Tag Archives: Verbalize by Damon Suede

Character creation: attraction and repulsion #amwriting

This week we’re continuing our dive into character building. I’m putting my beta reader’s comments to work, trying to iron out some of the rough patches, and one that I must work on is attraction.

WritingCraftSeries_romanceWriting emotions with depth is a balancing act. This is where I write from real life. I think about the physical cues I see when my friends and family feel emotion. When someone is happy, what do you see? Bright eyes, laughter, and smiles.

And when we’re happy, how do we feel? Energized, confident. We’re always slightly giddy when we have a little crush coming on and even happier when it blossoms into a romance.

The trick is to combine the surface of the emotion (physical) with the deeper aspect of the feeling (internal). Not only that, but we want to write it so that we aren’t telling the reader what to experience. We allow the reader to experience the emotion as if it is their idea.

Fantasy is a popular genre because it involves people. People are creatures of biology and emotion. When you throw them together in close quarters, romances can happen within the narrative.

I’m not a Romance writer. I write about relationships, but Romance readers will be disappointed in my work. My tales don’t always have a happily ever after, although most do. Also, while I can be graphic, I’m usually a fade-to-black kind of writer, allowing my characters a little privacy.

I flounder when writing without an outline, and even though I’m in the second draft, I’m floundering now.

Writing intense, heartfelt emotions is easy for me. I begin to have trouble when I attempt to write the subtler nuances of attraction and its opposite, repulsion. I find myself at a loss for words.

The problem is, if you write intense emotions with no buildup, they come out of nowhere and seem gratuitous.

So, how do I foreshadow these relationships and show the buildup? I go to Romance writers and ask questions. I’ve attended workshops given by romance writers and learned a great deal from them. However, being autistic, I understand more from pursuing independent study.

Verbalize_Damon_SuedeAlso, I’m a book junkie—I can’t pass up buying any book on the craft of writing. I bought two books on writing craft by Damon Suede, who writes Romance. These two books show how word choices can make or break the narrative.

In his book Verbalize, he explains how actions make other events possible. Even gentler, softer emotions must have verbs to set them in motion.

Emotions are nouns, and so I need to find and use the right verbs to activate them.

Therefore, matching nouns with verbs is key to bringing that romance to life. I must get out the dictionary of synonyms and antonyms and delve into the many words that relate to and describe attraction. ATTRACTION Synonyms: 33 Synonyms & Antonyms for ATTRACTION | Thesaurus.com

So, now that I have all these lovely words, the next step is to choose the words that say what I mean and fit them into the narrative.

This novel was accidental, so I didn’t plan the relationships out the way I usually do. I have five people in this convoluted tale. I’m a bookkeeper, so doing the math, if we end up with two couples, one character will be left out.

Now my beta readers tell me that while the final matches work, I need to hint at sexual tension from the opening pages on to better show the attraction.

Also, they pointed out that the odd-one-out creates endless opportunities for a real roadblock to the final event. This is something I hadn’t seen, but wow–what a great way to inject some power into the finale.

poetry-in-prose-word-cloud-4209005Each of us experiences emotional highs and lows in our daily lives. We have deep-rooted, personal reasons for our emotions, for whether we are attracted to or repulsed by another person. Sometimes those interactions can be highly charged.

Both the protagonist and the antagonist must have legitimate reasons for their actions and reactions. There must be a history of some sort. Failing that, there must be an instinctive attraction/rejection.

Our characters must have credible responses that a reader can empathize with, and there must be consequences.

For me, this is where writing becomes work.

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Verbalize by @DamonSuede and Damn Fine Story by @ChuckWendig #bookreview #amreading

Today we’re going to discuss two books on writing craft that, in my opinion, genre writers should read.

First up is VERBALIZE by Damon Suede.

But first, the Blurb:

Fascinating fiction starts with characters who make readers care. This Live Wire Writer Guide presents a simple, effective technique to sharpen your hook, charge your scenes, and amplify your voice whether you’re a beginner or an expert.

Most writing manuals skirt craft questions with gimmicks and quick fixes rather than plugging directly into your story’s power source. Energize your fiction and boost your career with

  • a new characterization method that jumpstarts drafting, crafting, revision, and pitching.
  • skill-builders to intensify language, stakes, and emotion for your readers.
  • battle-tested solutions for common traps, crutches, and habits.
  • a dynamic story-planning strategy effective for plotters and pantsers.
  • ample examples and exercises to help you upgrade fiction in any genre.

Blast past overused tics and types with storycraft that busts your ruts and awes your audience. Whether you like to wing it or bring it, Verbalize offers a fresh set of user-friendly, language-based tools to populate your pages and lay the foundations of unforgettable genre fiction.

My Review:

Damon Suede is a writing craft educator and a best-selling Romance author. One thing he understands is how to write active prose. VERBALIZE is jammed with hard-hitting, rapid-fire information, just like his seminars.

This is a book with a lot going on visually as well as informationally. I find it easiest to absorb this information in small doses, which allows me to think about what he is saying. I read a bit, think a bit, and write a lot.

If you learn nothing else, what Suede has to say about verbs, their importance in character development, and how best to place them in the sentence is worth the cost of the book. Which, by the way, is quite affordable.

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Next up is Damn Fine Story by Chuck Wendig. Wendig understands the art of “Story.” If you are writing genre fiction, this is a book you should consider buying.

But first, The Blurb:

Hook Your Audience with Unforgettable Storytelling!

What do Luke Skywalker, John McClane, and a lonely dog on Ho’okipa Beach have in common?

Simply put, we care about them.

Great storytelling is making readers care about your characters, the choices they make, and what happens to them. It’s making your audience feel the tension and emotion of a situation right alongside your protagonist. And to tell a damn fine story, you need to understand why and how that caring happens.

Using a mix of personal stories, pop fiction examples, and traditional storytelling terms, New York Times best-selling author Chuck Wendig will help you internalize the feel of powerful storytelling. In Damn Fine Story, you’ll explore:

• Freytag’s Pyramid for visualizing story structure–and when to break away from traditional storytelling forms
• Character relationships and interactions as the basis of every strong plot—no matter the form or genre
• Rising and falling tension that pulls the audience through to the climax and conclusion of the story
• Developing themes as a way to craft characters with depth
Whether you’re writing a novel, screenplay, video game, comic, or even if you just like to tell stories to your friends and family over dinner, this funny and informative guide is chock-full of examples about the art and craft of storytelling–and how to write a damn fine story of your own.

My Review:

As a writing craft book junkie, I can’t walk past any book that purposes to discuss the dirty little habit of writing.

Chuck Wendig is well-known for his pithy way of expressing things, but despite the in-your-face rawness of his delivery, he does know how to tell a great story, and he does it with outrageous hilarity.

This book takes the writer beyond the essentials of writing craft (grammar, sentence structure, etc.) and into the deeper elements of storytelling, rhythm, cadence, and breaking the rules adored by the more fascist writing-group gurus. He does this to encourage you to develop your own storytelling style.

I highly recommend it. You’ll get your money back in the wildly sarcastic humor of the footnotes alone.

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These two books are just the tip of the informational iceberg.

Many fine, informative books are out there for writers, and while I don’t have them all, I have a large library of them, all in physical book form.

My shelves contain books on craft by authors like Ursula K. LeGuin, Orson Scott Card, and Stephen King. I have thesaurus(s) on emotions and character traits by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi.

Knowledge of grammar is the silver frame that shows a story in its best light.

I have numerous Chicago Style Manuals and Bryan Garner’s Usage Guides, and books on rhetorical grammar. Dictionaries, sure, and a thesaurus—but I rely on the Oxford Book of Synonyms and Antonyms to help me find my words. Believe me, that book is well used.

Christopher Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey, Mythic Structure for Writers is a foundation book in my library—I’ve worn out two copies and am on my third.

Books on writing craft feed my ongoing quest for self-education.

Serious writers have questions that won’t always be answered in writing groups or on blogs like mine, but books exist which do have the answers.

Some will be expensive, but many, such as the two featured books today, are affordable. Google your writing craft questions, and see what books come up that might answer them. You might strike gold, as I have often done.

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