Word painting

I have found that I like to paint pictures with words which can be difficult at times. Sometimes it helps to close your eyes for a minute and mentally think about the description you want to write. The picture forms in my head and then  the right words flow. Another thing that often helps is to have visual aids nearby . There is a good book on Word Painting by Rebecca McClanahan  from the Writers Digest book shop. It has helpful suggestions. She says to use strong verbs and not have cluttered sentences but be more direct. It also helps to have a Thesaurus near by. I have always liked reading descriptive writing which is a natural way of writing for me. Studying other people’s writing is also helpful by seeing how description is blended it into the story.

One advantage I have is that I am also a visual artist and have been painting for over twenty years. I am not one of those people who can see a picture in my head and then paint it from memory. I do know someone who can paint from memory and it is a rare talent. I have always needed the subject matter in front of me.

Writing dialogue can be difficult. There is something about getting to know your characters that you are writing about. If they feel real to you then they are going to come across as real in your story. Sometimes it helps to have a mental picture of someone even if it’s a favorite character in a  movie or tv program. That is one way of discovering the little quirks people have. I have often used the signs of the zodiac or enneagram personality types to divelope characters. I found enneagram type descriptions on the internet. It helps to know if a person is a helper, achievers, reformer, individualist, investigator, loyalist, enthusiast, challenger or a peacemaker. It makes it easier to pick out the personalities that way and is much easier than lengthy charts. In doing this you only have to figure out hair color, build, age, and eye color, etc.

After reading an article on  organic writing I relized I am more of an organic writer. I have had basic outlines, to use as a guide line ,but find that I seldom follow them closely and tend to follow the direction characters are telling me.The story flows at a steady pace that way. At least for me.  The article about organic writing was in the Writers Digest magazine. I am on the cusp of being an organized writer and organic writer. Some of my stories have come from dreams that I have had just before waking up completely.

It is useful to keep a dream journal beside my bed so that dreams can be jotted down. There are notebooks all over my house and in my handbag as there is no telling when a good idea will come along. If it is written down before it slips away for ever at least there is the option of looking it up and it gives you ownership of the idea as sometimes it pops up again when writing. Sometimes ideas croup up when reading articles, or simply watching tv programs. Those ideas are everywhere but the problem can be finding the time to use them.


About mhembroff

I am the author of Bess's Magical Garden, a middle grade novel and picture book Gramma Mouse Tells a Story. I am the member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, Writers Guild of Alberta and Rave Reviews Book Club. My series The Ghostly Encounters and other short stories can be found on https://www.channillo.com, listed in the short story section. I have been an avid reader since early childhood and has always been imaginative. It wasn't until my children were growing up that I started taking writing classes and put my creations onto paper. When I'm not writing I like to paint, draw, work in the garden and spend time with my pets and family.
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