Tag Archives: perception

Writing Prompt Wednesday


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

Be True to Your Character…


Veridical – definition: truthful : veracious : genuine

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When creating characters we must remember to ensure that each character acts and responds true to their given personality. Character profiles are a good way of ‘getting to know’ our characters. Here are a few examples but obviously you can tailor make your own depending on your genre.

http://imaginingsofacreativewriter.blogspot.ca/2012/05/character-profile-sheet.html

http://ladyoffenn.wordpress.com/2013/05/24/phineas/

http://www.epiguide.com/ep101/writing/charchart.html

With such a guideline our characters become clearer. A lot of the details will never reach the pages of our manuscript but knowing our characters well makes for a more believable personality as they struggle through the trials and tribulations we subject them to. As most of you know I am a ‘free flow’ writer so everything is by the seat of my pants until the editing starts. This is where I find character flaws or great character traits that I can correct or build upon. My characters live with me during the writing process and usually lead me in directions I had never considered – I’m sure many of you can relate to that. As these personalities gain strength they become more ‘real’ and that is the moment their true selves appear.

Do you have any tips regarding character profiles or character building?

Pragmatic v Idealistic – A Writers Balance…


Pragmatic – definition: concerned with practical rather than intellectual, abstract or artistic matters.

pragmaticWhen we write we are most certainly not pragmatic but artistic and that is our main focus at the time. Creating is the fun part of our art but if we are to follow our dream of being published we have to ‘go to the other side’…practical issues range from editing to beta readers to submissions to that all important publishing date followed by the inevitable promotional efforts we must pursue.

Getting a book published is no mean feat – there are many ‘layers’ to it and we have to invest time and effort in a good deal of research and the learning of new skills to accomplish it. You are bound to have had the same conversations I have with people, who are totally oblivious to the mechanics of having a book on a bookstore shelf or online site. It is not as easy as walking into the store and asking them to put it on display or ‘dump’ a manuscript onto a website. Once you begin explaining you either get the ‘Oh my gosh I had no idea’ or an uninterested eye roll. Whichever response you get, they start to understand it is not as easy as it seems and that most writers/authors are ‘unknown’ to the public at large. Not everyone is a Stephen King or J.K. Rowling! (although we all secretly wish we were).

Perception is the key here. I couldn’t resist putting this graph here. It reminded me of a’ sales in the office’ course I took many moons ago. The exact same graph was used then and clearly shows that we have to be extremely precise in how we explain our vision. We endeavor to produce a blurb that will explain our story but also entice our readers. Having spent months with our characters it is easy to forget that others do not yet have that connection and can write descriptions that fall short. There is something to say for leaving a manuscript/story alone for some time, having disconnected ourselves for a month or so will hopefully allow us to ‘see’ our creation from another perspective. That distance makes all the difference in most cases.  It is also true when we describe our imaginary worlds, our ‘view’ may not be that of our reader, the trick is to get it as close as we can by using our words carefully.

Do you have a tip for writing a great blurb?

3260585819-project_management

Rumours – Good or Bad…?


Scuttlebutt – definition : rumour, gossip.Gossip

As writers and authors we have to be aware of how we present ourselves not only on a face to face basis but also on social media. An extreme political or religious view, either on the vast array of media sites or in person, can seriously harm how we are perceived. If we are disrespectful, arrogant or act aloof our prospective and current readers opinion of us will alter negatively and more than likely stop them buying our books, following us in cyber space or attending author readings. Be aware of the links and comments you make and ‘like’. If something is too extreme you may chose not just to hide it but unfriend or block the person responsible.

It is also best to be circumspect on the types of ‘friends’ you are adding. If someone is politically bias, posting foul language, pornography or has extreme religious views, their opinions could be a interpreted as your own. Utilizing the settings on your particular media is a good way to ensure your professional image is not damaged, as is separating personal and professional pages or sites. Try to view your ‘virtual’ presence as a stranger would to make sure it is reflecting you positively.

Of course there are exceptions to every rule and being a member of a particular group could be advantageous for your genre or novel. However, if you are a multi-genre author you have the option to use different sites specific to each one or write under pen names.

Gossip can be a good thing if it is in regard to how wonderful someone found your latest novel or how marvellous you were at a local book signing. Maintain a professional but friendly demeanour whether in the real world or the cyber one. Engaging with your fans, or prospective ones to discuss your novel’s characters, the plot or your creative processes is a great way to entice a greater readership. Nonetheless remember to keep a balance between your professional life and your personal one.

Have you experienced any negative feedback?

negative feedback system
negative feedback system (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My thoughts on fantasy…


Web site - presidiacreative.com
Web site – presidiacreative.com

This blog subject started as a ‘tweet’ back in October, I had not thought about exploring it until one of my followers – Melissa McPhail replied with ‘I love that idea, Mandy! Do you expound on it in a blog anywhere?’ To be honest I meant to get to it much sooner than this but as we all know life has a habit of throwing stuff at us and changing our direction. So on this Christmas Eve with a little time on my hands – at last – I will expound as Melissa kindly asked.

Firstly, I looked at what the definition of fantasy was:

  • The faculty or activity of imaging things that are, impossible or improbable.
  • The creative imagination; unrestrained fancy.
  • A capricious or fantastic idea.
  • Fiction characterized by highly fanciful or supernatural elements.

Each of these definitions gives us the perceived idea of fantasy in a nicely tailored clarification putting it into a neat genre box. However, I have a personal interpretation one that looks deeper than the surface and trite pigeon holed explanations.

I believe that fantasy is our alter ego expanding our consciousness.

Just think of your dreams – they are fantastical in nature with obscure meanings and imagery. We have tried for decades to interpret them and give them meaning. Every vision has been given a ‘symbolic’ implication or significance in an attempt to harness them into something easier to understand, but what if these visions are something else entirely? What if it is another part of ourselves struggling to be acknowledged, a part of us that uses our subconscious mind to explore beyond the normal daily perceptions?

There are numerous theories about spiritual memory, trace elements of ancient wisdom and reincarnation and all of them are fascinating. What links them together though? All of them are the result of a deep seated belief that there is something more within us. There are few of us who can say ‘what you see is what I am through and through’ because we all have an alter ego. As humans we are subjected to pigeon holing ourselves – parent, manual laborer, manager or celebrity – the list is long. But the ‘badge’ does not define the whole person. You will have come across people in your lifetime, who have surprised you with an aspect of their personality, which was totally astonishing. A case in point, a surgeon I knew. He was a huge man with massive hands but his surgical technique was excellent. He came to visit me after my operation and watched in total fascination as I carefully French knitted with an old cotton reel. He asked if he could have a go…yes I was shocked but I let him. As he looped the wool over the pins he told me he would have to get one, it was so much better than his normal knitting or crochet. He explained that the intricate movements helped keep his fingers nimble. To look at this man crochet would have been the furthest image of him you could imagine.

All of us are multi-faceted not just with the experiences our lives have given us and the roads we have followed but also another part hidden deep within us. The only way I can describe it is, as if we all have an inner twin, one that wants to be heard, and one that can enrich our lives if we let it. There is so much to imagine and experience so let your ‘twin’ loose. Imagination doesn’t have to be only a child’s prerogative. There are depths within us all that truly can expand our consciousness.

This quote by Albert Einstein give us food for thought: ‘When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than any talent for abstract, positive thinking.” If such a great man can see the advantages of fantasy shouldn’t we?