Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

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Writing Prompt Wednesday

July 25, 2018
mandyevebarnett


evocative

On Sunday I attended a writing workshop entitled Texture and Emotion in Your Writing.

It was an informative and fun afternoon and we all learned a lot about word usage and creating more evocative sentences.

I would like to share my responses to a couple of exercises and then you can have a go too.

Food: 10 minute exercise. Describe the meal. Taste/Smell/Colour/Feel

Angus and Bella have gone to an upscale restaurant for a special celebration. The menu consists of shrimp on skewers with a dipping sauce, a salad of baby spinach and fruit with a lemon dressing, steak, roasted potatoes and a green vegetable. 

The sizzling of hot fat spitting from the skillet of skewered shrimp heralded the arrival of their meal. There was a salty aroma as the shrimp cooked. A see-through sauce placed in the middle of the table, added a spicy smell – it’s flakes of chili visible as the liquid clung to each dipped shrimp. Vibrant spinach leave tossed with fruit glistened in white bowls and a citrus aroma from the dressing added to their watering mouths.

Thick steaks sat on oval plates, juices flowing with a meaty char-grilled lines. Roasted potatoes broke open from browned skin into fluffy white interiors. Sliced zucchini ribboned along the side with steaming broccoli and petit pois.

Odours/Smell: 5 minute exercise. Write a better, more evocative, sentence to replace the following.

Bob came in smelling of the barn.

Dusty and hot, Bob walked into the kitchen smelling earthy and of dried grass.

Verbs and Adjectives: 10 minute exercise. Make a more textured sentence so we know something more of his mood or purpose.

Ambrose stood in the dark doorway.

With his hat lowered on his head to hide his face, Ambrose stood in the shadows of the doorway, watching intently for the bedroom light to switch off. The tip of his cigarette glowed as he inhaled, the only evidence of his presence. The gun weighed heavily in his jacket pocket. When the light went out his heart pulsed harder and adrenaline flowed through his body.

Let’s see who can come up with other evocative sentences. Please share them in the comments.

Get that writing Muse working!

This quote explains it much better: “Good writing is supposed to evoke sensations in the reader – not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon.”
E.L. Doctorow

Creative Catharsis…

December 5, 2013
mandyevebarnett


Catharsis – definition: a feeling of release, purification, or purgation of the emotions (often through art)

emotional

I would love to hear from you all regarding your thoughts on how your ‘art’ effects your emotions or visa versa.

In my own experience, I have always been creative and have embraced numerous art forms in my life. Drawing and painting were my initial loves, which gradually progressed into sculpture and then a combination of the two. I dappled in knitting, crochet,  sewing, oil paints, charcoal and pencil drawings (some which were entered by my art teacher for an exam I have not thought possible), pottery and a few more ‘art and craft’ hobbies.

Writing, apart from a few stories for my children, was not something I considered at all. The reason? I have no idea to be truthful. I happened across a writing group once I emigrated to Canada and thought I could try it out among other offered groups and crafts.

As the saying goes I went from strength to strength after a couple of meetings and became ‘hooked’.

As a free flow writer my subconscious is the main source for the component of my stories. I have found that when I write I feel calm and happy. A day or so without writing finds me irritable and unhappy. That is the extent of my obsession and love of the craft.

This graph is fascinating and I will be studying it in detail later. There is a reason we have ‘body’ issues beyond the obvious after all.

I wish you joy in your writing as we head towards 2014 and another year of words, projects, manuscripts and fellowship.

What are your writing  plans for 2014?

Two for the ‘Post’ of One…!

May 7, 2013
mandyevebarnett


As I was interviewed yesterday I left the word of the day off my post so we can look at two words today.

Rhetoric – definition: the art of using language skillfully

English: Cobbe portrait, claimed to be a portr...

English: Cobbe portrait, claimed to be a portrait of William Shakespeare done while he was alive Lëtzebuergesch: Uelegporträt vum William Shakespeare am Alter vu 46 Joer, gemoolt 1610 zu Liefzäite vum Dichter, haut am Besëtz vum Konschtrestaurator Alec Cobbe. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We all endeavor to be skillful with our words when writing, whether it is fiction, poetry or non-fiction. Conveying an idea or an image in as few words as possible is certainly an art. Such as, instead of using ‘the sky was pink in color as if made of candyfloss’ we can just say ‘ the sky was blush’. Our readers will have the same image with either one but the second sentence is tighter. The art of writing has changed over the decades as our world has altered from polite conversation over afternoon tea to the rushed technological conversation we now experience.  Language, I believe, has suffered as we endeavor to ‘text speak‘ in the belief it is allowing us more ‘time’. However, how much true understanding and emotion are we loosing by shortening everything into acronyms? These are open to misinterpretation not only as the actual ‘letters’ may be misunderstood as to their meaning but also without inflection of any kind the messages can convey the exact opposite response than was meant.

Obviously we can not speak like William Shakespeare all day long, although I know a few people who would love that! However, communicating with wonderful language evokes an  emotional response from whoever is listening. Will we ultimately loose verbal language to text speak and only experience proper language through the written form? I certainly hope not although there have been documented instances of the youth of today compiling exam papers purely in acronyms and worse still thinking it was perfectly acceptable. I have to count myself lucky to have a 17 year daughter who loves Shakespeare and reads excessively.

Take a look at this link:

http://skysairyou.wordpress.com/2013/05/07/the-georges-say-cut-the-crap-and-write-better/

CrystalBallLarge

Prescience – definition: knowledge or awareness of a thing before they exist or happen

We have all experienced déjà vu at one time or another. There are many trains of thought as to what this phenomenon actually is but to have foresight is rather a different thing all together. Maybe it is a person’s ability to gauge the emotional, physical and spiritual atmosphere around them that gives them this awareness? There are many old tales of an elder able to predict when a storm was coming as they ‘could feel it in their bones’ or they knew the sex of a baby prior to the birth. With the knowledge that the human brain is not used to its full capacity, could it be that we all have some capability of prescience?

There have been movies made, such as Foresight and Premonition, that use this phenomenon to good effect. How would it feel, though, to actually ‘see’ the future? Would you want to? As a young girl I foolishly agreed to be part of a wigi board reading in the art room of my secondary school. The metal window frames were almost impossible to open and close with a struggle as they had layers of paint on them and each window had a heavy blackout blind on it. We closed all the windows, drew the blinds and sat in a circle. There was a lot of giggling and messing about until the pointer moved! Suffice to say we all stopped laughing. One friend became very tense, then fainted. When she woke up she was absolutely convinced she has seen her father die. A very frightening experience and one I will never repeat. My friend kept waiting for her father to look as old as he had in her vision…how horrid is that? I don’t think it is beneficial to know our future – let’s enjoy the here and now.

Do you have a foresight experience you would care to share?

Piquant – Add Spice to Your Writing…

April 13, 2013
mandyevebarnett


Piquant – definition: 1) agreeably stimulating to the taste; spicy. 2) pleasingly exciting

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We all want our stories to engage our readers. To have them sympathize with a character or actively dislike, means we have accomplished our goal. Crafting a well rounded character does take time but pays dividends. Whether a stand alone novel or a series, characters need to be ‘believable’ and their emotions concisely and clearly revealed. There must be a balance between action and scene setting, too much of one or the other will ‘fatigue’ our readers – there must be ebb and flow.

I found this delightful post, which uses cooking terminology to express these points.

http://www.chapterandverse.ca/worth-reading/214-spice-up-your-writing.html

What resources do you use to add ‘flavor’?

Our own life experiences are a great source of ’emotion’ and as writers we tend to use them and those of the people around us. Noticing how an emotion affects the physical demeanor allows us to show not tell what a character is feeling. I was fortunate enough to win a copy of the Emotional Thesaurus a while ago. It is an excellent resource and sections each ’emotion’ into physical signals, internal sensations, mental responses and cues for each one. With an additional writers tip as a footnote.

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Do you have tips you can share?

Newest article for Strathcona Connect…

October 13, 2012
mandyevebarnett


Family

As the old saying goes ‘nothing stays the same’ – children grow up and leave home, relationships alter or falter, younger children may have issues with peer groups or school and the elderly have to adjust to new circumstances and lessened abilities. Life can throw us curve balls at any time and how we cope depends on our personality and family situation. Each event affects us in many ways, emotionally, physically or financially and it is our ability to deal with the transformation these events bring that can make us stronger with help. Our capability to adjust has many variants – it might be our age or how we relate to others or how well we know ourselves. No matter what life throws at us we can seek help – there is no stigma in using professionals to help clarify, support or assist us in coping or adjusting. We do not have to struggle alone and it is certainly not a sign of weakness to reach out.

One look at the demographics of Sherwood Park gives us a real insight into our fellow residents – married couples hold 60% and single persons 27% of the population, leaving 9% for divorced and 5% for widowed.  Within these figures the age groups are fairly evenly spread – 0 – 4yrs 20%, 15 – 24 yrs 14%, 25 – 34 yrs 11%, 35 – 44 yrs 16%, 45 – 54 yrs 17%, 55 – 64 yrs 13% and 64 plus yrs 10%.  (www.zoocasa.com) Within these groups there is the potential for a diverse range of difficulties, which can be influenced by the ethnicities of the population. The top ethnicities are 42% British, 17% Canadian, 14% Ukrainian and 11% French (www.zoocasa.com) This makes Sherwood a real melting pot of diversity giving its inhabitants a uniqueness all its own, which makes for a interesting range of problems to overcome.

There are a multitude of resources we can access through the Internet, our own practitioner or the local library as well as community services. Whatever your situation and cultural background there is a local community service that can help with any circumstances we find ourselves facing. That one local resource is Family & Community Services (http://www.strathcona.ca/departments/family-community-services.aspx) This Strathcona County service covers a variety of social programs for a wide range of family problems from teens to the elderly and everything in-between, giving answers and support to best effect. You may be surprised how diverse the service is once you browse their web site and there is always a friendly voice on the other end of the phone.

In times of strife the ‘virtual’ options for social connections are not enough – face to face conversations and understanding means so much more and in the end leads to better resolution. So don’t feel isolated, there is help available within a stone’s throw.

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