Monday, May 28, 2012

Scrivener--Now I Understand!

Scrivener is amazing! I know you've heard that from a lot of writers. Add me to the list. I've blogged about it before--Scrivener! By Golly!--but that was before I really got the hang of some of the best bells and whistles. I first got the program in November 2011, but a dead computer in February delayed me. It's only now that I've had time to experiment and learn what it can do.


There's nothing like finding the perfect face for a character. Especially if--like me--you aren't very visually oriented.

Here's another one--a photo of a young Samantha beside the first time she appears in the story:

Or this one:

I drew this map after visiting Cartersville, Georgia. It's so close to Cherry Hill, I had to draw the map of it for the files. Without Scrivener, it would just be another piece of paper floating around my study. And who needs that! ; )

So, you can see, I'm enjoying myself even if my forward progress is a bit slow. ; )

How about you? Do you use Scrivener? What's you favorite tool?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

There's Got To Be a Word for That!

I know you've said that before! I have. Too many times to count. Now I have the perfect website for you:
25 Handy Words That Simply Don't Exist In English

English is the king mutt of languages with more words than any other and they are from many backgrounds. Check out my post The History of the English Language for a brief explanation of this truth. I used to prove this to my Latin students by comparing the Latin word for large--magnus-- to all the many ways you can say it in English--large, big, huge, gargantuan, etc., etc., etc.

I don't know about you, but I need L’esprit de l’escalier --French for thinking of the perfect comeback long after you need it-- nearly everyday.
And I've experienced Age-otori--Japanese for looking worse after the new haircut--a time or two.

What about you? Which of these words have you needed, but lacked?
Do you know some more I need to know? Please?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Emergency Senses

What do you do when you forgot your Kindle during a trip to the ER? To be fair, I remembered MY
Kindle, but the patient didn't. So, I lent him mine to read the paper while we waited for ultrasound and the results of the ultrasound. Instead of reading, I took notes about all I could sense in the ER exam room. After scribbling six pages of sights, sounds, feelings, and smells, I realized that I had all I needed to immerse my readers in two scenes of my WIP. Writers are told that including at least three of the five senses will bring dimension to their scenes and draw readers in. Now I have a great list to use for this very real setting.

Did you know that the pediatric crash cart holding all the medicines has rainbow hued drawers? The colors are to separate the meds by weight of the patient. I've never noticed this before. If I had been reading, I wouldn't have noticed it this time. Or that there is a huge poster just to list all the possible average weights, blood pressures, heart rates, and respiration for children based on age?

Have you ever stopped and listened to all the sounds in an ER department? From the scuffing of soft soled shoes and disembodied voices in the hall to the ticking of the oxygen ports and swoosh of the blood pressure cuff, I was awash in a sea of input just through my ears. Add the feel of the squishy chair cushion and the breath of the air conditioning on the back of my neck and you have a real setting that will draw a reader in.

After this experience, I plan to set up a few on purpose trips to experience some settings for my WIP. The hospital cafeteria is next on the list. ; )

What about you? Do you ever just sit and take notes on your surroundings?
How do you find the details to add the five senses to your scenes?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Creative Ways

I've read King's On Writing, Lamott's bird by bird, and Pressfield's The War of Art, and all of them have inspired and spurred me on to greater understanding of creativity and writing. But Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way is making much more impact on me.

Cameron's subtitle, A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity, speaks to the source of all creativity. Here are some of the basic principles she shares:
  • Creativity is the natural order of life.
  • Creativity is God's gift to us. Using our creativity is our gift back to God.
  • The refusal to be creative is self-will and is counter to our true nature.
  • It is safe to open ourselves to greater and greater creativity.
I have always understood creativity this way--God created us to be creators in his image. That's probably why The Artist's Way is clicking for me. The book outlines a twelve-week course of discovery and I'm only in week 2, but I see more joy and productivity in my writing already. ; )

Have you read The Artist's Way? What do you think about it?
What's your favorite book for inspiring creativity?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


If you've followed In the Shade of the Cherry Tree for any length of time, you know I can't let well enough alone. I'm always hunting for another background, another color scheme, another focus image. The newest is in honor of the coming summer. Besides it's been hot enough to be summer around here. All our flowers have bloomed or are setting buds to bloom a full month early this spring. By the way, I've already picked out the background image for fall. ; )

The latest background is perfect depiction of deep Georgia woods. The focus image is to herald the coming season of ripe cherries in our grocery stores. I can't get enough of the tasty little fruit--it's my favorite.

I've wondered if I change the look too often, but I know the visual expression of my creative side needs an outlet, too. So, for now, you can look forward to my changing images. Hopefully they will all fit the image of a comfortable place to visit. Come on into the Shade and sit for a spell. Maybe it will take your mind off the heat. ; )

What about you? Do you change up your look from time to time. Or do you think writers should strive for a recognizable look that is part of our set image and brand?

On Friday, check out Deniz's The Gridle of Melian--I'm the guest writer/blogger. She asks good questions. ; )