Wednesday, March 21, 2012

HOW AUTHORS ADD POWER TO THEIR WRITING


The Lucky Leprechaun Hop is in its final days. Check out the over 200 blogs here: http://iamareadernotawriter.blogspot.com Kathy and her cosponsor Books Complete Me (Author Cindy Thomas' blog) each have a list of the participating blogs. Leave your email in your comment for a chance to win a copy of my sweet contemporary HOME, SWEET TEXAS HOME. A follow counts as a second entry but is not necessary. Now to my scheduled post:

                HOW AUTHORS ADD POWER TO THEIR WRITING


Are there authors you read simply for the beautifully expressive way they write? There are numerous authors I turn to for inspiration. One of the reasons for their impact is they use active verbs, unique metaphors, and nouns that paint word pictures. They never tell, never use clich├ęs; instead, they show so well we drink in their pages.

Each writer knows to avoid weak words: felt, just, simply, etc. But avoiding those words is not enough, authors are forced to come up with dynamic ways to express our character’s thoughts and feelings so people will read and reread our books.

For instance, one might write: "The Gothic Revival house had been opulent at one time, but now displayed its age."

Sarah Addison Allen in THE GIRL WHO CHASED THE MOON wrote:

“The house looked nothing like the rest of the houses in the neighborhood.
It had probably been an opulent white at one time, but now it was gray, and its Gothic Revival pointed-arch windows were dusty and opaque. It was outrageously flaunting its age, spitting paint chips and old roofing shingles into the yard.”

One could write: "Dust motes danced in the dwindling sunlight."

Sarah Addison Allen wrote: “No lights were on, but the last sunlight of the day was coughing through the dining room windows, directly to her left.”

Can’t you picture the sunlight streaming in through a window like someone’s mouth coughing little particles of dust motes into the room? Not a pretty picture perhaps, but the allusion is perfect in the book.

Has stress ever left you disoriented or frozen? Here is Lori Wilde’s description of her heroine’s reaction in ALL OF ME:

“’Yes,’ Jillian said, but she could barely hear herself. She was a bright kite who’d broken loose from its tether, flying high into a cloudless blue sky. Up, up, and away, higher and higher, smaller and smaller. Soon she would disappear, a speck in the sky. What was happening to her?”

Another writer whose descriptions I love is Loretta Chase. Here are the descriptions of the hero and heroine from LORD PERFECT, one of my favorite of Ms Chase’s books:

The artist heroine, Bathsheba Wingate, watches the hero in the book’s opening. The setting is a London museum and the hero is Benedict Carsington, Viscount Rathbourne, heir to the Earl of Hargate.

"He leant against the window frame, offering those within the exhibition hall a fine rear view of a long, well-proportioned frame, expensively garbed. He seemed to have his arms folded and his attention upon the window, though the thick glass could show him no more than a blurred image of Picadilly.

It was clear in any case that the exhibition within—of the marvels Giovanni Belzoni had discovered in Egypt—had failed to hold his interest.

The woman surreptitiously studying him decided he would make the perfect model of the bored aristocrat

Supremely assured. Perfectly poised. Immaculately dressed. Tall. Dark.

He turned his head, presenting the expected patrician profile.

It wasn’t what she expected.

She couldn’t breathe."

The author immediately skips a space and opens in the hero’s POV. From the same book, but a few pages later, Loretta uses the hero’s POV to describe the heroine.

"She was the sort of woman who made accidents happen, simply by crossing the street.

She was the sort of woman who ought to be preceded by warning signs.

From a distance, she was breathtaking.

Now she stood within easy reach.

And now . . .

Once, in the course of a youthful prank, Benedict had fallen off a roof, and briefly lost consciousness.

Now, as he fell off something and into eyes like an indigo sea, he lost consciousness. The world went away, his brain went away, and only the vision remained, of pearly skin and ripe plum lips, of the fathomless sea in which he was drowning . . . and then a pink like a sunrise glowing upon finely sculpted cheekbones.

A blush. She was blushing.

His brain staggered back."

I don’t know about you, but I find those descriptions highly satisfying.

In my latest work, BRAZOS BRIDE: Men of Stone Mountain Book One, I struggled with making the three Stone brothers’ dialogue distinctive. They are similar in appearance and share a close bond. Naturally, their speech is similar. But each needed a distinctive speech pattern so the reader could recognize the speaker without dialogue tags. I include action or word tags, but the point is to make the dialogue so specific that a tag is not necessary. Since each is so similar, I don't believe I succeeded, but I love these brothers! Each is a terrific hero. I'm now at work on the second of the Men of Stone Mountain trilogy, HIGH STAKES BRIDE. Writing books that please me is a wonderful job. Aren't I lucky?

I hope you will read BRAZOS BRIDE and will find the dialogue (and the entire book) satisfies you. To assist you (aren’t I kind?) I've priced BRAZOS BRIDE at only 99 cents and here’s the buy link:
http://www.amazon.com/Brazos-Bride-Stone-Mountain-ebook/dp/B007HS10SY/ref=sr_1_14?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1332254739&sr=1-14


Please return on Friday when Regan Black will be my guest. I’ll also announce my winner of HOME, SWEET TEXAS HOME for the Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway Hop.

Thanks for stopping by!


1 comment:

Charmaine Clancy said...

It would be a challenge to write siblings with different voices. Well done!
Wagging Tales