Monday, February 27, 2012

Six Free Tools to Help You Write Your Best Novel Ever

We're slowly getting better at my house. Thanks to all of you for your sweet words. Here's a reminder about a fantastic resource many of you may have missed. Happy writing!

I've found the coolest resource over at The Bookshelf Muse. Every Thursday Becca Puglisi and Angela Ackerman add an entry to either the Emotion Thesaurus, the Setting Thesaurus, the Symbolism Thesaurus, the Color, Shape, & Texture Thesaurus, the Weather Thesaurus, and the Character Trait Thesaurus.

This collection, which is constantly expanding, is the place to turn when you need a fresh way to describe your characters or setting. The introduction gives you some great reasons to bookmark the page.

The Emotion Thesaurus. In my novel, one of my characters is a spoiled princess (hey, if you've had a curse hanging over you all you life, I'm sure everyone would treat you with kid gloves). Sometimes I run out of ways to describe her condescension. Enter the Emotion Thesaurus. I clicked on the link for Haughty/Smug/Superior, and found thirty-four different ways to show this specific character emotion. So far, there are fifty-six different emotions on the list.

The Setting Thesaurus. No matter whether your setting is a space ship or a subway station, a  pirate ship or a pool hall, the authors have you covered with the Setting Thesaurus. There are ninety-one settings to choose from. Planning a scene in a medieval castle armory? Don't worry. Clicking the link will take you to the page where an armory is described with all the five senses. Exactly what you need.

The Symbolism Thesaurus. Symbolism is a way authors can infuse their novels with meaning, keeping readers thinking about the story long after they've turned the last page. The Symbolism Thesaurus lists forty-four different examples, like coming of age or sacrifice. Each entry lists ways to show the symbolism through nature or society.

The Colors, Shape, & Texture Thesaurus. At first, I didn't think I'd need the Color, Shape, & Texture Thesaurus, but once I checked out some of the several dozen entries, I changed my mind. The texture and shape entries give both natural and man-made examples of words like crumbly or spiral, and include synonyms and examples. Color words, like blue, give lists of blue things in light, medium, and dark, and also share shades of the color.

The Weather & Earthly Phenomena Thesaurus. Weather can be such a huge part of a novel's setting, and these bloggers remind us that weather can also play into, or reflect a character's mood or the level of tension. There are over three dozen weather descriptions, like drought, sandstorm, vortex, mirage, and even air pollution. Just browsing the list may give you some ideas.

The Character Trait Thesaurus. This is the newest list on the site, though it already has over thirty entries. Whether you want your character to be manipulative or modest, a worry wart or wounded, the character traits will help you describe your character realistically. I like how each entry lists cliches to avoid with that character trait. You'll also find hints on ways to twist the character trait, and conflicting characteristics to make this particular trait more interesting.

This site is already on my bookmark list for research tools, along with the visual thesaurus. Have you found any sites that are particularly helpful to you?

11 comments:

  1. What a fantastic resource, Debbie! This one's going in my favorites. :) And glad to hear everyone is on the mend in your house!

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  2. Glad to hear you are getting better and thanks for the reminder on these resources.

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  3. WOW!!! Thanks so much for the shout out! I am so glad you found us and happy to hear you're using the collections in your writing. :) That's awesome!

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

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  4. The Bookshelf Muse is a great place to visit, and to draw from. Thanks for the reminder! And glad your household is feeling better :-)

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  5. @Shelley: I'm so glad I reposted this. And they had added so much more since last time!

    @Stacey: Thanks so much for the get well wishes!

    @Angela: You guys amaze me with your hard work and dedication! So glad you do what you do.

    @Kenda: Thanks, we are feeling so much better. I'm visiting the doc this morning, anyway!

    @Debra: You're so welcome. Glad you could stop by!

    ~Debbie

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  6. Wow this is a great series of resources! Thank you for posting it so much!

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  7. Debbie, this was one of the best so far. I've joined the site and already explored the thesaurus. Wow! Loving it. Thank you!

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  8. I'm so glad these thesauruses (or thesauri?) will be helpful to you guys. Thanks for stopping by Jayrod and Leah!

    ~Debbie

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  9. Really? I've been writing all these years and didn't know about this? Sounds awesome. The one that caught my eye was the Emotion Thesaurus, but all of them look helpful. Thanks!

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  10. I know, Charlotte. This is one of my favorite sites. It's hard to imagine all the work that goes into it!

    ~Debbie

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