NOT YOUR USUAL SUSPECTS

A group blog featuring an international array of killer mystery, suspense, and romantic suspense writers. With premises and story lines different from your run-of-the-mill whodunits, we tend to write outside the box. We blog several times a week on all topics relating to romantic suspense and mystery, our writing, and our readers. We welcome all comments and often have guest bloggers. All our authors can be contacted separately, too, using their own social media links.

We find our genre delightfully, dangerously, and deliciously exciting - join us here, if you do too!


Julie Moffet . Clare London . Cathy Perkins . Jean Harrington . Daryl Anderson . Nico Rosso . Maureen A. Miller . Sandy Parks . Lisa Q Mathews . Sharon Calvin . Lynne Connolly . Janis Patterson

Friday, September 6, 2013

A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS



That's what we've always heard, right? Yet we, the author, need to use those thousand words to paint a vivid, complete picture in the mind of the reader. We don't include photos or paintings or even stick figure drawings in our books. Instead we pull together words and weave nouns and adjectives, adverbs and pronouns to embellish the blank canvas of a reader's mind with brilliant colors and textures so they "see" the story clearly.

In the writer's mind we see the hero's shaggy dark hair in need of a haircut. His sapphire blue eyes should sparkle with laughter or pain or lust. We develop the imagery, provide definition to his muscular physique. We want the reader to know whether he's average height or taller than everyone around him. We can do this by showing him interacting with the people, places and things surrounding him, everyday ordinary items which make the hero realistic in real world situations. Sometimes we even have pictures of our hero on our computer or printed out to look at as we tell our tale.

But have we done our job?

Through descriptive prose, using only our words, does the reader see the same person we see? Can they see the single lock of hair that falls across his forehead when he's running across the frozen tundra, pelted by sleet, freezing rain, and roaring winds determined to get to the heroine? Or visualize the rivulet of sweat rolling across his naked chest, mingling with the dark mat of hair trailing downward to disappear into the waistband of his jeans as he's leading his lady fair through the rain forest, whisking her away to safety?

Have we used the right words and phrases to paint our villain as more than a black and white caricature from old Hollywood movies? We need to wield our words as the paintbrush, layering in the varying shades of gray, giving depth and dimension to him (or her). Shadows and light—make them become a living, breathing person with good and bad qualities just like every other person on the planet.

So, remember, choose your words wisely. After all, we are the artist with the paintbrush and blank canvas, the photographer pointing the camera lens ready to click the next shot. Let's hope our thousand words are worthy of the picture.

6 comments:

Zelna Smith said...

Wow!! amazing places. I like the pictures.


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Elise Warner said...

Excellent blog. We paint a picture with words but often the reader's picture with be different.

Yolanda Renee said...

So true, I know that the characters I've read, were formed by the author and then the movie folks get hold of it and their gone. Don't like that, for instance Jack Reacher is not a Tom Cruise.

They are human, good and bad - paint it! Excellent!

Anne Marie Becker said...

Great post, Kathy. My challenge, since I write romantic suspense, has been keeping the descriptions vivid yet brief enough to keep pacing tight.

Ana Barrons said...

Beautiful post! And you know, I would love to be able to include photos or drawings in an ebook -- why not? Has anyone done that in the romance genre?

Kathy Ivan said...

Hey everybody, thanks so much for dropping by and spending a few minutes of your day with me. It's been crazy busy but I just wanted to say thanks.

Ana, I don't know if anybody's included drawing or photos in ebooks, bet it would be interesting to find out.

I known they do for some children's ebooks though.

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