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Finding the Positive Tone

As someone whose job is to write things, it may seem odd that I’m offering this list. However, I’m not the type of person who looks for the negative in everything. It always seems to find me, though.

When you first start out, you have to carefully consider your goals with the story. What are you trying to say? Should you be aiming for a happy ending, or does your character simply exist to have a good time and there’s no moral to the story? You have to be practical and realistic as the author in charge of their world.

You have to know that there will be ups and downs and to keep readers on your side, your character should suffer setbacks and disappointments. But, if you have a generous heart, enjoy frolicking in their world, and don’t have a completely unrealistic ending, then why are you telling this story right now?

Being upbeat always brings out a specific type of voice in us as writers. But what if you wanted a fresh way to look at the word itself? That’s what this list is all about.

  • Amiable
  • Amused
  • Appreciative
  • Authoritative
  • Benevolent
  • Brave
  • Calm
  • Cheerful
  • Cheery
  • Compassionate
  • Complimentary
  • Confident
  • Consoling
  • Dreamy
  • Ecstatic
  • Elated
  • Elevated
  • Encouraging
  • Energetic
  • Enthusiastic
  • Excited
  • Exuberant
  • Fanciful
  • Friendly
  • Happy
  • Hopeful
  • Impassioned
  • Jovial
  • Joyful
  • Jubilant
  • Lighthearted
  • Loving
  • Optimistic
  • Passionate
  • Playful
  • Pleasant
  • Proud
  • Relaxed
  • Reverent
  • Romantic
  • Soothing
  • Surprised
  • Sweet
  • Sympathetic
  • Vibrant
  • Whimsical

Sometimes, vivacious isn’t the way to look at a character’s motivations. It would be best if you always pushed yourself to see it from their point of view, which might not necessarily be yours.

I suppose you could make an argument that you have to be positive to write a positive character. I’m sure that’s a common practice among some writers. However, I feel that could have a detrimental effect on the quality of content they produce and is counterproductive in terms of getting the words on the page.

I’m not of the school that you need to be in love to write about love.

What do you think?

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Words That Describe Light

“Light” is an important word to describe. Light is often an integral part of what you are describing; this is particularly true when describing colors or lighting effects. So, when writing about light, it is vital to use the word accurately.

There is an infographic floating around, and I’ve included it in text form because I also alphabetized it and split some of the words that were separated by a forward slash.

Anthropomorphic Traits

  • Alert
  • Beckoning
  • Comforting
  • Concealing
  • Dancing
  • Depressing
  • Erratic
  • Fickle
  • Forgiving
  • Frugal
  • Gentle
  • Harsh
  • Intimidating
  • Inviting
  • Kind
  • Lively
  • Lonely
  • Longevity
  • Mean
  • Mysterious
  • Nostalgic
  • Offensive
  • Optimistic
  • Overpowering
  • Patronizing
  • Pessimistic
  • Powerful
  • Relentless
  • Restrained
  • Revealing
  • Ruthless
  • Searching
  • Secretive
  • Somber
  • Superficial
  • Suspicious
  • Unrelenting
  • Welcoming

Light sources

  • Aurora
  • Beacon
  • Bulb
  • Candle
  • Daybreak
  • Fire
  • Firefly
  • Flame
  • Floodlight
  • Lantern
  • Limelight
  • Moonlight
  • Prism
  • Spark
  • Spotlight
  • Starburst
  • Starlight
  • Sunbeam
  • Sunlight
  • Sunrise
  • Sunset

Physical behaviors

  • Beam
  • Bend
  • Brighten
  • Burn
  • Burst
  • Cast
  • Crowd
  • Diffuse
  • Downpour
  • Enduring
  • Filter through
  • Flare
  • Flash
  • Flicker
  • Flood
  • Flow
  • Glare
  • Gleam
  • Glimmer
  • Glint
  • Glitter
  • Glow
  • Illuminate
  • Inflame
  • Kindle
  • Lighten
  • Lower
  • Meld
  • Melt
  • Probing
  • Radiate
  • Reflect
  • Refract
  • Rise
  • Scatter
  • Seep
  • Settle onto
  • Shine
  • Shower
  • Shut
  • Sit onto
  • Sparkle
  • Spectrum
  • Spill
  • Split
  • Wave
  • Wavelength

Physical descriptions

  • Ablaze
  • Aglow
  • Angled
  • Aspect
  • Blinding
  • Bright
  • Brilliant
  • Burnished
  • Clear
  • Cloudless
  • Cloudy
  • Cold
  • Colorful
  • Concentrated
  • Confined
  • Contained
  • Curved
  • Dark
  • Deep
  • Dense
  • Dim
  • Distinct
  • Divided
  • Dull
  • Dusty
  • Faint
  • Fast
  • Fractional
  • Fragmentary
  • Fresh
  • Ghostly
  • Glossy
  • Hard
  • Heavy
  • High
  • Hot
  • Indistinct
  • Lambent
  • Linear
  • Long
  • Long-lived
  • Low
  • Lucent
  • Luminous
  • Luster
  • Lustrous
  • Mild
  • Moderate
  • Musky
  • Neutral
  • Obscured
  • Parallel
  • Pitch
  • Polished
  • Pulsing
  • Quick
  • Ray
  • Refulgent
  • Resplendent
  • Rich
  • Scintillated
  • Sectional
  • Segmented
  • Sepia
  • Shadow
  • Shallow
  • Sharp
  • Sheen
  • Short-lived
  • Single
  • Slant
  • Slight
  • Slow
  • Smooth
  • Soft
  • Sparse
  • Spectral
  • Splendor
  • Strong
  • Sunny
  • Swift
  • Thick
  • Thin
  • Tidal
  • Unclouded
  • Warm
  • Weak

Types

  • Fluorescent
  • Highlight
  • Incandescent
  • Lowlight
  • Luminescent
  • Phosphorescent
  • White
  • Yellow

It’s the 21st century, and we’ve come a long way since the invention of the light bulb. So think about it: what does the color temperature of light do to the overall feel of a room? Apply that thought to your story. How can light – or dark – change the story that you’re attempting to tell?

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Narrating Sounds

As a writer, I spend a lot of time describing things, and I’m always looking for new and exciting ways to do it. Through my research and experimentation, I have found that narrating sounds can be a powerful tool to describe a scene or set the tone of a work.

Narrating sounds is the easiest way to improve the vividness of your descriptions. I feel it adds a lot of subtle richness to your writing. But, of course, you should always use words that sound natural in the world of your story.

  • Bang
  • Bark
  • Beep
  • Bellow
  • Big
  • Blare
  • Blast
  • Blat
  • Bleat
  • Boisterous
  • Bong
  • Boom
  • Bray
  • Buzz
  • Cackle
  • Cacophonous
  • Cheep
  • Chime
  • Chirp
  • Clack
  • Clang
  • Clank
  • Clap
  • Clatter
  • Click
  • Clink
  • Cluck
  • Clunk
  • Crack
  • Crackle
  • Crash
  • Creak
  • Ding-dong
  • Drip
  • Drum
  • Fizz
  • Glug
  • Gnash
  • Gobble
  • Grate
  • Grind
  • Groan
  • Growl
  • Grumble
  • Grunt
  • Gurgle
  • Hiss
  • Hoot
  • Howl
  • Hum
  • Jangle
  • Jungle
  • Knock
  • Mew
  • Moan
  • Moo
  • Murmur
  • Neigh
  • Patter
  • Peal
  • Peep
  • Ping
  • Pop
  • Pound
  • Pow
  • Pulse
  • Purr
  • Put-put
  • Rap
  • Rat-a-tat
  • Rattle
  • Ring
  • Rip
  • Roar
  • Rumble
  • Rush
  • Rustle
  • Scream
  • Screech
  • Scrunch
  • Shriek
  • Sizzle
  • Slam
  • Snap
  • Snarl
  • Snort
  • Splash
  • Splutter
  • Sputter
  • Squawk
  • Squeak
  • Squeal
  • Squish
  • Stamp
  • Swish
  • Swoosh
  • Tap
  • Tear
  • Throb
  • Thud
  • Thump
  • Thunder
  • Tick
  • Ticktock
  • Tinkle
  • Toot
  • Trill
  • Twang
  • Twitter
  • Wail
  • Wheeze
  • Whine
  • Whir
  • Whisper
  • Whistle
  • Yap
  • Yelp
  • Zap

Writing about sounds can be easy or difficult depending on how you approach it. I hope that the prompts I gave here will help you write more vivid stories with sounds that come alive.

If you still have a morning commute, I find that being alone in your thoughts while going through the motions is an educational opportunity to work on your novel, poem, or screenplay by making you more observant. There are myriad sounds that you can work with and name on your own. Who knows, you might even come up with a word that’s not on this list.

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How to Chop Up a Manuscript

Happy New Year’s! I hope 2022 is better for all of us.

Guilliean

Adding – or deleting – a paragraph to a manuscript is an important question to ask. Some passages are deemed more important than others and some argue that removing a paragraph could change the entire tone of a novel, while a short story can be a single paragraph.

One of the most significant mistakes writers make, yet one of the most common, is adding paragraphs to a manuscript that are unneeded. Writers often add sections to their manuscripts without knowing why or what purpose they are serving. Usually, the person who does this is not even aware that they are doing it, and they will add a paragraph here and there without knowing what the section will do to their manuscript.

Chopping implies deleting, but it means embracing the white space and the silence between words for this article. A simple carriage return can do a lot of work, physically, emotionally, and visually for you and the reader.

So when should a writer add one?

  • Whenever a new character appears
  • When a new event occurs
  • When a new idea is introduced
  • When the setting changes
  • When a new person is speaking
  • When time moves forward or backward
  • When the “camera” moves

If you’re not sure whether you should add or remove a new paragraph, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Does the information flow like a sequence of sentences or like an open network?
  2. Does the information support the thesis, or does it take the reader off-topic?
  3. Is there another place where this information can be added?

No matter what you decide, make sure your paragraph breaks are relevant. That way, even if you choose to delete a paragraph during the editing phase, you’ll have plenty of room to move and play around if it serves the story.

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What Are the Steps of the Hero’s Journey?

Happy Christmas to those who celebrate!

Guilliean

The hero’s journey, as a theme, is a well-known trope in literature and film, typically dealing with a protagonist’s struggle with a given goal. The hero’s journey typically starts with a call to adventure, a call to save a fellow being from a dire situation.

The hero chooses to go on the quest, and after a series of trials and tribulations, typically climaxing in a final “Fate’s Deed,” the hero achieves his goal and returns home.

Joseph Campbell described the hero’s journey as three parts in the book “The Hero with a Thousand Faces.” So give that a go if you want to see how he tackles the topic.

In general, the hero’s journey is a familiar narrative pattern that consists of the following stages in order:

  1. Introduction to the hero’s world
  2. Call to action/adventure
  3. Cross the threshold
  4. Meet the mentor
  5. Taking on the first challenge
  6. Temptation
  7. Experiencing a dark, inner moment
  8. Final battle
  9. Return home

There are many ways to take on this list, of course. You can always examine a story, movie, or video game, and you’ll find it actively used.

Imagine your protagonist taking on the hero’s journey in their way. Consider this a writing exercise. It’s okay if you’re not relying upon it to guide your narrative, but write an outline of your story where they’re taking on a version of the hero’s journey.

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41 Words to Describe a Voice

You don’t want to reveal too much about your character in the first chapter. However, I am of the firm belief that if you write an excellent first chapter, the rest of the story will fall into place. Then, when you get into chapter two, you can delve into a character’s background and give little hints to the reader of what they are like in the story’s context.

Even something as simple as describing their voice can set the perfect scene in the mind’s eye of a reader.

It isn’t easy to describe a voice in a story without sounding cliché or overdramatic. So, I thought I would make a list of 41 possible words to describe a voice.

  1. adenoidal
  2. appealing
  3. breathing
  4. brittle
  5. croaky
  6. dead
  7. disembodied
  8. flat
  9. fruity
  10. grating
  11. gravelly
  12. gruff
  13. guttural
  14. high-pitched
  15. hoarse
  16. honeyed
  17. husky
  18. low
  19. matter-of-fact
  20. monotonous
  21. nasal
  22. orotund
  23. penetrating
  24. plummy
  25. quietly
  26. raucous
  27. ringing
  28. shrill
  29. silvery
  30. singsong
  31. small
  32. smoky
  33. strangled
  34. strident
  35. taut
  36. thin
  37. throaty
  38. tight
  39. tremulous
  40. wheezy
  41. wobbly

Stories are made unique by the voices of their authors. The way you tell a story, the words you use, the cadence, the inflection all contribute to the story. Think about the voices of the people in the story as the author. How do they sound? How do they speak? Do you want them to sound like you or someone you know? How do you want them to talk in the tone of the story?

In summary, I found these phrases exciting and will be using some of them in my works. Imagine using “honeyed” instead of “ingratiating.” For example:

“The sound of his honeyed voice made her skin crawl.”

This is the kind of thing that makes for good reading.

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How to Write a One-Page Synopsis

A synopsis, or pitch, is a summary of your story. It’s a quick, straightforward, and easy way to show editors and agents what your book is about and why they should care. It helps them assess your writing, storytelling, and character development skills. Finally, it’s an excellent way to get a meaningful look at an unpublished work.

An even more compact version of a synopsis could be the elevator pitch, describing your story in one or two sentences.

In the NaNoWriMo community, there are planners, and there are pantsers, meaning writers who write by the seat of their pants. I’ve found that I’m a bit of both. My goal as your writing concierge is to gently remind you that you can’t call yourself a writer until you get the words on the page, period.

In my stories that require significant world-building, I have found that the first draft comes much easier if I plan the story upfront. My process starts with creating a robust one-page outline. Then, use it as a guide to help you focus on the details of your story.

There are several steps you should think about following to create a compelling one-page synopsis. First, you should treat it like your manuscript: it should be well-written, interesting, engaging, and – most importantly – succinct.

First Paragraph

The barebones, who-what-where-when-why questions are what you’re going to be answering here. So challenge yourself to answer them in one sentence.

  1. Introduce the protagonist and antagonist.
  2. What’s the inciting incident, i.e. what started their story?
  3. Where are they?
  4. When is this happening?
  5. What are they doing in response to the inciting incident?

Second Paragraph

Here you get into the meaty part of your outline.

  1. What are the protagonist’s plans?
  2. What are the antagonist’s plans?
  3. Choose three plot points in the middle.
  4. Where are they going to do it?
  5. When are they?
  6. Why are they?
  7. Mention any important characters if you’re unable to mention their presence and affect on the narrative in a prior sentence.

Third Paragraph

This section is your last chance to razzle-dazzle the person reading your synopsis; lay it on thick!

  1. How does the story end?
  2. Are you able to tie the ending back to the inciting incident?

In summary, a one-page synopsis is helpful for the writer, the editor, and the agent. The writer can use it to determine if they can delete or rework scenes so that the story remains focused and moves quickly. The editor can see where they could cut the story down. Finally, the agent can decide whether a particular author is a good fit.

If you’re not someone who writes a synopsis, challenge yourself to do one for your current manuscript. Maybe you’ll find something new.

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Three Stages of Editing

If you’ve completed a draft of a written work, you’ve experienced the first stage of editing. The first pass removes the obvious errors (which are easy to catch) and makes the text flow better. The second stage of editing is the meat of the job, where you’re going to work to make the text more readable, refine details such as the dialogue, and tighten the prose. After that, you’re left with your first draft, which is ready for your second stage of editing.

If your writing is not very good, know that the hardest part of the writing process is simply getting the words on the page.

Like they say in the movie business, “fix it in post,” meaning fix it in post-production. You can’t revise something that doesn’t exist. This list will get you thinking about what to do.

These editing stages are necessary in order to ensure that the written work is appropriate for its target audience.

  1. Macro edits: you’re going to be doing some (or a lot of) rewriting and making big picture changes in plot, character arcs, etc. Sometimes you’ll take a thread and pull it in a completely different direction. That’s part of the process! But does it serve the overall manuscript? That’s something to consider.
  2. Line edits: here you’re going to think about medium-level issues such as repetition of phrases, accuracy, and so on. If your character(s) think a certain way about making pizza, but somehow further along in the story, you completely change the rules, you’re going to have to think about changing it one way or another.
  3. Copy edits: nitpicking for small details, like punctuation, spelling, and grammar. I would say proofreading falls under this category. You’re feeling pretty good about the content but you need a laser-sharp focus because how many times have you read something with misspelled words or poor grammar? Doesn’t it take you out of the enjoyment of the story?

This is a simplified look at the process, of course. Don’t know where to start? Look at simplifying the content, switching the wordy parts for short, simple sentences. You may want to consider if you’re using overly flowery or verbose language that keeps the audience out of the loop. If you establish a rule in the world of your story, stick to it. Don’t change it, otherwise, you lose your reader. If you feel fairly confident, you can begin adding things to your writing too.

In conclusion, these stages are not fixed and can overlap and vary in size and length. You can do each of these three stages of editing on your own or with a friend or a professional editor. Depending on what you’re writing and how you’re editing, you may want to focus on one stage rather than another. Keep in mind that you’re never done editing and you can always go back and edit more.

A good editor can be a priceless asset to your creative process. It’s a service that I offer here through Writeropolis Industries. Let’s talk!

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The Artist’s Way

There is a lot of advice out there to help writers improve their craft and become better writers. Some of this advice is good, some tips are wonderful, and some are downright awful. The Artist’s Way is a tool, not a system; it’s a book to help you find what works best for you. This course provides a solid foundation to get you started.

When you get the book, one of the first things you read is a promise that you make to yourself.

I’m providing them here for you as a checklist. It’s something that’s helped me over the years, and I feel confident it’ll help you too.

  1. Creativity is the natural order of life. Life is energy; pure creative energy.
  2. There is an underlying, in-dwelling creative force infusing all of life – including ourselves.
  3. When we open ourselves to our creativity, we open ourselves to the creator’s creativity within us and our lives.
  4. We are ourselves, creations. And we, in turn, are meant to continue creativity by being creative ourselves.
  5. Creativity is god’s gift to us. Using our creativity is our gift back to God.
  6. The refusal to be creative itself will and is counter to our true nature.
  7. When we open ourselves to exploring our creativity, we open ourselves to God: good, orderly direction.
  8. As we open our creative channel to the creator, many gentle but powerful changes are to be expected.
  9. It is safe to open ourselves up to greater and greater creativity.
  10. Our creative dreams and yearning come from a divine source. As we move towards our dreams, we move towards our divinity.

“The Artist’s Way” is a guided experience to help you understand your creative process, learn to work through your fears, and develop the qualities of a successful artist. It is also a multi-level course that will give you practical tools to improve every area of your life.

In conclusion, it doesn’t matter what the book says; the important thing is to do it. The book itself is not the answer, but it can be a powerful tool if it gets you to make the introspective journey inward. It is not a book for everyone, but it is a book that can help everyone.