I needed to write something for my RWA chapter newsletter, so I came up with this.
Giving Thanks: A Short List of Writing Tools Worthy of Our Gratitude
1. The thesaurus – Any of them, all of them. I’m particularly grateful for the online one, http://thesaurus.com/. I use it all the time, when my vocabulary exceeds my memory, and I know that I know exactly the right word but I just can’t think of it!
2. Search Engine Image searches – Google, Yahoo … whatever floats your boat. These are useful for finding pictures of items like vintage Indian motorcycles and Sears Kit Homes – making it much easier to describe them. Hey! I just found another one called PicSearch. It claims to have over a billion pictures. That means I can find lots more photos of Richard Armitage! It’s research, honest! I need them for my hero file. Maybe you should have a look. You might need some inspiration too. http://tinyurl.com/2uw5n6j.
3. Grammar websites – Because I, for the life of me, can never remember when I’m supposed to use “which” and when I’m supposed to use “that.” So, sites like Grammar Girl are invaluable. (http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/) Seriously, I want to be Grammar Girl’s BFF. My readers would be so grateful.
4. Okay, this one has little to do with writing, except for articles like these. It’s http://tinyurl.com. It takes a great big url like: http://www.picsearch.com/index.cgi?start=41&size=1p&width=1024&q=richard%20armitage%20actor and turns it intohttp://tinyurl.com/2uw5n6j which means it fits much better into a newsletter article. How cool is that?
5. The Bookshelf Muse – I don’t know who these writers are, but I love them. Not enough to leave my husband – that would take Richard Armitage – but I love them. They are Fabulous, with a capital “F.” The blog’s subtitle is “Writing tools and musings about reading, writing and other randomness,” but what I like most are their specialized thesauri. They include emotions, settings, symbolism, and colors, textures and shapes. These are invaluable in helping a writer (like oh, say, me) show rather than tell. Take a look at “anger.” The authors list begins with the following, “clenching/unclenching fists; nails biting into one’s palms; pounding fists against thighs, table, wall; slamming doors, cupboards, drawers; punching, kicking, throwing things,” and continues from there. Now, tell me you can’t use a resource like this one. I dare you! All right, tell me and, this time, don’t lie. But, first check it out at: http://thebookshelfmuse.blogspot.com/.
So, go on. What are you waiting for? I’m hoping at least one of these tools was new to you. If not, at least you got to check out Richard. And, that’s something to be thankful for!