Michaeline: Puppy Love and Physical Description

Puppy

Describe this dog, and you could win a touristy tchochtke from Tokyo! LOL! (Photo by Michaeline Duskova)

EDIT: Contest is now closed, but the comments are still open. Thank you for your likes and stars!

CONTEST! I’m in Tokyo right now, so I thought it’d be fun to run a little contest while I’m away from my computer. Your task: describe my dog (pictured here) in 100 words or less. Your prize? A cheap touristy trinket from Tokyo, sent anywhere in the world that the Japan Post Office will deign to deliver. Continue reading

Michaeline: Description: Part Two

 

Description can be a spark that sets off fireworks in the body. (Positive discharge, via Wikimedia Commons)

Description can be a spark that sets off fireworks in the body. (Positive discharge, via Wikimedia Commons)

One thing you should know about me: I enjoy being a devil’s advocate. I am proud that I have an open mind and that I try to look on all sides of an issue. I like sitting on the fence. And this causes me a lot of problems as a writer, because instead of “picking a lane”, I tend to wander around and check out too many things. But at least it produces a blog post for today.

So, anyway, last week I told you how I found Jane Austen to have rather sparse description, and she’s super-famous, so it must be all right, right? This week, I’m going to turn around and look at the descriptions that appear in one of my other favorite books, A Civil Campaign by Lois McMaster Bujold. (link is to sample chapters from the publisher, Baen Books)

A Civil Campaign is the 13th book in the Vorkosigan series, and our hero, Miles Vorkosigan, is courting a woman for the very first time. In past books, Continue reading

Justine: An Exercise Using the Five Senses

Me (left) and Jilly, the most amazing travel partner and tour guide!

Me (left) and Jilly, the most amazing travel partner and tour guide!

As many of you know, I recently wrapped up a fabulous 10-day trip to England (with the wonderful Jilly as my official host and tour guide). The things I saw and did are experiences that I will eventually include in my books, with the goal being more realistic, “show-not-tell” scenes…scenes written well enough, you can imagine yourself there, even as you sit in your bed curled up with the book.

To get to that point, though, a bit of preschool-type exercises in the five senses can be very helpful to ensure your readers get “the full picture.” Using two of the pictures I’ve taken as examples, I’ll come up with some basic descriptions of different “scenes,” hitting on the major images, feelings, etc. that I want to evoke as I describe that scene for a reader.

First is Continue reading

Michaeline: “Welcome to Night Vale”

White, cold marble cloak hanging over an invisible figure. You can go inside, as if the cloak draped you. Much spookiness.

Welcome to Night Vale. Do not approach the dog park. (image via Wikimedia Commons. Anna Chromy, Cloak of Conscience)

I just discovered the deliciously creepy podcast, “Welcome to Night Vale” this month. There are a million reasons for writers to listen to it and learn – texture, conveying meaning in just a few words, patterned story-telling and best of all, the podcast gave me the most thrilling surge of romantic squee that I’ve had all year.

“Welcome to Night Vale” is structured as a community radio show with the most kindly despotic announcer in a world that is just . . . odd. Secret Government kind of odd. Regular features include the news, the community calendar, traffic and the weather – all turned on their heads as tropes. For me, the heart of the series is the romance between Continue reading

Jilly: The Baby and the Bath-Water

I’ve become a different reader since I started writing fiction. I find it much harder to lose myself in a story. I’m more analytical, more aware of the choices the author has made, and much harder to please. If I read something I love (or strongly dislike), it niggles me and I pick at it until I figure out why. My husband is also a keen reader. He enjoys detective stories and police procedurals and he’s grown used to me quizzing him about what he’s reading, what’s good about it and what’s not working for him. I try to apply what I learn to my own writing, but it’s easier said than done.   Continue reading