Think Thesaurus

One invaluable tool I use on a regular basis is my thesaurus. I have it sitting on my computer desk within easy reach. When I’m writing about a particular subject, and I need to break up my article or manuscript with a different synonym, my thesaurus gives me a plethora of choices to prevent my piece from becoming redundant.

I picked up my copy for a few bucks at an outlet store several years ago. It was one of those, “Should I buy this?” kind of moments. I’m so glad I talked myself into its purchase. It is used more often than my dictionary.

Looking for a first-rate writing resource? Think thesaurus.

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Class Research

As writers we need to offer legitimacy to the words and stories we write. That’s why it’s crucial to do our  homework and dive into that extra bit of research. One way is to take classes.

Suppose you’re writing about a girl who owns a horse. By taking a horseback riding class, you can learn about saddles, reins, and bits, as well as learning how to ride.

Maybe one of your scenes involves a clue hidden in a stained glass window. Take a class to help you understand all that’s involved in creating such a work of art.

Research is crucial in making your story believable. Why not have fun while doing it? Enroll in a class and learn hands on.

A Tribute

Even though I didn’t grow up wanting to be a writer, I have to acknowledge that my training started early. Loving to read helped. I was reading since before Kindergarten and I haven’t stopped since. Reading helped me to develop my vocabulary and taught me a lot about imagery and story telling.

But the hardest training I had, that definitely prepared me for the writer’s path I am on today, was my high school Honors English classes with Sister Bernadette. She was very strict, and the rules of grammar were literally carved into your brain. It was either learn or be ostracized. I chose to learn.

And I’m glad I did. Her lessons helped me stand out in the job market when someone with good writing skills was needed. Friends and family members still ask me to help compose letters or proofread papers. Her strictness helped me develop discipline to compose quality articles so that, as one editor has put it, he has little to do before he sends my piece on for final review.

So I’m thankful for Sister Bernadette, the toughest teacher I ever had, but whose efforts and faithfulness to her teaching has opened many publishing doors for me.

Multiple Genres

I’ve read a lot of blog talk the past several weeks on whether one should write in more than one genre. Some have argued that a publisher will want to market one area only, not several. Another said that if you build up one audience, you need to follow with a similar story to keep that audience. Someone else pointed out that you should wait until you make it big and then step into another area.

I have a problem with these arguments. As a Christian I pray for the Lord to stir my heart towards projects. He has given me many, and they are not all in the same genre. I’ve written for both adult and children, fiction and non-fiction. I enjoy mysteries for kids and I’m working on a YA novel right now. As I keep writing and seeking the Lord’s direction, He keeps giving me a variety of ideas. I need to be faithful to put them down onto paper. I’ll let Him worry about the marketing details.