The NonVerbal Thesaurus
Not spoken > Body Language.
Latin thesaurus, treasury, from Greek thesauros.
n. pl. thesauri (-sôri) or thesauruses
1. A book of synonyms, often including related and contrasting words and antonyms.
2. A book of selected words or concepts, such as a specialized vocabulary of a particular field.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009.
Dialogue is VISUAL
-- Not just a bunch of words.
Watch the average conversation between two people. 90% of that conversation isn't in what's Spoken, it's in what they are DOING while they are speaking. It's in their Body Language. Body-language cues in your story alert the reader by SHOWING them what is going on in a character's head without Telling t
An Unkindness of COMMASAn Unkindness of COMMAS5 years ago in Writing More Like This
I SUCK at commas big-time. I tend to pull a "Mark Twain"; I sprinkle them in wherever to break up the monotony of the sentence. This article is my attempt to hammer the rules into my brain.
An Unkindness of COMMAS
What the heck are Commas for, anyway?
Besides abusing the sanity of the writer, the comma exists to help readers organize information in a sentence. It makes all the stuff the author is trying to say easier to swallow. Without them, sentence bits and pieces collide into one another causing confusion; rather like a train-wreck, though not nearly as exciting.
Just in case you'd like to know who made up all these comma rules, I got most of them from Strunk & White's "Elements of Style" the grammar handbook used by every publishing house in America, and a few overseas. The rest came from my editors.
To get a good idea of how commas work, let's take a look at what they are supposed to do -- and some major
INTERNAL CONFLICTINTERNAL CONFLICT5 years ago in Writing More Like This
Note: this is how the professional authors do it. That doesn't mean YOU have to. As with all advice, take what you can use and throw out the rest.
His lips drifted across hers in a warm caress. His hand pressed at waist, the heat of his palm warming her flesh through her corset underlying the deep blood silk gown. His fingers drifted upward, toward her breast.
Desire pulsed within her core, in time with her heart. She wanted to let him tear the red silk from her body, and bury himself in her flesh, but set her palm over his to stop him just below her breast. He was a vampire and she, a mere mortal. The fear in her soul told her to stop, and yet her body begged for his mouth on her flesh. I am overcome, overcome by a desire I know only he can satisfy... He fired her blood more than any other man.
She turned away from his kiss. "Please, I can't."
His gaze narrowed, then he smiled. "
Advanced Plotting-The PREMISEAdvanced Plotting-The PREMISE5 years ago in Writing More Like This
Advanced Plotting ~ the PREMISE
Could you tell me more on plotting story points? I can get the big story idea well enough, but I run into a snag deciding the whole causality thing -- A leads to B, leads to C, etc."
-- Mad about Plotting
Ah, so you wanna know how to put all the theories together to make a story, do you? (Gee, you couldn't pick the easy stuff could you?) Okay...
A story's Causes & Effects, the triggers that lead from one event to the next, comes from your Premise.
Just for the record...
A Premise is NOT a Concept!
The Premise is the theoretical / emotional problem that your story is trying to illustrate and answer. It's the glue that holds the whole thing together. It's the Purpose of your story.
A Concept is HOW you intend to illustrate that Premise, it's the story you wrap around it.
Example: The 'Matrix':
Premise: Knowledge vs. Ig
Interior MonologuesInterior Monologues6 years ago in Writing More Like This
"I was just wondering what you think about interior monologues, long passages of reflection?" -- Curious Kitty
A note on:
-- Interior Monologues
Whether you are considering adding a lengthy monologue to a story, or intend the monologue to be the story itself where the focus of the entire story is on one character's thoughts and feelings with very little action -- from my observations and experimentation, the readers either love them or hate them. There's no in-between.
However, it is notable that the internal monologue stories that are sought out most frequently tend to focus on a profound emotion of some kind: grief, loneliness, heartache... Usually by either those seeking to deal with such an emotion, as a kind of therapy, or by those that have never felt such emotions. (Strong emotional stories are extremely popular among young adults.)
In both cases, not only does the reader seek to submerge the
The Secret to Proper ParagraphingThe Secret to Proper Paragraphing6 years ago in Writing More Like This
Once you know what your characters and doing and saying, how do you get all that down on Paper without ending up with a huge confusing mess?
Putting the Story on Paper.
Everybody knows that when a new speaker speaks they get a new paragraph, right? In other words, you DON'T put two different people talking in the same paragraph. Okay, yeah, so anyone who has written any kind of fiction learns this pretty darned quick, (usually from their readers.)
What nobody seems to get is that the same goes for a new character's ACTIONS. Seriously, when a new character ACTS they're supposed to get their own paragraph -- even if they don't speak!
In short, you paragraph by change in CHARACTER -- not because they speak, but because they ACT. Ahem... Dialogue is an ACTION. In other words, the reason you don't put two different characters' Dialogue in the same paragraph is BECAUSE you don't mix two characters' Actions. Okay?
"Wait a minute,
The LAYERS of FictionThe LAYERS of Fiction6 years ago in Writing More Like This
"If you have Action and Dialogue, do you really NEED Description too?
What is the difference?"
The Layers of Fiction
"Himawari-chan, I have your lunch!"
"Here you go Himawari-chan!"
"Thank you, Watanuki-kun!"
"You are very welcome, Himawari-chan."
"I see. Of course. Thank you, Yuuko-san. Do I need to tell you what she said?"
"No! No, you don't, and I don't want to hear it! I don't need a freaking baby-sitter!"
"Yuuko thinks you do."
"That's her! Not me!"
"Are you a fortune-teller?"
"No! Of course not!"
"I'll come get you after class. I'll get the instructor to let you wait while I practice."
"What? No! I said I don't want to wait !"
"You gonna eat that?"
"Yes I am!"
"I do not, not, NOT take orders from you!"
This is "Talking Head Syndrome." There are no dialogue tags, because I don't use them.
Sentence Structure for FICTIONSentence Structure for FICTION6 years ago in Writing More Like This
On Basic Sentence Structure for Fiction
(Grammar Nazis BEWARE!)
Everything I ever learned about writing Fiction DIDN'T come from school; not even college. In fact, the way one writes fiction is almost the complete opposite of everything I learned in school about writing.
In order to make my stories crystal clear in my readers' imaginations, I write in precise Chronological Order, in the order events actually happen, PLUS in the order that the eye sees it.
Case in point, when describing a character, I describe them from top to bottom, in the order that the eye notices them. Face, hair, upper body, arms, hands, then lower body, legs, feet, then over all impression.
High Speed STORIESHigh Speed STORIES6 years ago in Writing More Like This
When you absolutely, positively, HAVE to get the story done.
The trick to speed-writing is to Plan the story out first, more commonly known as PLOTTING.
"Diabolic" was written in 30 days -- all 15 chapters at 2500 to 3000 words per chapter, adding up to around 80k (thousand) words. A novel is 90k to 100k. I was able to do this because I already knew my main characters really well, (Vincent and Sephiroth of Final Fantasy VII,) and I knew where my story ENDED. Basically, once I knew where I wanted to go, all I had to do was figure out how to get there.
Note: If you're interested, DIABOLIC can be found at Media Miner. The 'Search' feature is your friend!
The plot outline I used only had 5 points:
1. Beginning - The Main Character gets involved with the Villain or Lover.
2. Complications - The situation worsens.
3. Emotional Turning Point - Panic Attack! Fear and/or Guilt vs. Desperation
4. Reversal - The wor
Writing ACTION ScenesWriting ACTION Scenes6 years ago in Writing More Like This
-------- Original Message -----------
"I can't write an action/fight scene worth a crap. Mind you, I can usually imagine them, I just can't write them." -- Wanna Do a Fight Scene.
If you can imagine it - you can write it. The easiest way is by doing it in LAYERS.
The Quick and Dirty Method for writing Action Scenes
Start with a list of ACTIONS & Reactions < in that order.
-- Actions ALWAYS go before Reactions.
(IMPORTANT! Each CHARACTER gets a SEPERATE LINE. ~ NEVER clump the separate actions of two different characters in the same paragraph or the reader will get confused as to who is doing what very quickly.)
Will lunged forward, his sword fully extended in a stab.
Jack caught Will's blade with the flat of his blade. Pushing the blade just out of range of his skin, Jack slide down Will's blade in a short fast stab.
Will turned to the side to avoid Jack's sword's point.
Jack did a quick side-step to stay in front
ACTION Sequences - Plug+PlayACTION Sequences - Plug+Play6 years ago in Writing More Like This
Writing ACTION Sequences
The Plug & Play Method
Lets begin with a Review...
The flash of pain exploded in my cheek from the slap her hand lashed out at me.
Why is this wrong?
If you were watching this scene as a movie, that sentence is NOT how you would have seen it happen.
Actual Sequence of events:
1) Her hand lashed out at me in a slap.
2) A flash of pain exploded in my cheek
ACTION Sequences = Chronological Order
REALITY = something happens to you and then you react.
Action > Reaction > Action > Reaction = Chronological order
FICTION = the Plot happens to the characters and then they react.
Action > Reaction > Action > Reaction = Chronological order
If you want the reader to SEE the actions that you are trying to portray, Chronological Order is the ONLY way to write that scene. In other words, if you visualize the characters doing something in a specific
The Subtle STATIC TRAITThe Subtle STATIC TRAIT4 years ago in Writing More Like This
The Subtle STATIC TRAIT
Secret Weapon of the Clever Writer
The Static Trait is the small personal HABIT an individual character displays which reveals their personal Neurosis, their driving NEED, especially in stressful situations. This habitual or even ritual behavior acts as both their greatest source of trouble and the linchpin to their success. It's the individual character's "Accident Waiting to Happen".
The most obvious place to find visible Static Traits is in both Comedies and Tragedies. These stories (and movies) RELY on their characters' Static Traits to linchpin the plot.
What made Laurel and Hardy so funny, were the little neurotic habits -- the static traits -- that would appear under stressful situations. Abbot and Costello built whole routines on Bud Abbot's little twitchy responses. The climactic scene in every one of their movies involved Abbot in a panic attack. You spent half the movie going "Oh no! Don't! Don't! Don't!...AH! He did
10 Second Tip - Foreshadowing10 Second Tip - Foreshadowing5 years ago in Writing More Like This
I hear the term 'foreshadowing' a lot. That's when you hint at stuff to come, right? So yeah, but how do I DO it?
Foreshadowing is when the opening scene of a story is a kind of nutshell prophecy for the whole story.
* In a Horror, this is when the originating Bad Thing happens.
* In a Mystery or Crime story, it's when the first victim is slain, and/or object (McGuffin) goes missing.
* In a Romance this is where the main character meets their soon-to-be lover for a fleeting but memorable moment.
* In a Sci-fi, this is where the ruling Theory is presented.
* In a Gothic, this is where the main character transforms into a monster for the first time.
This also reveals the Premise, or ruling argument that the story is trying to illustrate; what the story is trying to Prove.
The results of Revenge
The path of Ambition
The reality of Love
The sacrifices one mak
The DUAL-NATURED CharacterThe DUAL-NATURED Character4 years ago in Writing More Like This
Building the DUAL-NATURED Character
Let's start this lecture with a HUGE secret:
-- There are Three Essential Characters in every story:
> Adversary The one causing all the trouble.
> Proponent The one trying to keep things the way they are.
> Ally The close companion of one or the other caught in the middle.
In other words, you can tell any story with ONLY these Three Characters; perhaps not with any real detail, but you could still do the entire basic plotline.
And each essential character is governed by one of three SPECIFIC aspects, or Drives:
> MOTIVE - Driven by a REASON to Make something happen, such as Revenge.
> ACTION - Driven by the need to ACT, normally because if they don't they die, but an incentive such as a Reward or Prize works too.
Crossing GenresCrossing Genres4 years ago in Writing More Like This
Every genre has core elements that make that genre that genre. In order to Cross Genres properly, you need to know each of your genre's distinctive elements and make them Equally Important in the story.
Simple, no? However...
One of the most common mistakes I've seen in every genre of fiction: IGNORANCE.
"Most of the common mistakes come with any writing that isn't so goodbad characters, bad plots, bad writing. The ones which are peculiar to alternate histories (fantasy and sci-fi) are bad research and bad extrapolation."
-- An Interview with Harry Turtledove --
How do you expect to cross genres properly if you don't even know the genres you're working with? Contrary to popular belief, even if you're writing pure Heroic Fantasy, just making it up as you go is NOT good enough!
On writing Heroic Fantasy
"The consequence of making that assumption is, inevita
Writing Serial FictionWriting Serial Fiction6 years ago in Writing More Like This
Writing Serial & Series Fiction
Not just another Novel idea
Please note, this is how the Professionals do it. Those of you who are Not professional are free to write (and post) as you please.
To view the Main Plot vs Subplot graphic at Full Size, GO HERE --> http://i426.photobucket.com/albums/pp347/OokamiKasumi/MainplotSubplot.jpg
A Serial Story is Not a chopped-up Novel!
I hear it time and time again: "If the story is too big, why don't you just cut it up into a Series or Serial?"
You can't just cut a novel-type Story in half to make a series, or use the chapters to serialize it. A true serial "episode" is its own Complete Story within a larger story. A Serial tale is NOT a chapter with book cover and neither are Series books.
The first thing any writer learns is: "A story must have a Beginning, a Middle and an End". EACH Serial and Series chapters, or episodes, must have a Beginnin
GMC - SIMPLIFIEDGMC - SIMPLIFIED4 years ago in Writing More Like This
"I am I Need I Desire "
Goal, Motivation & Conflict - SIMPLIFIED
Goal, Motivation and Conflict seems to be the BIG MYSTERY of fiction writing. Everyone says that they're essential to good writing and they're right, they are. Absolutely. But this stuff can be a little confusing.
Let's begin at the beginning
-- What are all these things and why do stories need them?
Goal is what your character THINKS they are after.
Motivation is what makes them WANT to go after it.
Conflict is what Gets In Their Way.
-- Internal Conflict being ANGST or Drama.
-- External Conflict being the PLOT or Events.
The Plot (Events) Arc is the stuff that happens to the characters the plotline. There are 5 basic stages in a Plot Arc:
1 - Inciting Event
2 - Challenge
3 - Crisis/Reversal
4 - Ordeal
5 - Confrontation
The Character (Drama) Arc is the complimentary (or contrary) stage of Ang
Writing BEGINNINGS for Short StoriesWriting BEGINNINGS for Short Stories2 years ago in Writing More Like This
I was wondering if you had any tips on starting a short story? Like for instance, I have the scene all laid out in my head, I know exactly what's going on and stuff, I just don't know how to begin without giving away too much info and then boring the reader. If that make any sense.
Tips on how to make a beginning...?
-- Why, yes I do!
The fastest way to start a story -- is NOT at the beginning.
Open the story within one page of Hero Meets Villain, (or Lover Meets Beloved) with the story already in progress. Action scenes and snappy dialogue are the best hooks for snaring your reader, but hints of Mysterious things yet to happen works well too. I also set the stage for the story about to begin with a few lines of Description so that the reader can SEE everything as it happens.
Here are some examples from my fan-fiction:
Opening to HERO (Naruto)
It was supposed to be a
Writing Tips - Grammar, pt 1Writing Tips - Grammar, pt 16 years ago in Writing More Like This
Part one: Parts of Speech
Now that you know how to use a comma and structure a quote, lets really get our hands dirty! Because all those commas and quotes and hard stops dont mean a thing if you have weak grammar. Grammar is huge. Theres a lot of it, so this will only be a blitz course, covering a lot in a small space. Hopefully, you already know most of it, though.
Parts of Speech
Thats right. Were doing sentence diagramming in this lesson. Youre going to need to know the difference between an adjective and an adverb later on, so this seems the logical place to start.
A sentence needs three things to make it a sentence. It needs a subject, a verb, and it needs to be a complete thought.
The subject is usually, but not always, a noun, a proper noun, or a pronoun.
Nouns: Nouns are something physical. Look to your left. What do you see? Thats a noun.
° Please pass me that book.
Proper Nouns: Proper nouns are exactly what
A Guide to Writing StyleA Guide to Writing Style6 years ago in Writing More Like This
Writing Style - The Bottom Line
Words are like sunbeams. The more they are condensed, the deeper they burn. - Robert Southey
Prose is architecture, not interior decorating. - Ernest Hemingway
Writing style is made up of two things: cadence and variation.
Good style is clear, readable, and invisible. Its purpose is not to attract attention to itself but to transport readers into the world of your story. If your readers notice your style without purposefully intending to study it, your style needs to be improved and refined. Good style, however, is transparent so that your readers simply see the characters and world of your story rather than the words you use to portray them.
To write with cadence simply means that your writing should sound natural. If it sounds right to you, it probably is--but if it doesnt sound right,
Punctuation BasicsPunctuation Basics7 years ago in Writing More Like This
Writing is like math. If you dont follow the right formula, you end up in a state of mass confusion. Synonymously, punctuation is like following a map. If you miss the street signs, youll end up completely lost. The following is a list of common English punctuation marks and their most basic functions. Contrary to popular belief, there are no exceptions to these rules. Breaking them has never been in style.
The most common English punctuation marks include the following:
. = period
? = question mark
! = exclamation point
, = comma
= quotation marks
; = semicolon
: = colon
- = hyphen
( ) = parentheses
. . . = ellipse
Wow, thats a lot of symbols! So, how do you use them as you write? Here's a quick and dirty list.
1) Every sentence must end in a period, question mark, or exclamation point.
2) A comma signifies a pause, distinguishes betw
Character Creation TipsCharacter Creation Tips8 years ago in Writing More Like This
Note: I wrote this after reading a similar article in The Writer magazine about a year ago. Hope it's helpful!
Not all characters are created equal. Here are some steps to make yours superior.
Figure out what your character wants, needs, desires. A closer relationship with God? A place to belong? Just to survive? Figure it out. You cant move on to number 2 until you have.
Now that you know what your character most desires, you should be able to figure out what he/she most fears. Doing the wrong thing, being alone, death? They are the polar opposites of your characters desires.
Go back in time to before your story begins and create a detailed backstory for your character. What happened in to past to create in him the desires and fears that he has now? Be specific. Write out individual scenes, or at leas
10 Quick Tips: ProseFor the short of time, patience or remaining-eyesight: here is a quick, ten-point tutorial for better prose.10 Quick Tips: Prose5 years ago in Writing More Like This
The points are drawn from books, articles, casually-offered-advice and my own experience. Much like the Ten Commandments, they aren't all concrete rules. Just things to strongly keep in mind.
1. Vary sentence structure.
-> In particular, avoid starting every line with "I..." or "He..."
-> Try to vary your sentence length too.
2. Don't repeat words within a sentence.
-> Or too many times in sentences that follow each other.
-> Avoid repeated use of character names by using he/she where possible.
3. Avoid adverbs.
-> They clutter sentences and there's usually a better way.
-> Ask yourself, "Does this add any new information?"
4. Swap "which" for "that" where possible.
-> This is black magic. It just sounds better.
-> Also avoid "however".
5. Make pairs of adjectives different.
Writing Tips - DialogueWriting Tips - Dialogue6 years ago in Writing More Like This
If youre writing fiction, the dialogue is arguably one of the most important parts. And its the bit thats the easiest to mess up, if were strictly honest. And why not? Theres so much going on in that single sentence that any number of them can go wrong; voice, character, tone, point of view, punctuation. Well start with punctuation, because Ive already written that bit.
Go here. I was originally going to copy and paste that part of the lesson into this lesson, but then the thing wound up being ten pages long. So, read that, and then come back to this if you feel you might need help with the mechanical bits.
When to use Dialogue
Right. So, youve got a story all set up in your head (or on a piece of paper if youre inclined to pre-write), and its great. Your hero is blasting through space with a whole heap of misfits, and you