Words like x-rays

How can you write ‘words like X-rays’? Readers like to live the emotion of the story. How do you show the emotion so the reader is pierced? Feel the emotion yourself and it will shine through in your writing.

Keep some kind of conflict in each scene, Put yourself in the part of the character, act out the part, sink deep into the role and draw that emotion onto the page and show, don’t tell. How you ask? It’s easy to tell. Just tell it like it is.

I was angry. Furious. How dare she call my beautiful little girl a fat pig? She’s a gorgeous six-year-old without body image problems. Did the woman, who does have an eating disorder herself, not care about the damage she might cause?

Yes, as a reader you may be enraged by the situation. However, did you feel the rage in your body? How might that feel? What do you think about something like this:

My hand fisted at my side, ready to punch the mouth that said such a cruel thing to my beautiful daughter. A red tide of rage rose across my chest, up my throat across my cheeks and wavered before my eyes. I ground my teeth in an effort to hold my tongue, to stop myself giving her a piece of my mind before I took time to think through my response.

‘May I please speak with you privately?’ The softest voice I could muster shook as I restrained myself from adding a curse word or five in front of the children.





Yes. Guilty. I read the dictionary. For fun.

Why? I love finding new words to use, coming across old friends I’ve forgotten and learning a word for an idea when I hadn’t known one existed. Zoetic Words are my favourite..

Wonderful words I come across which I’d forgotten all about, or learning the different nuances of meaning expressed by variations of the same root word.

Every home needs a good dictionary and not only for playing the dictionary game (for how to play see Fictionary) or Scrabble. Gift suggestion – a beautiful big dictionary. They are not cheap to buy but make a beautiful addition to a home library. Not something a lot of people, except writers and editors, buy for themselves.

I once gave a gorgeous big gold-edged dictionary as a wedding present to a couple I knew, new Australians whose first language was not English. I was so chuffed when, some time later, the groom thanked me and said it was one of the best presents they received. The bride confirmed that he definitely sat down to read it at every available opportunity. My kind of people.

Do you also look up new words you come across when reading? I do. Modern technology makes it so easy when reading online or on Kindle etc with built-in dictionaries.

Words, Stories and the Heart

Language of the heart

Isn’t this the most wonderful use of words! I was talking to someone recently who was curious about my work as an editor. The book I’m currently working on is a moving story told in approximately 80,000 words. He couldn’t get over that number. How many words! In reality, it’s not an especially large book. Then he confided that he didn’t think he’d ever read that many words at a time, that he’d never read a book.

How sad! I know there are other people out there like him. I’ve met a number of them and recently saw a program about those who are unable to read or write effectively. How does one live without reading? It’s hard for me to imagine living without books and reading.

This made me think though, about how Story is everywhere around us. We use it to amuse, entertain, inform and educate ourselves and others. It’s in the jokes we tell to make people laugh, to illustrate the absurdity of life by exaggeration and fantasy. It’s in the sermons and parables of priests and ministers. It’s in schools and universities, used to illustrate concepts and ideas to assist scholars’ comprehension and understanding.

It’s all over the internet in websites and blogs. It’s on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram where ordinary people can share stories of their lives, their pets, their favourite things, pet peeves, warnings, memes with morales…

The arts are all about story whether it’s in the pictures which tell a thousand words and move us without saying a thing aloud. It’s in the music we listen to when we want to be soothed, stirred or forget ourselves in melody and dance. It’s at theatres in plays, ballets and every other kind of performance. It’s in everything from great literature and novels down to comics, magazines and newspapers.

Turn on the radio or television and there it is, in neat little packages defined by however many minutes or seconds advertisers buy, in news and current affairs, serialised in sitcoms, made-for-tv movies and reruns of blockbuster movies we once bought tickets to see at the cinema. Movies on which mountains of money are spent vying for consumer dollars, Oscars and every other award and accolade for what? For those who tell the best, the worst, the most popular stories.

I can’t imagine what life would be like without reading, without bookcases full of wonderful words and books. But, should the ability to read be taken away, I guess one could find a fix of Story elsewhere. It’s not the same, in my opinion, but for those who cannot read, I guess it’s better than nothing.

What is your favourite form of story?