F is for Finding the right words or phrases

This is a continuation of the A-Z blog challenge.  Click here to see the list of all 1935 participants!

I was going to do a post on Fantasy today because I adore the genre so much. There’s nothing that excites my reading eye more than a great story of dragons, gnomes, knights and other worldly creatures. Lately I’ve taken to dystopians, and now I can’t get enough of them. While there are many fantasy writers out there that float my boat, my top three picks for adult reads are: Raymond Feist, Martha Wells and Storm Constantine. As for YA fantasy, Cassandra Clare, Julie Kagawa, Suzanne Collins and Veronica Roth top my list.

But I digress. I’m not here today to chit-chat about fantasy. I want to talk about brain farts and finding the right words or phrases necessary to finish that Number 1 best-seller you’re working on.

Now, I’ve been writing my entire life, ever since I could hold a crayon, and you’d think I’d have this writing thing down to an art. Ha! I wish. *shakes head*. Nope. I have to tell you, there are times my brain simply farts and the lights in my noggin shut off and all you can get out of me is “See Spot run.”

Yeah, yeah, all you writers go on and admit it. You’ve been there, too. It’s very nerve-wracking when your brain stutters.

My most recent brainiac backfire happened last night. My character became confused. Now we all know you can’t TELL your reader the character’s confused, that would be too easy. You have to SHOW that he’s confused. This involves giving your character facial expressions, body movements. He has to use…words.

All of a sudden my mind hit a brick wall – WHAM! It shut down. I sat there like a blithering idiot, tapping my fingers. I’m tired of the old standbys – “His brows drew together.”, or “His eyes narrowed.” I desperately thumbed through my trusty old thesaurus that is barely hanging onto its binding, but I found nothing there. All of a sudden, I snapped my fingers and said, Jenny, you’re an imbecile. Check out the Bookshelf Muse’s Emotional Thesaurus, dolt! You have it bookmarked!

Duh! I clicked on my little Bookshelf Muse short cut, looked up ‘confusion’ and lo and behold, my brain woke up. It got chugging. Smoke came out of the stack again as I looked at all those sweet, glorious little ‘emotional’ morsels waiting to fuel my creative genius. Soon I was off again, writing until my body wore out and I had to go to bed. Yes, sometimes sleep is inevitable, even for authors.

Today is Friday. It’s a new day, the sun is up and in a few minutes, I will go at it again, picking up where I left off, determined to finish my short story re-write before diving back into my novel. This time, though, there is a sticky note on my computer that says in big letters – Bookshelf Muse. I suggest you do the same to save yourself the headache of finding the right word or phrase. Odds are, what you’re looking for is right in front of you.

Have a fantastical, fabulous Friday.

14 thoughts on “F is for Finding the right words or phrases

  1. Great link! I’m adding it to my bookmarks. I get those brain fart moments too. Then I remind myself sometimes my words just place holders. So I’ll type his brow furrowed and move on knowing that has to be fixed. Sometimes I even draft with cliches. But I bust them as soon as I can. 🙂


  2. Oh, I adore The Bookshelf Muse! Such a great resource for word choice and for expanding the way we express emotions for our characters. Glad you gave the Muse a shout out!


  3. Wow. What an awesome testimonial for The Bookshelf Muse! I’m so glad you found it useful. Maybe we should add “brain fart antidote” to our blog’s tagline ;). Thanks so much for spreading the word!

    Becca @ The Bookshelf Muse


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