Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tuesday's Tip

As I polish up a manuscript to send off to the editor, I am convinced that one of the hardest parts of writing well is...deceptively simple: it's trying to describe movement.

For example, the other day I was stumped with how to write what I had in envisioned in my mind.

Leaning back in his chair, Bud folded his hands behind his head.

Here's another:

Somehow they had stopped walking and were facing each other.

Getting those little details right--so that you create a picture with an economy of words--ratchets writing from good excellent. That's where we want to be.

I keep a notebook handy to jot down ideas and inspirations and I use that notebook a lot. A lot! Different pages have these headings: Facial Expressions. Voice. Hands. Body Descriptions.

It's about training yourself to pay attention to those details and translating them into language.

Here are a couple of examples from real life writers:

You tell your husband, I need time to write!" and then add the dialogue tag in your head: "I need time to write!" she said, snapping the pencil she'd been holding in two.

A guy in the parking lot yells, "Hey, move your car, willya," and you wonder how you would punctuate what he said: exclamation point or question mark?

Your daughter tells you she backed the Jetta into a parked For Explorer, and all you can think about is how you would describe the thud of metal on metal.

Hope those tips help! Happy Tuesday! And...go treat yourself to a notebook today.