Years ago on one of my writing loops some authors were pooh-poohing the use of a book that I actually found helpful, The Romance Writers Phrase Book. This book was created by authors Jean Kent and Candace Shelton by compiling phrases found in Romance novels. Those who panned this book made the error of taking it too literally. The idea was not to copy the phrases, but to use them to jog the brain into coming up with something entirely new.
Is my brain the only one that freezes up and can’t think of words? I’m always looking for tools to help me when words fail.
First in my toolbox is an online thesaurus. I use this so much it isn’t funny, especially when I repeat the same word over and over and over in the same paragraph.
Recently I’ve found some promising new books to help when words fail. We can thank the new opportunities in epublishing for these. Epublishing is great for little niche books that are so affordable, it’s worth a try to buy them.
How to Write Descriptions of Eyes, Faces, Hair, and Skin by Val Kovalin – I haven’t dipped into this too much, but I think it can do what I want it to–help me when I’m stuck, give me examples that will help spark my own ideas.
The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression by Becca Puglisi and Angela Ackerman – I’ve used this a little bit. It is organized into various emotions and then offers suggestions on how those emotions can be conveyed.
I must emphasize that I don’t advocate using any of these books to copy the words and descriptions they use, but I have found that they are wonderful ways to give me ideas of how to express what I want to express MY way!
Do you use any writing books or guides to help you when you are stuck? Do you have a favorite? Or do you disagree that such books are useful?