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Monday, September 22, 2014

Ingrid Sundberg's Color Thesaurus

I am sharing Ingrid Sundberg's Color Thesaurus this week because I found it so wonderful. I'm pretty sure anyone who is reading this loves words as I do. I imagine sometimes I could swim happily in a pool of them - some cold, some hot, some joyful, some sad, some wistful, some eager. I don't think of individual words as a static collection of letters but rather, almost living things, with different personalities and tempos and moods....and none more so than the words that represent colors.

So here, for your reading pleasure, I present:

The Color Thesaurus

I love to collect words. Making word lists can help to find the voice of my story, dig into the emotion of a scene, or create variety.
One of my on-going word collections is of colors. I love to stop in the paint section of a hardware store and find new names for red or white or yellow.  Having a variety of color names at my fingertips helps me to create specificity in my writing. I can paint a more evocative image in my reader’s mind if I describe a character’s hair as the color of rust or carrot-squash, rather than red.
So for fun, I created this color thesaurus for your reference. Of course, there are plenty more color names  in the world, so, this is just to get you started.
Fill your stories with a rainbow of images!

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Speak To Me Not of Genre


Of all the things you have to do to publish a book, choosing a genre is the hardest part. In fact, the very word strikes fear into my heart.

My books are a little bit of a lot of things but not enough of any one thing to call it that. They contain romance (quite non-traditional) and a bit of paranormal and a tad of mystery and some adventure, all sort of thrown together in a genre stew.

I cannot seem to conform enough to slot myself into any of the genre labels. My second book was meant to be a romance. I was determined to follow the guidelines and produce something salable. I'd watched my former student, Liz Flaherty, do it extremely well. She writes great books and gets them published. Damn, I taught her a few little things. Now I'd learn from her. But it didn't work.

Sticks and Carrots turned out to be a romance in the end but only after it wandered far from the acceptable bounds of romance publisher rules.

Another former student I'm in touch with recently told me that he's been publishing erotica. "They practically sell themselves," he said. It's for sure none of my books would ever earn a PG rating. They sometimes deal with taboo subjects and they are quite graphic but they aren't single-minded enough to be considered erotica, not like 50 Shades of Gray in which the sex was the whole point.

My heroes are never quite heroes. They aren't saved by love. They aren't redeemed by honor or patriotism which makes their lawlessness acceptable. And they aren't vampires or werewolves.

I have written eight books in the Rafe Vincennes series. A fan once told me, "there is nobody else in fiction like Rafe." I took that as compliment. But when an editor once asked me what other character I'd liken Rafe to, I gave him the same answer.

"Hmmm," he responded, "that's a problem."

Yes, for me, genre is a problem.