. That’s the best part about the book. The topics talked about in this book work for any genre from romance to steampunk. Just a few topics discussed are; Point of View, Dialogue, Manuscript Formatting, and Ten Submission Flaws that Drive Editors Nuts.

After reading this book, I felt like I’d been apart of a whole weekend of writer workshops instead of at home reading a book about writing. Each topic has a unique and individualized approach that makes it fun to read as well as informative. This is a must have book for aspiring writers.

Posted in book review, character development, how to write, learning to write, nonfiction, plotting a novel, plotting a story, writing book, Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook

Book Review: Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook

I recently was told about Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook by Donald Mass and decided to order a copy and give it a shot. Wow! What a difference it has made in the way I approach a story. This book is a wonderful way to help work out the character and plot kinks of a novel, but it is also very helpful with short stories as well.

This book is sectioned off into three parts Part 1: Character Development, Part 2: Plot Development, and Part 3: General Story Techniques. Each part then goes into great detail about each element within the categories. I love that Donal Mass has included a little “lesson” and follows up with exercises where I can input my own information, depending on the story I want to work on.

I highly recommend this book to anyone serious about writing a novel, or writing period. I, for one, give it huge points just for helping me figure out the tangled weave that is my novel Blood Feud. Thank you, Donald Mass.

Note: This Writing The Breakout Novel Workbook is NOT the same as the Writing the Breakout Novel. I have yet to read the latter, but from reviews, the Workbook is geared more to actively working on the plot of a story. The Writing Breakout Novel seems to take a more academic approach.

Posted in book review, learning to write, nonfiction, writing book, writing elements

Book Review: Between the Lines

Between the Lines by Jessica Page Morrell was highly recommeded to me by other fellow writers, but I only recently purchased and read it. I wished I’d done it sooner. It’s a wonderful book that really dives into the more subtle elements of fiction writing. It’s already in my favorite book category, and I’ve only read up to chapter 8 so far.

This book is all about honing the blending and balance of words and structure to create a superior piece of work. Some of my favorite chapters consist of topics such as; what to do about backstory, epiphanies and revelations, foreshadowing, and imagery. These chapters has already changed the way I approach my writing, and I’m especially looking forward to reading the other topics, which includes (but not limited to); pacing, sensory surround, and subplots.

I love that this book goes into topics you can’t really find in other writing books, and if you can find it, the topics feel rushed. In Between the Lines, Jessica Morrell takes the time to break down each topic until it’s quite understandable. If you are looking for a way to give your writing that shining polish and deeper meaning, this is the book that will help you get there.

 

Posted in Barbara Baig, book review, books, experimental writing, free writing, How to Be a Writer, learning to write, nonfiction, writer's block, writing book

Book Review: How to Be a Writer

At the beginning of the month I picked up a book that drastically changed my way of thinking as a writer. It is why I took a bit of a hiatus from this blog so that I could focus on the book and what it had to offer. I have to say it has made a significant impact on me. Barbara Baig’s How to be a Writer gave me what no other writing book or writing class had given me, permission to explore and experiment in my writing.

My writing up to this point has been a self guided tour of something I’ve always wanted to do. I lacked the specific education and knowledge of how to be a writer, so I struck out on my own to find my way. In that journey, I found I really enjoyed writing and what it had to offer me. I occasionally had good ideas to write about, but as I wrote and practiced the craft of writing, I was constantly blocked by insufficient ideas to write about and believed I had a really bad case of writer’s block.

This became quite frustrating even though I had helpful advice from writing friends, online classes and other writing books. I knew in my head about the writing process and how to fight writer’s block, but it wasn’t until I read Barbara’s book that explained it in a way I could understand. I realized that it wasn’t that I had writer’s block, but my approach to writing was hindering my ability to write.

Barbara’s book is full of writing exercises centered around free writing, which asks questions that keep the pen moving. She also explains the writing process in great detail, breaking it down into individual parts of the seven main writer’s powers (Creativity, Memory and Expertise, Observation, Imagination, The Subconscious, Curiosity, and the Sherlock Holmes School of Writing). She discusses how to develop the content-mind of a writer and how to write to readers instead of for readers.

The book is all about empowering the writer and I highly recommend it anyone who is just beginning as a writer, or the seasoned writer who needs to get back in touch with their inner writer. It certainly helped me and I will continue to use on my never-ending journey of how to be a writer.