I have a writer-friend named Linda who is the queen of sensory descriptions. She writes so beautifully about place and emotion that she missed her calling as a travel brochure writer.
Me? I get rolling on the train of narrative and dialogue and sometimes I leave description and emotional tags at the station. And I know I’m not the only person with this problem.
So this month, I’d like to recommend a set of thesauri by Angela Ackerman & Bella Puglisi. These books should have a place on every writer’s shelf–especially those of us who find writing descriptive passages tedious. They are not sold as a set, but are certainly worth the list price for each book.
The Urban Setting Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to City Spaces by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi, Writers Helping Writers, 2016. 295 pages.
I once entered a contest in which my setting had to be urban. And while I wish I was City Mouse, I’m not. And so, I purchased a copy of Ackerman and Puglisi’s reference book and was delighted to find each page contained more exposition than simple lists.
The writers instruct as well as describe city places for writers. They tie setting to characterization and emotional responses that will shape your characters’ actions. in addition, each setting is put through the lens of the five senses.
This is a great resource in and of itself, or help writers push into a brainstorming session to come up with just the right urban setting and parameters for one’s work.
It is currently listed on Amazon for a large paperback at $15.55 or Kindle for $5.99.
The Rural Setting Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Personal and Natural Spaces by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi, Writers Helping Writers, 2016. 249 pages.
Like its sister book, URBAN SETTING, this reference book examines the craft of establishing a setting that creates emotional connections between the text and the reader. It explores considerations the writer must keep in mind in developing setting, as well as potential pitfalls. It also looks at how setting creates mood, drives the plot, and
creates conflict. In short, it’s a gold mine of instruction, not just a book a lists.
Many of the At Home and At School ideas listed herein would also fit in a suburban setting and in the Urban Setting. For this reason, I went ahead and bought both books. There is just so much of value to have to choose but one.
The sections on Rural Sights and Nature and Landforms are much more specific to locales around the country–both small country and large country, if you will.
The appendix also provides exercises for writers and a planning tool.
If you’ve ever wondered what is meant by the ubiquitous writing advice: SHOW, DON’T TELL, then you need these books. It’s all here.
For me, it’s like having Linda on a shelf. These books are great writing resources and will help shave your research time down so you can do what you really love to do: WRITE.
This book is currently listed on Amazon for $15.29 large paperback and $5.99 Kindle.
Thanks for reading!
Susan J. Anderson, Foxy Writer Chick