Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Juicy Words





Occasionally I’ve written staff interviews or articles for my church’s monthly newsletter, and a friend told me she especially enjoyed reading the ones I wrote because I use what her elementary school-aged son called “juicy words.”
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Naturally, I laughed. Juicy words?
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But you know, as writers, isn’t that what we should be aiming for? To make our stories come alive with juicy words and phrases? To use them to paint vivid pictures, evoke emotion and reveal character for our readers?
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Now before you call 911 and demand that my thesaurus be taken away from me, please note that I’m not talking about replacing every word or phrase you use with something utterly out of the ordinary, a deluge of prose that bogs down the story flow and makes readers stagger from one paragraph to the next. (Haven’t you read books where sentences are overwritten and clunky? Far too many sentences that draw you to a screeching halt and unfamiliar words forcing you to grab a dictionary every other page?)
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What I AM talking about is adding a pinch of spice. A splash of color. A tang of taste. Not using the first word or cliché that materializes in your head—and leaving it there on the page, gathering dust. Yes, in first drafts that’s entirely acceptable. Getting the story on the page is first and foremost. But when that draft is done. . . there’s still oodles of work to do!
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JUICY: rich, succulent, flavorful, tasty, full of vitality
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Check out this example:
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Two words got Trent Michaels’ attention and reminded him of his pre-West Point, pre-deployment days a dozen years ago.
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Ruth Logan Herne’s “Reunited Hearts” (April 2011) says it this way: Two words jerked Trent Michaels out of his comfort zone, tunneling him back a dozen years, pre-West Point, pre-deployment.
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Don’t you get an entirely different impression of the scene from Ruthy’s words? The first attempt states the situation nicely enough. The facts are there. But the second makes you feel it. The abruptness of the word “jerked” and the visual “tunneling” make all the difference. You’re there with Trent, aren’t you, as he hurtles back in time?
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She thought about the sound the pine needles made as she walked on them, the bugs flying around, the sun making her face feel warm.
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Audra Harder’s “Rocky Mountain Hero” (January 2011) puts it this way: She concentrated on the soft crunch of pine needles beneath her every step, the cloud of gnats buzzing around her ears, the wayward splotch of sunshine heating her face.
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Nice, isn’t it? And no thesaurus in sight! Notice how specifics also beef up the image—not just “bugs” but “gnats.” Not just buzzing, but buzzing around her ears.
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How about this phrase? It felt painful as he remembered…
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Missy Tippens’ “A Family For Faith” (April 2011) puts it: Pain steamrolled him flat to the floor as he remembered … Minor wording modification, but “steamrolled” is so active, so evocative. See how juicy words and phrasing work? Or how about how Missy turned a quite common “he laughed” into “A deep chuckle rumbled in his throat.” “He laughed” states a fact, but can’t you almost hear him in her choice of words?
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Myra Johnson’s “Romance By the Book” (2010) took an ordinary “She caught her breath” and turned it into “A hiccup of a breath caught in her throat.” And … “Sailor wanted to help him, but he’d already turned down Allan’s offer” was molded in Myra’s hands to become: “Sailor ached to help him, but he’d already rebuffed Allan’s offer.” See how emotion is revealed in her juicy word selection?
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Let’s look at a few more examples:
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He drank a glass of tea as he watched Margaret Reilly walk around the great room of the Reilly home. She was dressed in a pink suit.
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Tina Radcliffe’s “A Rancher’s Reunion” (January 2011) says it this way – He sipped a tall, chilled glass of sweet tea and watched Margaret Reilly flit around the great room of the Reilly home. A butterfly in a pink suit. You not only get a sense of who Margaret is, but you “see” Will, too, sipping that ice-cold tea.
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Having washed and rinsed his hands, Will washed his face and neck and dried off with paper towels.
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Again the facts are stated, but Tina Radcliffe’s “A Rancher’s Reunion” enriches it as: Sudsing his hands and rinsing, Will sluiced water over his face and neck, drying off with a wad of paper towels." Can’t you just see Will sudsing up? Smell the soap? Feel the water on his face and how drying off with a wad of paper towels rubs his skin?
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Her young charge was on the landing, hair in a bun, cheeks pale, her gaze on Callie.
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Janet Dean’s “Wanted: A Family” (March 2011)Her young charge appeared on the landing, her hair corralled in a tight bun, her cheeks pale, her gaze tethered to Callie’s like a lifeline.
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At dusk, streetlamps came on. As afternoon became evening, it got quiet and felt as serene as the town’s name. Peaceful.
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Janet Dean’s “Wanted: A Family” said it this way: The colorless cloak of dusk settled around them, streetlamps flared to life. The clamor of the afternoon softened to a sigh leaving a sense of serenity that whispered the town’s name. Peaceful. In these two examples, Janet paints a vivid picture, sets the mood.
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The people were quiet and only the soldiers walking along could be heard.
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How did Debby Giusti write it in “The Officer’s Secret?” (May 2011) - A hush fell over the crowd, leaving only the cadenced footfalls of the soldiers to echo in the stillness of the day. I don’t know about you, but I can feel that solemn, military procession.
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Katie struck out at Jack and pretended to glare at his friends.
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Julie Lessman’s “A Hope Undaunted” (2010) did it this way: Katie swatted at Jack and broiled his friends with a mock glare. Can’t you just see Julie’s feisty young flapper? Love it!
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The Colorado River flowed through the canyon.
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Mary Connealy’s “Deep Trouble” (2011) lassoed that mundane description and replaced it with: The bright blue of the Colorado River twisted like the grand-daddy of all rattlesnakes in the far depths of the canyon.
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And a few more juicy words . . .
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Can you tell Cheryl Wyatt loves to write action-packed scenes? From A Soldier’s Reunion (June 2009): Disregarding her own pain and fear, she scrambled through mazes of twisted metal, forcing her feet across puddles of burning gasoline.
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Look what Camy Tang did in her “Deadly Intent” (July 2009) – "His sandalwood cologne wove around her” and “Her heart twirled in a riotous dance.” And how about: “She took the bag from them, the scent of garlic curling up at her.”
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Cara Lynn James (“Love On Assignment” – 2010) took a standard “she blushed” and turned it into “A blast of heat scalded her cheeks.” And a simple “Charlotte smiled” transformed into a character-revealing phrase with Cara’s spin on it: “Charlotte squeezed out a smile.”
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And last, but not least, Glynna Kaye’s “Second Chance Courtship” (February 2011) takes wind blowing snow and converted it to this: A blustery gust shook the powder-like crystals loose, flinging them into the air and sending a fairy dust cascade earthward.
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So, let’s have some fun. Pick a sentence or two from the following list and rewrite it to share with us using JUICY WORDS—remembering not to overdo it. The purpose is to evoke an emotion, clarify and enrich an image, reveal character--not to cause a reader to get tangled up in your clever prose and jerked out of the story.
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1) He walked down the steps toward her.
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2) She felt upset when he said that.
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3) He looked tired when he got there.
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4) She ate her lunch.
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5) It was raining.
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6) The sun sank slowly into the west. ..
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If you’d like to be entered in a drawing for a copy of my August 2011 release, “At Home In His Heart,” please mention it in the comments section and leave your e-mail addy (remembering “at” and “dot”).
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Glynna Kaye’s Love Inspired “Dreaming of Home” is a 2010 finalist in the “Carol Award” and “Maggie Award,” as well as a first place winner of the “Booksellers Best” and “Beacon” awards. “Second Chance Courtship” released in February 2011 and “At Home In His Heart” (August 2011) garnered a 4 ½ start review from national magazine “RT Book Reviews.”

104 comments:

Michelle said...

Great post - I love when I'm reading and the author has used some really juicy .. unsually turn of phrases. I also love playing with my sentences to add in some juice.
Thanks for the inspiration

Tina Radcliffe said...

Wow, this was quite juicy!!!

Well done. GK!!

Vince said...

Hi Glynna:

I remember that quote from “Rocky Mountain Hero”. There are so many vivid descriptions in that book that it is like visiting Crested Butte again. I don’t think of “Rocky Mountain Hero” as a ‘keeper’ but rather as a ‘repeater’.

I really like it when the ‘juicy’ words are from the same time period as the story or from the same profession as the hero or heroine. If the heroine is a candy maker I like words from candy making. Reading text like this is like being wrapped in a warm fuzzy blanket on a cold moonless night.

From a Gothic Romance

1) He walked down the steps toward her.

He approached her as silently as fog flowing down the steps.


Medical Romance


2) She felt upset when he said that.

His words made her reach for the aspirins she kept in her purse.


1873 West Texas


3) He looked tired when he got there.

He entered the house with his eyes closed moving towards his bedroom by memory.

Romantic Suspense

4) She ate her lunch.

Her lunch was there and then it wasn’t.


Native American Romance


5) It was raining.

The tears in her eyes were washed away by the tears from the sky.


High Plains, 1869


6) The sun sank slowly into the west.

The mountains continued to rise in the west making the shadows grow longer and the sun gradually disappeared.

Great exercise and I didn't want to sleep anyway. : )

Vince

Jessica Nelson said...

Great examples! I love that you used each of the Seekers work. Very sweet. :-)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Vince, lovely. Lovely. Lovely.

Glynna, what great examples you've given here! And Michelle, I'm LOVING that pic! Gorgeous!

Juicy words is a great lesson for all writers, Glynna. It's so easy to wax on TOO LONG especially in longer word-count books. We should all take a lesson in slicing and dicing, then JUICING up the remains.

Thank you for this!

Kirsten Arnold said...

Loved this post, Glynna. What a difference just a few words can make to really put the reader inside the story.

Here's my entry for today.

He was tired when he got there. Becomes...

Shoulders fallen he lumbered on feet of lead and prayed the mirage ahead was indeed Cheyenne.

--Kirsten

Glynna Kaye said...

Good morning, Seekerville! I don't see any coffee out yet...but you'll have to wait on someone who actually DRINKS it otherwise you might regret whatever I attempt to brew!

In honor of JUICY WORDS this morning, I've brought a chilled watermelon slices, cantaloupe, grapes, strawberries and blueberry muffins! Feel free to add your own favorites to this JUICY feast!

Glynna Kaye said...

Hi MICHELLE! Aren't juicy words fun? Sometimes those words flow naturally into our writing during first draft and other times we have to give them some thought and weave them in later.

Glynna Kaye said...

WOW, VINCE! These are GREAT examples of using juicy words sparingly but effectively! I can really picture these! Isn't it amazing? I know nothing else about these characters or the scene, but my mind paints the pictures for me with the words and the arrangement you've selected! Well done!

And yes, Audra's "Rocky Mountain Hero" is full of juicy, evocative words. In fact I was talking to someone this past week who said she loved reading books about places she'd been and really liked my Canyon Springs stories. She was originally from Colorado and said she loved books set there---so I recommended Audra's for great Colorado flavor!

Glynna Kaye said...

Good morning, JESSICA! I had fun cruising through the Seeker books and snagging their juicy words. I wrote this post several months ago, though, before Pam got "the call" so I don't have anything from "Stealing Jake." Didn't have time to add it in over the weekend as I'm racing toward a book proposal deadline AND edits for my March book arrived at the same time! Yikes!

Soooo, if any of you have "Stealing Jake" already, take a peek and post a few of Pam's juicy word sentences here to share!

Glynna Kaye said...

Hi, RUTHY! I totally agree. ONE juicy word can do the work of a dozen! One of the many ways to provide those "rewards per page" Vince reminds us to include.

Janet Dean said...

Wonderful post, Glynna! Oodles of great examples of spicing up a book with juicy words. Vivid details bring a story to life.

Great point and examples, Vince, on using juicy words that fit the h/h profession or the story's setting!

Love the fruit, Glynna! I've added juicy peaches to the buffet.

Janet

Glynna Kaye said...

Good morning, KIRSTEN! And good job! I can definitely visualize your scene. Get a sense of his weariness. I especially like the mirage image.

Glynna Kaye said...

Good morning, JANET! You do such a beautiful job of weaving juicy words into YOUR scenes and it makes them come alive.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Good morning Glynna, I love these examples.

Your words show us how to use them.

change to:

Glynna inspired us to enrich our work with juicy words.


How's that?

Great examples Vince.

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, GLYNNA, this was WONDERFUL!!! LOVE the title and LOVE the premise because, OH MY, there's nothing quite like "juicy words," especially when they lead to "juicy" scenes ... :)

And VINCE and KIRSTEN -- GREAT job!!! Vince, I am SO with you there on the juicy words reflecting the era or occupation, and I like them to reflect the specific scene as well. I tried to do this in the following lines from A Passion Denied where Marcy is severely depressed because Patrick and she are on the outs, and as a result, it's one of my favorite scenes to this day:

Marcy stood at Mrs. Gerson’s kitchen window, in bleak harmony with the rivulets of water that slithered down the pane. It was a slow and steady rain, endless weeping from a gray and dismal sky, and Marcy felt a kinship with it.

FUN post today, Glynster!!

Hugs,
Julie

Sandra Leesmith said...

Oooh Julie, I remember that scene. Good going. You're a master of juicy words. smile

Whitney said...

Glynna, I very recently finished your book Dreaming of Home and loved it! And then I tried to start another book and just couldn’t get into the characters because they weren’t at all like Meg and Joe. Lol. Loved it, so please, put me in the drawing for At Home in His Heart.

I loved all the “clips” you shared from Seeker books, many which I have read, and a few that are still on the TBR list! Hmm. Not sure I can compare with ol’ Vince there, but let’s see what I can come with.

(3) He looked tired when he got there.

His face and shoulders drooped as he stepped onto the porch, his appearance resembling an old ragdoll.

(6) The sun sank slowly into the west. ..

Like a plump, ripe orange, the sun dipped full and wistful into its pine-topped cradle.
OR
Like a sleepy child, the sun lowered itself into its pine-topped cradle, a blanket of pink and orange hues trailing behind.

This was fun!

road_to_avonlea_17(at)yahoo(dot)com
Whitney

Edwina said...

Great post!

edwina(dot)cowgill(at)yahoo(dot)com

Kav said...

Great post -- but it looks so easy when you guys do it!!!!!!!

Here's a couple of my tries:


3) He looked tired when he got there. -- Exhaustion sharpened his features.

4) She ate her lunch. -- She savored every delectable bite.

Not sure about this one:

1) He walked down the steps toward her. -- Bounding down the steps two at a time, he enveloped her in a bracing hug.

Not sure about the 'ing' in bounding. I think that I read somewhere that ing words weren't the best way to go? And the sentence seems a bit awkward -- like he's hugging while he's bounding. LOL. Can you fix it oh great master?

Glynna Kaye said...

Good morning, SANDRA! I had so much fun doing this post. Want to do something similar again--so I can feature your recent release THE PRICE OF VICTORY! Loved it in manuscript form! You really brought the bicycle racing world alive with JUICY words!

Glynna Kaye said...

Hi, JULIE! Great, juicy scene! Bleak - rivulets - slithering. And because you tied the description in with her emotion it isn't a stand-alone description that often readers will skim over.

Glynna Kaye said...

Good Morning, Whitney! So glad you enjoyed my "Dreaming of Home!"

Such great juicy word examples! Love that image of plump orange-like sun dipping into a pine-topped cradle. Wish I'd have thought of that one!! Perfect for my Canyon Springs mountain country stories!

Cara Lynn James said...

I love 'juicy' words! Sometimes they come easily as I type, but sometimes the words are totally flat. That's what revisions are for.

On the top of my wish list--an extra month to change the prosaic into poetry.

Julie Lessman said...

I browsed Pammy's book, and here's the first sentence my eyes lit on:

Light from inside the house shot fire through reddish-brown curls and revealed a smattering of freckles across a pert nose.

JUICY words galore ... shot fire, smattering, pert.

Hugs,
Julie

Glynna Kaye said...

Hi, KAV! More good examples! I'm notorious for doing the "ing" thing -- I don't think it's a no-no, just needs to be used sparingly. But it helps vary sentences on a page and provide a "rhythm."

Let's see... He bound down the steps two at a time, then enveloped her in a bracing hug.

Or He bound down the steps two at a time to envelop her in a bracing hug.

??

Glynna Kaye said...

Cara -- first drafts can be pretty rough. That's why I'm trying to learn how to write FASTER so I can spend more time on the "magic" side of it. Once you're published, there isn't so much time & wiggle room as we had as unpubbeds, is there?

Glynna Kaye said...

Cara -- first drafts can be pretty rough. That's why I'm trying to learn how to write FASTER so I can spend more time on the "magic" side of it. Once you're published, there isn't so much time & wiggle room as we had as unpubbeds, is there?

Glynna Kaye said...

Oh, man, I could play in Seekerville all day. I can tell it's going to be a fun one. Some of the examples you all are sharing inspire me to step my own "juicy words" up a notch! I have to be out-of-pocket awhile, but will check back in later!

Missy Tippens said...

Glynna, I love the term juicy words! Great post today!

Vince, you're right about making it fit the character's pov. I had fun writing juicy words for my hero who was a brilliant physicist. :)

Y'all are giving some great ones of your own! Keep them coming.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Wow, You all are definitely writers. I love the juicy words you're all coming up with.

Thanks Julie for adding some of Pam's from Stealing Jake. Its a great read full of juicy words.

Have a great day Glynna. Don't work too hard. Save some energy for your great writing.

Patsy said...

Would love to read At Home In His Heart. Sounds great.

Love the juicy word post!

plhouston(at)bellsouth(dot)net

MaryC said...

I love this, Glynna. I feel intimidated and inspired at the same time.

Or ... Glynna's choice of juicy examples brought the writer to her knees but lifted her with the hope that someday, she too could write like that.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Mary C., Good job on commenting with juicy words. Glynna will love it.

Virginia said...

I LOVED this post! And I remembered that line from Janet's 'Wanted: a Family', where the young girl's eyes are fastened on Callie like a lifeline. These are all so good! I'm almost afraid to try- stage fright!
Kav- I liked the 'features sharpened with exhaustion'. So perfect!
Let's see. He walked toward her...
His gaze unflinching, every measured step he took across the room seemed to promise she would regret her angry words.

Uh, maybe not. Too wordy. I think a true master of the craft doesn't just use juicy words, he/she uses the ones that are perfect- and nothing more. (Like Dr. Seuss, ahaha!)

Susan Anne Mason said...

Great post, Glynna!

We need those reminders to make 'magic' with our writing.

Love all the examples. My brain is too tired to think at the moment!

Cheers,
Sue
sbmason at sympatico dot ca

Debra E. Marvin said...

someone hand me a towel. This post was like eating watermelon. Yum.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Virginia, Susan and Debra,

That post was like eating watermelon. Great juicy words Debra.

Virginia, it never hurts to be too wordy and then edit later. That way you get those creative juices flowing for the juicy words.

So fun isn't it?

Jan Drexler said...

Hi Glynna,

Love your juicy words! And Kav is right - you Seekers make it look easy!

I decided to cowboy up and try a few of them anyway:

She felt upset when he said that:

At his words her face flushed hot, then cold as the heat rushed to her stomach. Her hands clenched beneath her apron. Nothing would feel better than slapping that satisfied grin off his face, but that would only prove his point.

He looked tired when he got there:

A dusty leg eased over the horse’s rump as the rider slid to the ground. He swayed for a breath or two, shadowed eyes searching the crowd before he slumped to the ground.

The sun sank slowly into the west:

Orange clouds laced the sky, concluding that endless day in a final, glorious requiem.

Thank you for the inspiration to tackle my editing anew!

And please enter me in the drawing - jandrex(at)juno(dot)com

Nancy Kimball said...

Glynna, this was great, thank you.

Scared to take on Vince, Whitney and the others, LOL, but here goes:

5) She ate her lunch.

She nibbled her lunch.
She vacuumed down her lunch.

6) The sun sank slowly into the West.

The sun retreated into the nightly grave of the Western horizon, reluctant as always.

Okay, that was probably overdoing it, LOL. :p

Please enter me for the drawing.

Virginia said...

I was just sharing this post with my 11 year old and she wanted to add her own. From the 'she ate lunch'...
She picked at her arugula salad and dreamed about Mr. Chow's steamed pork buns.

Hahaha! You can tell she's a fan of Chinese food and not salads.

Myra Johnson said...

Oh my, Glynna! You're making me want to dive back into editing mode on my latest WIP (which I thought was complete!) and squeeze out some more juice!

Love the great examples from our guests today, too, especially Jan's tired cowboy!

Also, Vince said, "I really like it when the ‘juicy’ words are from the same time period as the story or from the same profession as the hero or heroine."

I completely agree. Descriptions, similes, and metaphors always seem so much more effective if they directly relate to something in the the character's life, the setting, or the time period.

Linnette R Mullin said...

Excellent post, Ruthy! :D

She felt upset when he said that.

Carrie paced the length of the back porch – all three feet of it. How dare he speak to her that way! Wisps of hair escaped its pony-tail’s hold every time she whipped around. A slight breeze tugged at them uselessly as they clung to the sweat trailing her neck. Who does he think he is, anyway? Oblivious to the scorching heat, she stomped down the steps and headed for the barn. She’d show him!

Linnette R Mullin said...

Oh! And please include me in the drawing: lr(dot)mullin(at)live(dot)com.

Missy Tippens said...

These are great! Y'all are doing an amazing job.

Virginia, tell your daughter that's perfect!! :) I love it. And as one who's tired of salad and dying for real food, that got my mouth watering. LOL

Missy Tippens said...

Nancy, I don't think that's overdoing it at all. I loved it.

Missy Tippens said...

Jan, I'm anxious to find out what happened to your cowboy! :)

KC Frantzen said...

How fun GK and may I PLEASE have some of that melon? MMMMMMM!!!

Dashing here so real quickly -
She ate her lunch.

Elyse checked her watch. Great... 5 minutes...
She scarfed her PB&J in 2 minutes flat and gulped her Dr. Pepper on the way.

Would love to win your book! may at maythek9spy dot com

Casey said...

It's amazing what the right words in the right place can do for a story.

I used to dig in my thesaurus and come up with the biggest most expensive words for a situation, thinking it made me a better wordsmith. I'm still too wordy, it's something I work with everyday, but hopefully not for the million dollar words anymore.

Great post! Thanks so much Glynna. :)

(I would like to be entered please--email in profile)

karenk said...

great posting....love the watermelon picture :)

please count me in your book draw.

thanks.
karenk
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Janet Dean said...

I'm impressed with all the great descriptions Glynna's challenge triggered today. Excellent job!

I'm keeping Glynna's reminder that description should evoke an emotion, clarify and enrich an image, reveal character.

I brought lunch. Juicy burgers hot off the grill with sliced juicy tomatoes and corn on the cob slathered with butter and a sprinkle of salt. Yum! Got lots of napkins. :-)

Janet

Vince said...

Hi Glynna:

“Stealing Jake” has some very evocative passages.

This is the start of Chapter Six:

“Tucked away at the base of a hillside on the outskirts of town, surrounded by cedars and cocooned in several inches of snow, Gus Jones’s cabin looked downright cozy.”

Just consider how much info is conveyed in this one sentence.

Short and to the point also counts. I love this one:

“Playing the part of a devout Christian turned his stomach in more ways than one.”

That's all I need. I now know this character.

And here is a great example of writing to the period and/or profession.

“Since she hadn’t been able to snag the deputy for dinner, she’d set her sights on him.”

Of course, you set your sights in the old west. Even girls.

There is a lot of very good writing in “Stealing Jake” (I would just change some of the names.):)

There’s one other thing I like in addition to being ‘juicy’ and in context to the story content, and that is writing the story in a way that only you could have written it.

Camy is fantastic at this in her Asian-American books.

From

Weddings and Wasabi

“Really? Trish was ten times prettier – most people said so. The best they could ever say about Jenn was that she had a deep, husky Lauren Bacall voice.”

And

“He squeezed her fingers slightly – she wasn’t sure what that meant. Her brain was firing Run away! Run away! synapses like exploding fireworks, but she followed him to the bike.”

Who else would have written this? Camy has a fantastic sense of humor. I really recommend, “Weddings and Wasabi”. At least read this book if you haven’t read her Asian-American books yet. It's fun to read.

Vince

Debby Giusti said...

I'm adding watermelon to the lunch Janet brought. Juicy, red ripe watermelon that from here on will always remind me to dig deeper to find the perfect word when I'm writing.

BTW, my dad--from Ohio--salted his watermelon. Anyone else use salt on melon?

Fantastic post, Glynna!

Myra Johnson said...

Salt on watermelon?

DEFINITELY!!!

Now I need to go out and buy one!

Next question: Fork or spoon?

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Jan, Nancy and Virginia,

What great juicy words you came up with. Isn't it funny how many ways you can say one thing?

Virginia, love that your daughter joined in. She's destined to be a writer for sure.

Sandra Leesmith said...

KC and Linnette, You can tell you're writers. smile

Casey, I so agree. I used to try the million dollar words too, but in reality its the juicy words that make the difference. The million dollar words end up making it stilted and contrived.

Vince, What you just said about recognizing the author from how she writes is what editors call "The Voice". When they say they are looking for a fresh voice, that is what they mean. They want a writer whose voice stands out from the crowd. Camy is great at doing that.

Stephanie Rae Pazicni said...

Since I am eating my lunch as I read your blog I can offer: Determined to fit in her jeans before cooler weather, she resolutely shoveled in exactly six ounces of plain, low-fat yogurt.

travelingstacey said...

This is great, Glynna! I loved all of your exampes. I just wish those juicy words would pop into my brain easier than they do. It seems like I have to think, go watch a movie or read something, come back to it and then some inspiration comes. Is knowing how to write...juicily?...something that comes with practice and experience, a natural gift, or a little of both? I'm going to try it...
2) She felt upset when he said that.
His criticism immediately caused her lips to crease into a tight line. Before she said something she'd regret, she turned and stalked out of the room.
4) She ate her lunch.
Balancing the tray on her swollen belly, she slowly reached over for the buttery sandwich. Carefully dipping the edge into her warm tomato soup, she smiled. She may pay for it later, but the heartburn would be worth it.

I couldn't help the last one. I'm dying for tomato soup and grilled cheese! lol
Blessings~Stacey
travelingstacey(at)bellsouth(dot)net

Linnette R Mullin said...

Sandra, thanks! I needed to hear that today! :-)

Debby Giusti said...

Myra asked, "Fork or spoon?"

Good question.

Usually, I pick up watermelon with my hands. :) But if I need to be polite, then I prefer a fork.

Debby Giusti said...

Everyone is being very creative today, thanks to Glynna!

And hungry...

Tomato soup, grilled cheese and yogurt. Plus watermelon, of course.

Loved the swollen belly! :)

Mary Connealy said...

I'm so slow getting to seekerville today.
And here I qualified as juicy...that happens very rarely.

Mary Connealy said...

1) He walked down the steps toward her.
2) She felt upset when he said that.
3) He looked tired when he got there.
4) She ate her lunch.
5) It was raining.
6) The sun sank slowly into the west.

What's really fun about this exercise is there are so many directions you can go, setting mood.

1) He walked down the steps toward her.
Every step he took down those steps cut off her chances of escape. But even though Ruthy was dreading this meeting, she knew she wanted to be caught.

2) She felt upset when he said that.
He smiled while he casually arranged her life without consulting her. She rubbed the callus on her finger, the one she'd earned by pulling the trigger a thousand times.

3) He looked tired when he got there.
There is the classic: He looked like he'd been rode hard and put up wet.
But let's be original. :)
He had bags under his eyes big enough to pack for a two week camping trip.

4) She ate her lunch.
The plate in front of her was full of pretty fruit that looked like toxic waste and a savory quiche that smelled like sawdust thanks to her lunch companion.

5) It was raining.
She felt the thirsty ground soak up the misting rain as if she was part of the earth. And she was, no one could live this long in west Texas and not be part of the earth.

6) The sun sank slowly into the west.
Fire from the hand of an artist God etched across the western sky as day gave way to night.

Tea said...

Juicy words, luv that description.

Nancy Kimball said...

Thank you Missy and Sandra.
I'd overdo it with all of them if I could. May explain how Chasing the Lion got to 112K words. I'm learning the balance. I can't make them all mouth watering, or the page takes that eggplant hue, LOL
Sometimes it needs to be just 'She slapped him.'

Pam Hillman said...

Now that was one juicy blog post! Rubbing my reader tummy in satisfied pleasure.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Spew alert Stephanie- I was shoveling the last bite of a chicken and cheese burro as I was reading your comment. That really made me laugh. LOL I don't want to even think about how many calories were in that burro.

Hi Stacey. It must be lunch time. Tomato soup and grilled cheese is my hubby's favorite lunch. Even on a hot day. I really like how you showed that sentence in two different ways.

One workshop I went to had us write out the theme for our wip. Then they had us write lists of verbs, nouns, adjectives that went with that theme. It was really helpful when writing to glance up at that list and pick out words that fit.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hey Mary, I would know those were your juicy words even if you didn't have your photo on the comment.

See Vince, you've got to agree. Mary has a distinct voice also. Western laced with humor.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Hey, dropping off food. No juice...

You guys are 'juiced' enough.

But I brought some pulled pork and onion rings for a quick supper. Potato salad with fresh green pepper. And a fruity rice salad that just whispers "Summer" in sweet, dulcet tones!

Dig in. I think I've got more coffee here somewhere... Oh, yes. Here it is!

And the Coke cooler is full. Glass bottles of course. No other way to go for soda lovers.

Did you guys know that some dairies are actually producing milk in glass bottles again?

Totally psyched. Using it in a book, I'm THAT enthralled. It all just tastes so much better!

Jackie S. said...

Love the "juicy post" today!! And would love to read your book, Glynna, so please enter me.
Thanks!
jackie.smith[at]dishmail[dot]net

Sandra Leesmith said...

"A fruity salad that whispers summer" Oh my Ruthy, you wax poetic with those juicy words.

But it does sound yummy. Thanks.

RE: bottles. They are finding that plastic is not good for us or for the environment. Hence back to bottles. And paper sacks. Love it.

Pam Hillman said...

Whitney wrote: Like a sleepy child, the sun lowered itself into its pine-topped cradle, a blanket of pink and orange hues trailing behind.


Now THAT is beautiful imagery!

Pam Hillman said...

SPEW ALERT!!!

“Since she hadn’t been able to snag the deputy for dinner, she’d set her sights on him.”

Except for the fact that I've got Lavinia wanting to snag the deputy FOR DINNER!!!

Yikes! What was she going to do??? Eat him???

Definitely gives new meaning to juicy words.

ROFLOL

Pam Hillman said...

No salt.

Spoon.

Except forks to make a "gate" on the side and drink the juice. lol

mary bailey said...

I loved the juiciness of this post. It inspired me to work on a sentence of my own for thirty minutes. Thanks for showing us all of the great examples from all the Seekers!

jprivette1(at)roadrunner(dot)com

Pam Hillman said...

Mary wrote:
Fire from the hand of an artist God etched across the western sky as day gave way to night.

Ah, more beautiful words.

Do I have a thing for sunsets or something?

Linnette R Mullin said...

Glynna! I saw Ruth's was the first example and somehow got it in my head this was her post. Thanks so much for putting this together. It's excellent! I shared it with my twitter followers. :D

Patty Wysong said...

Very juicy post!! Excellent examples that really show the difference!

Esther received this book today (she won it here) and her sister stole it and is reading it. LOL. Books are better than candy around here. =]

Thanks!! for the post and the book. ;-)

Cindy W. said...

Okay, I'll try my hand at some juicy words...

1. He walked down the steps towards her.
He stalked down the steps, the fire in his eyes burning into her.

2) She felt upset when he said that.
His words bit into her like a rabid dog.

3) He looked tired when he got there.
He fondled the walls, first left then right as he lumbered his way to the bedroom.

4) She ate her lunch.
She nibbled at the corner of the pizza allowing the pepperoni to slide onto her tongue.

5. It was raining..
A fine mist fell cleansing the air.

6. The sun sank slowly into the west.
The sun dipped softly into the golden lake as night beckoned.

That was fun...thank you...

Would love to be entered to win a copy of At Home In His Heart.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

countrybear52[at]yahoo[dot]com

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hmmm She wants to snag the deputy for dinner. Pam, only you would think of having the deputy for dinner. LOL Tooooooo funnnny. That went right over my head, but you're right. Who wants a deputy dinner?

Not with a fork nor a spoon.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Nice juicy words Cindy.

I love all the creativity today. You really started something Glynna.

Waving at Patty and Mary B.

connie said...

Salt on watermelon, of course.

In a hurry so I only have time for one.

2. She felt upset when he said that.

She could hardly get the Hershey bar unwrapped before the first tear fell.

(first tear falling is clique and I didn't mention his words. But hey...)

Connie Queen
bcountryqueen6 at msn dot com

CatMom said...

GREAT post, Glynna! Thanks for sharing these wonderful examples of juicy writing (another keeper post, for certain!). Blessings, Patti Jo :)

Glynna Kaye said...

FINALLY back at my computer, and look at all the fabulous examples of JUICY words!! You all really outdid yourselves today!!

Glynna Kaye said...

VIRGINIA -- You built some great tension into your example--gaze unflinching, measured steps. We not only see him, but we also feel the impact of his approach on the heroine.

Glynna Kaye said...

Great job, JAN! I especially like the visual with the "swayed for a breath" and "shadowed eyes."

Reading some of these snippets makes me wish there was a WHOLE BOOK to go with them!

Glynna Kaye said...

NANCY -- I couldn't help but smile at the "vacuumed down her lunch!" Now THAT was one hungry lady! :)

Glynna Kaye said...

VIRGINIA -- Looks like you have a budding writer in your midst!!

Glynna Kaye said...

MYRA--I'm like Vince, too--enjoy the juicy words that fit the character and the time. In my first book, "Dreaming of Home," the hero was an ex-Navy corpsman and I enjoyed using sea-related terminology. And cowboyish words in my "Second Chance Courtship."

Glynna Kaye said...

MARYC -- That sounds SO poetic!! :)

Glynna Kaye said...

LINNETTE -- Great juicy visuals: paced, wisps, whipped, trailing, stomped.

Glynna Kaye said...

KC--now THAT's a whirlwind lunch!

Glynna Kaye said...

CASEY--I still use my thesaurus a lot (the one in Word) so I can find new words for overused ones. When I'm racing toward a deadline I can get lazy (just because I'm TIRED) and sometimes perusing the thesaurus and the magic of words awakens my creative juices again.

Glynna Kaye said...

VINCE - Thanks for sharing the great examples from Pam's "Stealing Jake" and Camy's "Weddings and Wasabi"!!

Glynna Kaye said...

STEPHANIE -- great image with the "shoveled in" contrasting with the "exactly six ounces."

Glynna Kaye said...

STACEY -- Oh, man,now you've made ME hungry! Buttery sandwich dipped in warm tomato soup. YUM

Glynna Kaye said...

Ah! Ms. Connealy is a MASTER of fresh, juicy words that leap off the page!!

Glynna Kaye said...

CINDY W - "bit into her like a rabid dog" lets you know how his words impacted her. I really like "allowing the pepperoni to slide onto her tongue" too! :)

Glynna Kaye said...

Thanks again, everyone, for popping in and playing around with "Juicy Words!" And thanks to all the Seekers who covered for me when I had to be gone today! YOU'RE THE GREATEST!!!

Camy Tang said...

Aw thanks so much, Vince! That's high praise!
Camy

Pepper said...

Wonderful post, Glynna
My mouth was watering at such juicy words! :-)
And the post really hit me hard.
I'm in desperate need of two things:
A word slicer
and
A juicy word finder

Sounds like I might could find those in some kind of word kitchen :-)

Sandra Leesmith said...

Wow Glynna, you got caught up after a loooong day at work. I'm impressed with your unbounding energy.

This post was fun and you can see our Seeker friends had a blast.

Audra Harders said...

Glynna, I'm arriving late as usual but couldn't help but comment on the GREAT post today! How simple to evoke image and emotion with one or two "juicy words" rather than pages of purple prose!

I have to laugh even as an elementary school aged young man is smitten by your style of writing. He has great taste : )

Definitely a keeper!!

Natalie Monk said...

Love this post. I think that's my favorite part of writing. When the first draft is done and the lifeless words are waiting to be fluffed up into something wonderful.