The Writer’s Bookshelf: Recommended References and Writing Resources (Episode 35: Discussing “The 99% Invisible City” by Roman Mars & Kurt Kohlstedt)

Title Image for The Writer’s Bookshelf Episode 35

When was the last time you walked down the street, saw a manhole cover, and thought to yourself, “Hmm, that’s interesting”? My guess is never, but that’s not the case for the writers of this week’s book of focus.

Welcome back to The Writer’s Bookshelf.

The cities around us are full of history, not just through events, but also by the unusual decisions that have marked them as sources of influence. For example, did you know that once upon a time, a city planner had to figure out how to hide an unsightly water pump from the unfortunate people who walked past it daily? His solution: build the empty shell of a fancy building around it. The people will never know! What about the history of The Can Opener Bridge? Did you know it can’t be fixed in any meaningful way? If you’ve ever wanted to know the true story of this hilarious urban monster (if trucks and buses are the victims), then you’ve got a place to find it.

And these are just two examples of the neat tidbits we learn in this week’s book of focus, The 99% Invisible City by Roman Mars and Kurt Kohlstedt, based on their blog and podcast, 99% Invisible.

Why are we even talking about this book in a series devoted to writing craft? Well, for two reasons. First, we’re discussing how to craft settings, and I think this book is a great reminder for how settings have histories and that your settings have histories. But we’re also using it as an excuse to talk about researching your story elements and making sure that what you write is accurate and necessary. So, we’re pulling double-duty on this one.

Plus, it’s just a great book, and I’m all about discussing great books. It’s why I’m planning to launch a sister series about books worth reading sometime quite soon. But I digress.

You can get the book at the link below, and be sure to watch my discussion about it in this week’s video. And if you have the time, check out the 99% Invisible blog and podcast. There’s so much interesting stuff to read and hear about that even the book doesn’t have enough room to cover.

The 99% Invisible City: A Field Guide to the Hidden World of Everyday Design

By Roman Mars & Kurt Kohlstedt

Website

Amazon Metadata:

·  Hardcover: 400 pages

·  ISBN-10: 0358126606

·  ISBN-13: 978-0358126607

·  Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Illustrated edition (October 6, 2020)

Check out other entries in the Writer’s Bookshelf series here.

Don’t forget to like, subscribe, comment, and do all of the things that convince me you like this kind of information and want more like it.

Series Note: We’re taking another short break next week to talk about mapmaking and setting orientation for your stories. The Writer’s Bookshelf will return on August 13th.

The Writer’s Bookshelf: Recommended References and Writing Resources (Episode 34: Discussing “The Rural and Urban Setting Thesauruses” by Angela Ackerman & Bella Puglisi)

Title Image for The Writer’s Bookshelf Episode 34

Writing about a bar in the back of an industrial plant? How about a restaurant sitting on a pier over the Atlantic Ocean (around here, we call that Benny’s on the Beach)? What about that barn you think you slept in the night you passed out in Missouri (we don’t need to know why you passed out)? You know what they look like? Can you recall the smells?

Welcome back to The Writer’s Bookshelf.

Continuing our theme about settings, this week we focus on yet another thesaurus pairing by the stellar authorial team of Angela Ackerman and Bella Puglisi, this time about rural and urban settings. Combined, the thesauruses, The Rural Setting Thesaurus and The Urban Setting Thesaurus, cover over 200 locations that you can study and adapt for authenticity in your writing. Pair them with other thesauruses we’ve covered in this series, and you can have a believable situation where your rabbi and priest protagonists walk into a bar and, well, the rest is up to you. But now you can tell a version of the story that we can believe because you’ll have the right tools to tell it.

Get the books at the links below, and don’t forget to check out our full discussion in this week’s video.

The Rural Setting Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Personal and Natural Spaces

by Angela Ackerman & Bella Puglisi

Website

Amazon Metadata:

·  Paperback: 259 pages

·  ISBN-10: 0989772551

·  ISBN-13: 978-0989772556

·  Publisher: JADD Publishing (May 22, 2016)

The Urban Setting Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to City Spaces

by Angela Ackerman & Bella Puglisi

Website

Amazon Metadata:

·  Paperback: 304 pages

·  ISBN-10: 098977256X

·  ISBN-13: 978-0989772563

·  Publisher: JADD Publishing (May 22, 2016)

Note: These books and other thesauruses by Angela Ackerman and Bella Puglisi contain entries that can also be checked online via their database of definitions at One Stop for Writers. This service not only contains the same entries that you can find within these books, but they have additional categories exclusive to the service (like weather and color thesauruses), as well as a character creator that allows you to integrate traits, emotional wounds, etc. directly into character creation. If you’re an industrious writer who likes to know his or her character before writing about him, then check it out.

Check out other entries in the Writer’s Bookshelf series here.

Don’t forget to like, subscribe, comment, and do all of the things that convince me you like this kind of information and want more like it.

The Writer’s Bookshelf: Recommended References and Writing Resources (Episode 33: Discussing “A Writer’s Guide to Active Setting” by Mary Buckham )

Title Image for The Writer’s Bookshelf Episode 33

Developing characters for your stories is an important part of the storytelling process. And most authors will devote plenty of time to this task. After all, the character is the one who makes the plot unique. Die Hard, for example, already comes prepackaged with an interesting concept (based on the thriller series that begins with The Detective by Roderick Thorp). But it’s made more interesting by its hero, John McClane, a flawed and sarcastic police officer who’s caught stopping a terrorist-driven tower heist in a district he doesn’t even work for!

Sounds good on the surface. But here’s the twist! The novel it’s based on, Nothing Lasts Forever, doesn’t feature John McClane. It features a character named Joe Leland, who’s introduced in The Detective. When he (and The Detective) was adapted to film, Leland was originally played by Frank Sinatra! And when Hollywood bought the rights for Die Hard, their idea was to bring Frank Sinatra back to reprise his role. But, as the Hollywood story goes, Sinatra turned it down, and so, to salvage what they had, Die Hard’s producers rebranded the story with a new character and series.

Think about that for a moment. How different would Die Hard have been if it had remained within its original series and original star?

Now, while you’re thinking about that, and thinking about how that likely would’ve eliminated the horror story that is A Good Day to Die Hard, consider how the story might change if the events didn’t take place in a tower. After all, even if the character changed from book to screen, the tower didn’t. The book, as does the movie, focuses on terrorists in a tower. But, what if it didn’t? What if it took place on a boat? Die Hard on a Boat (or Under Siege)! How about a bus? Die Hard on a Bus (or Speed)! What about at an airport? Well, that’s just Die Hard 2: Die Harder. But the point is, the setting can affect the story just as much as a character can. If you let it.

Welcome back to The Writer’s Bookshelf. This week, we’re done with characters. Instead, we’re discussing settings and how to make them part of the story in a way that doesn’t throw them away as nonessential. Our book, A Writer’s Guide to Active Setting by Mary Buckham, helps you navigate the murky waters of relevant scene-setting by walking you through a process of developing places that matter to your story. It’s a must-read!

Get the book at the link below, and check out my discussion video to find out more about it and why I recommend it.

And if you haven’t seen Die Hard for some reason, go get it now!

A Writer’s Guide to Active Setting: How to Enhance Your Fiction with More Descriptive, Dynamic Settings

by Mary Buckham

Website

Amazon Metadata:

·  Paperback: 256 pages

·  ISBN-10: 1599639300

·  ISBN-13: 978-1599639307

·  Publisher: Writer’s Digest Books; Revised edition (January 1, 2016)

Check out other entries in the Writer’s Bookshelf series here.

Don’t forget to like, subscribe, comment, and do all of the things that convince me you like this kind of information and want more like it.

Considerations for Developing a Paperback Book (Including Creating and Revising an existing title)

As more writers eschew the mountainous path to publication via agents, editors, and traditional publishers, making wise decisions about self-publishing becomes not only more necessary than in times past, but vital if we want to compete with the million-dollar titans and their armies of production teams. And, yes, any one of us who has walked the level path around the mountain long enough has heard the cries for world-class quality by now. Fourteen years after the debut of Amazon’s Kindle e-reader, the message about moving from rushed amateurism to edited professionalism has become loud and clear.

But, if we take the cries for quality seriously, then why would we consider converting the reflowable text from a KDP e-book into a crappily formatted paperback edition? Wouldn’t we want those cries for professionalism to extend to all formats, from content to presentation?

What it looks like when KDP offers to convert your e-book into a paperback.

If we care enough about our readers to give them a paperback or hardcover edition of our e-books, then we should also care enough to give them a quality copy of that paperback or hardcover edition. That means delivering the quality inside and out. And that means not skimping out on the tools that make such quality possible.

Now, for self-publishing writers who have no design or technical sensibilities, then outsourcing layouts and cover designs to a professional is the best bet. Common sense dictates this, even if the wallet screams for mercy.

But, what if the wallet is too thin? You want to get the book out to the public, but you’d also kinda like to eat a few nights this week. What then?

Well, there’s still hope. If you wrote your book on Microsoft Word or Scrivener (with Scrivener being the much cheaper yet more sensible writing tool for writers), then you could probably upload your document (MS Word) or converted document (Scrivener) directly to KDP, Draft2Digital, or whichever service you’re using to get your book out, and cross your fingers that it’s good enough. After all, maybe it is good enough. If you’ve spent any amount of time setting up sections in Microsoft Word, or establishing hyphenation rules as I’ve outlined in my 2016 article “The Art of Hyphenation,” then your .doc or .docx file may work well enough. It certainly would for a generic e-book, and there’s no reason for it not to work if your book is straightforward fiction with no special design considerations.

But what if your book is supposed to have fancy formatting? What if you want your chapter headings to have a cool shape embedded into the page behind them? Well, the good news is you can still do this. The bad news is that you can’t really do this in Microsoft Word. You’d need a special layout program for that. The worse news is that the most-used and best-known layout program for books (especially nonfiction) is Adobe InDesign, which if you know anything about InDesign, you’ll know that it’s from Adobe, the makers of needlessly expensive subscription software that has too few updates to justify the ridiculous pricing.

The better news is that Adobe isn’t the only company making software that self-published writers can use to better their products. The best news is that its strongest competitor does not require a subscription, and its buying price is very affordable.

Yes, I’m referring to Affinity Publisher, and if you’ve kept up with my blog or YouTube channel since April 2020, you’ll know I’m a fan of all things Affinity. In fact, I’ve used Affinity products (Designer, Photo, and Publisher) to redesign my paperback version of The Computer Nerd.

Now, maybe you’re happy with Microsoft Word and Microsoft Paint for your book design. I mean, if my book had this cover, it wouldn’t change a thing about the words inside.

An example of what not to do when designing a cover for your book.

And maybe that’s fine. But I don’t think anyone would buy a book that looked like that. And I don’t think they’d want a book that looked just as shoddy on the inside, either.

This means I have to consider what my readers want before constructing the paperback version, including what they may find aesthetically pleasing.

And this means upgrading my functional but basic Microsoft Word interior:

Into something more intentional, like what I can accomplish in Affinity Publisher:

Yes, after researching and practicing the self-publishing game for many years now, I’ve learned a few things about how to make a paperback worthy of seasoned readers. And now I’d like to pass them along.

Here are the considerations you might want to make before uploading your formatted document to KDP or some other distributor where readers might accidentally find you.

Interior:

(Microsoft Word)

Pros:

  • You probably already wrote your draft in MS Word, so preparing for readers is just a matter of uploading to KDP, Draft2Digital, or Smashwords, provided your document is formatted in a way that passes inspection.
  • Creating e-books in MS Word and uploading them to Amazon is really easy and intuitive. Even if you choose not to create a paperback edition, you can still create a functional e-book through minimal effort.
  • Converting text to PDF is also very easy. If you do base your paperback on your MS Word document, then you’ll want to first “Export to PDF,” as that will preserve your format.
  • Even though MS Word is not a formatting tool, it can still handle basic layouts appropriate for fiction, like headers or footers, section breaks to permit alternative headers and footers and page layouts, and page numbering within headers or footers.

Cons:

  • Microsoft Word is not technically a formatting program, which means it can’t do complex formats, including those common to nonfiction, textbooks, and magazines.
  • Fixing a typo in a formatted Word document can throw off the layout for the entire book.
  • Because pages shift around so easily, wrecking pagination and other position-dependent sections of text or images is a constant headache. Be careful not to breathe on your text too hard.
  • Hyphenation and other typographic solutions are wonky at best.
  • Special formatting like embedding shapes or images behind text, or creating special designs for aesthetic effect is impossible.

How to Use Effectively:

  • Remember that everything from your title page (front) to your promotions for other books (back) will be part of the same document. To prevent insanity from taking over your layout, remember to set up your book by sections and be mindful of how right (recto) pages differ from left (verso) pages, as well as how both differ from first pages. And remember that these three page layouts are your only considerations throughout the section. If you need a new layout, then you need a new section.
  • Convert to PDF when you’re finished.
  • Don’t upload your PDF until you know you’re finished with it. Changing anything translates into hours’ worth of revision work.
  • Check out my article on hyphenation on how to handle the nuanced elements of formatting for paperback books in MS Word.

(Affinity Publisher)

Pros:

  • Inexpensive but powerful software that you need to buy just once!
  • Integrates well with its two companion software for images and designs, Photo and Designer.
  • Allows for custom layouts via “Master Pages” that you can apply to any page, eliminating the need for sections.
  • Because it’s a layout program, it allows you to arrange your text and images however you want, including through layers. This makes it possible to create fiction, nonfiction, textbooks, and magazines—whatever you want!
  • Basic formatting techniques like custom pagination, drop caps, and hyphenation is both simple and intuitive to use.
  • Making a change to the text while allowing the document to adapt is fairly simple.
  • If Photo or Designer is installed, you can edit images on the fly using the Studio Link feature.
  • Some repetitive tasks like starting a new chapter on a recto page a third of the way down can be handled automatically (with instruction).
  • Exports to PDF.

Cons:

  • Still not quite as advanced as Adobe InDesign, especially when it comes to handling text outside of margins.
  • Just because it’s easier to format interiors in Publisher than it is in MS Word doesn’t mean it’s quicker. Revisions (if needed) go a lot faster, but the initial design can still take hours to accomplish.
  • No software is perfect. You’ll still need to review the entire document for extra pages added whenever you make changes that risk pushing the text down past the orphan line.
  • Creating and applying Master Pages can take some getting used to.
  • Not ideal for writing, just for formatting. Any additions or changes you make to the text should begin in your origin document.
  • Doesn’t allow for simultaneous bold/italics/underline enhancements to text, if you even need that kind of thing. Your font family of choice will need a version that simulates bold italics to get that effect.
  • Isn’t ideal for electronic formats. Only print.

How to Use Effectively:

  • Buy the dedicated workbook and keep it near your desk. When it comes time to design your book, refer to Chapter 5. Trust me, it’s all the advice and considerations you need. It’s what I used to remake the paperback edition of The Computer Nerd.

(Adobe InDesign)

Pros:

  • Can do most everything Affinity Publisher can do, except for using a Studio Link to swap in toolbars from its companion Photo or Designer apps (Photoshop and Illustrator respectively).
  • Can actually do more than what Affinity Publisher can do, like manage text and characters outside the margins (if I’m not mistaken).

Cons:

  • The COST!!!

How to Use Effectively:

  • For this, I defer to anyone who knows the program because I don’t. I know what it does, but I don’t know all that it can do because I don’t use it. I just know it’s powerful, if not complicated. But really, Affinity Publisher makes more sense if you’re interested in creating an excellent product for one low cost.

(Scrivener)

Pros:

  • It’s capable of creating a formatted text for publication.

Cons:

  • No one actually understands how to do this effectively.

Honestly, I love Scrivener as a writing and organization tool, but I have no interest in trying to turn it into a publication tool, even if Scrivener 3 tries to simplify it. Last time I investigated its formatting tools, my brain transformed into a pretzel. Wasn’t worth it to me. If I ever look into its formatting tools more seriously, I’ll revisit the topic. But honestly, a combination of MS Word and Affinity Publisher can accomplish everything I need to create a worthy paperback novel (or e-book).

Exterior:

(Microsoft Paint)

Pros:

  • You’re joking.
  • Okay, it’s probably already installed on your computer.

Cons:

  • It’s Microsoft Paint.

(PaintShop Pro)

Note: This is the program I’ve been using for years until I found Affinity Photo.

Pros:

  • It’s better than Microsoft Paint.
  • It’s lightweight enough to keep you from getting overwhelmed by features.
  • Can handle moderate editing through layers and brushes, including cropping, burning, dodging, and other essential modification tools.
  • Integrates well with subsidiary programs like Painter Essentials and GRFX.
  • Doesn’t require a lot of memory to run.
  • Has a user-friendly shop integration to plugins that are actually good.
  • One-time fee (per annual version).
  • Often appears in a Humble Bundle.

Cons:

  • Saves only in RGB format (making it horrible for print books).
  • Has limited features for special effects. To accomplish certain actions, you might need to use a plugin or another program entirely.
  • Doesn’t have access to LUTs, making color treating difficult.
  • Upgrades are annual and require a new payment to access (though these are still mostly affordable, especially if you wait for them to show up in a Humble Bundle).
  • Almost double the cost of the superior Affinity Photo (unless you wait for it in a Humble Bundle).

How to Use Effectively:

  • First of all, note that I do not recommend PaintShop Pro for designing paperbacks. You need the CYMK format to design print items effectively, and PSP cannot save or display in CYMK. For proof that it’s bad for print, look at the differences between my original paperback (PaintShop Pro 9) and my updated paperback (Affinity Photo) for The Computer Nerd.
  • That said, PaintShop Pro is still competent for electronic book cover or interior picture design (in RGB format), as long as you don’t need anything fancy.
  • Just remember to use layers and save in the native format before you export to JPG. This will come in handy if you need to make adjustments down the road.

(Affinity Photo and Designer)

Note: I’m including both software because you may need either a photo composition (Photo) or a vector composition (Designer) to create your covers.

Pros:

  • One-time fee of $50 (when there are no sales).
  • Single purchase includes all future updates and upgrades (at least until Affinity releases a true successor).
  • Can handle layers, blends, masks, inpainting tools (for smart erasing), LUTs, and all the things you need to make an effective cover or composite (in both print and electronic forms).
  • Can save in CYMK, TIF, and other nonstandard formats (including PDF).
  • Integrates with Affinity Publisher for on-the-fly image editing.
  • Has useful workbooks and tutorials available.
  • Can integrate with useful app plugins like Luminar 4 and Painter ParticleShop.
  • Has a built-in plugin store for easily adding new brushes.
  • Has one of the best designer communities on the Internet (and YouTube).
  • Can mimic many of Photoshop’s special tricks, like using smart objects for mockup designs.
  • Directly incorporates stock photos from Pixabay, Pexels, and Unsplash (though you still need to check their licensing before using them in commercial works).

Cons:

  • Still not quite as advanced as Photoshop.
  • Image filter designers rely heavily on Photoshop for designing their special tools, keeping Affinity Photo as an afterthought (though they still might work).
  • Even though it handles smart objects well, Affinity Photo still cannot replicate Photoshop’s “actions,” which renders many design tools useless.
  • It cannot yet handle objects designed for Lightroom.

How to Use Effectively:

  • Really, just do what I do: experiment, watch tutorials, study the workbook, and experiment some more.
  • LUTs, blends, and gradient tools are your friends.
  • Invest in stock photos, especially Depositphotos during Appsumo deals (in May and on Black Friday), to get the most of your image potential.
  • For more generic photos, including image filters, make use of the integration with Pixabay, Pexels, and Unsplash. Just remember to convert them to Raster.
  • If you’re designing a paperback, design for the front and back cover, not just the front.
  • Always start your composition in CYMK format if you expect to print it. Likewise, make sure to use “transparent background color” if you plan to use PNG images to prevent unwanted backgrounds.

(Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and Lightroom)

Note: I don’t use these programs, so my perspective is based on videos and research.

Pros:

  • These are the top tools of the industry.
  • If it can be done, then these are the programs that can do it.
  • Every plugin and theme designer builds for them.
  • Finding instructions on how to use them for your specific use case is easy.

Cons:

  • Requires an expensive monthly subscription to use.
  • Doesn’t get updated nearly often enough to justify the price.
  • Adobe.

How to Use Effectively:

  • See my note above. That said, any sophisticated photo or vector manipulation tool needs layers and masks to work well, so you should learn how to use those features.

Other Options and Conclusion:

Hopefully this article and these checklists will help you make a decision on how to approach your print books, or even your e-books if you wish to keep things simple. If you want to see a longer form explanation of how these differences look, then check out my companion video on the topic, released earlier this morning.

But, if you want to bypass all the potential pitfalls that come with formatting for e-books and paperbacks, you could invest in a tool designed exclusively for formatting. The top performer in the market right now is Vellum, which boasts “beautiful books,” although I’m not sure what its record for paperbacks is at the moment. I just know it’s well-revered as an e-book creation tool. If you check out any presentation on Vellum, you’ll soon agree that the books it produces are top of the line in design. But is that you’re only option? And is it even your best option?

Other tools for exporting books include Calibre (my preference), Kindle Create, and the Reedsy Book Editing Tool.

Or, if you’re willing to wait a little longer, you might be interested in a new challenger entering the ring soon that will likely upset the competition.

Meet Atticus. Get on the waiting list. Learn more at Kindlepreneur.

But if you can’t wait for Atticus, just remember this:

Calibre is good for e-books only and works by converting your text to HTML (the native language of e-books), which you can then design as uniquely as you want, as long as you don’t have to make any drastic updates to your text after you’ve formatted it.

Kindle Create also designs e-books only, and provides just a handful of themes that may or may not be good for your book. It’s also limited in how it handles front and back matter. I think it also designs for Kindle only, which means you’re probably not going to get much out of it if you’re creating for other platforms. But on the positive side, it can create not only reflowable books like novels and memoirs, but it can also create textbooks and comics (early access feature, as of this writing).

The Reedsy Book Editing Tool is a bit friendlier when it comes to publication options (it creates both e-book and print editions), but it still struggles with front and back matter (or did the last time I tried using it). And like Kindle Create, its theme options are limited, if not too limited. That said, if you’re looking to go wide, this is your free tool of choice.

Note: Calibre, Kindle Create, and the Reedsy Book Editing Tool are all free to use, so it doesn’t hurt to give each one a try to see if they’re useful for you.

Lastly, Vellum is the big dog in the formatting space, and its purpose is to design not only the best looking interiors, but also the best organized books, which means boxsets are a specialty feature here. But it’s also expensive ($199 for e-books only or $249 for both e-book and print access), and it’s only available for Mac, which means many authors won’t get to use it even if they buy it (unless they want to spend even more money on a Mac emulator). Also, like all the other tools, it’s unfairly limited in its theme options. That’s actually authors’ number one complaint about it.

But if none of these options work for you, then consider why. Do you prefer to do things manually? If so, then I hope my checklist will inform your choices. But if you prefer using tools that do the formatting for you, but you just don’t like how limited the above options are, then get on the waiting list for Atticus. I can tell you right now that its theme options alone make it worth the wait. It’ll also be available for Windows, not just Mac. It will cost you some cash to own, but not nearly as much as Vellum. And, well, let’s just say there’s more to come.

Regardless of what you choose, though, I hope your publishing considerations go well. Even if you’ve designed an ugly book like I had back in 2015, you can still fix it. With the right tools.

The Writer’s Bookshelf: Recommended References and Writing Resources (Episode 32: Discussing “The Occupation Thesaurus” by Angela Ackerman & Bella Puglisi )

Title Image for The Writer’s Bookshelf Episode 32

Do you like your job? Does your character like his job? Does your character know his job well? Do you know your character’s job well?

Welcome back to The Writer’s Bookshelf. This week, we’re all about talking jobs and careers for your characters. After all, they have to work somewhere, right? And where they work may affect how they act, or think, or respond to crises. Likewise, if you’ve paid attention to our last two weeks of episodes, then you’ll figure out that knowing their traits and emotional wounds may also move them closer or further away from a particular career. Have you given him or her a career consistent with his emotional state? Is he right for the job?

And what job does he have? Is he a police officer or a firefighter? What about an architect or chef? A landscape designer or treasure hunter?

Well, these jobs and so many others are all featured in this week’s book of focus, The Occupation Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Bella Puglisi, and if you’d like to know more, then you should watch me talk about it in my latest video.

And don’t forget to check out the book at the link below, and be sure to explore Angela Ackerman and Bella Puglisi’s other thesauruses for a complete suite of character development tools. They’re all useful.

The Occupation Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Jobs, Vocations, and Careers

by Angela Ackerman & Bella Puglisi

Website

Amazon Metadata:

·  Paperback: 318 pages

·  ISBN-10: 099929637X

·  ISBN-13: 978-0999296370

·  Publisher: JADD Publishing (July 13, 2020)

Note: This book and other thesauruses by Angela Ackerman and Bella Puglisi contain entries that can also be checked online via their database of definitions at One Stop for Writers. This service not only contains the same entries that you can find within this and other books in the series, but they have additional categories exclusive to the service (like weather and color thesauruses), as well as a character creator that allows you to integrate traits, emotional wounds, etc. directly into character creation. If you’re an industrious writer who likes to know his or her character before writing about him, then check it out.

Check out other entries in the Writer’s Bookshelf series here.

Don’t forget to like, subscribe, comment, and do all of the things that convince me you like this kind of information and want more like it.

Series Note: We’re taking a break next week to discuss paperback creation with software tools like Affinity Publisher. But never fear! The Writer’s Bookshelf will return July 16th.

The Writer’s Bookshelf: Recommended References and Writing Resources (Episode 31: Discussing “The Emotional Wound Thesaurus” by Angela Ackerman & Bella Puglisi )

Title Image for The Writer’s Bookshelf Episode 31

Remember that one time a clown snuck into your room in the middle of the night and tossed a baby crocodile in your bed because he thought it was funny? Do you still have the teeth marks to prove it happened? Sorry to bring up an old memory that’s better left forgotten, but let me ask you, has that one night affected your future to the point that you can’t even go to a circus in the middle of the zoo without breaking down?

If this story sounds familiar, then you’re not alone. (Well, I’m not saying that’s my experience, just that it’s probably someone’s experience.) Everyone has a past that affects the way they think and act today, and your character (as do you) has such a past.

Now, maybe you don’t yet know that past. That’s what backstory is for. But at some point you’ll want to know, and what better time than in the pre-planning phase? This means figuring out a lot of details, like his or her traits (as we discussed last week) and his career (as we will discuss next week), but it also means figuring out what scars him, and that’s what we discuss this week.

Welcome back to The Writer’s Bookshelf. This week, we’re covering The Emotional Wound Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Bella Puglisi, or what you might consider their most requested thesaurus. If you wanted to know why your character can’t go into a public restroom alone, then this book might help you figure out the reason.

Get it at the link below, and be sure to check out my companion video where I discuss it in more detail.

The Emotional Wound Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Psychological Trauma

by Angela Ackerman & Bella Puglisi

Website

Amazon Metadata:

·  Paperback: 325 pages

·  ISBN-10: 0989772594

·  ISBN-13: 978-0989772594

·  Publisher: JADD Publishing (October 13, 2017)

Note: This book and other thesauruses by Angela Ackerman and Bella Puglisi contain entries that can also be checked online via their database of definitions at One Stop for Writers. This service not only contains the same entries that you can find within this and other books in the series, but they have additional categories exclusive to the service (like weather and color thesauruses), as well as a character creator that allows you to integrate traits, emotional wounds, etc. directly into character creation. If you’re an industrious writer who likes to know his or her character before writing about him, then check it out.

Check out other entries in the Writer’s Bookshelf series here.

Don’t forget to like, subscribe, comment, and do all of the things that convince me you like this kind of information and want more like it.

The Writer’s Bookshelf: Recommended References and Writing Resources (Episode 30: Discussing “The Positive and Negative Trait Thesauruses” by Angela Ackerman & Bella Puglisi )

Title Image for The Writer’s Bookshelf Episode 30

Whenever you begin a story, you have to start with its first words. And those first words could be “Once upon a time,” or “Gone were the days,” or “Bubba ate shrimp all day long,” or any combination worth a million pages. But then what? Do you actually know your story yet? If you’re an explorer, then you may know it a little or maybe not at all. What about your character(s)? Does that princess live in a castle or a high-rise? Does your aging detective still have a job? Does your buddy character eat anything other than shrimp?

You may not have the answers to everything at the beginning, and maybe you don’t want to. But you’re gonna have to know those characters eventually, and what better way to understand them than to study their potential traits?

Is that aging detective amiable or cranky? Is he industrious or lazy? Resourceful or irresponsible? At some point you’ll need to know, and what better time to find out than right now?

Welcome back to The Writer’s Bookshelf. This week we’re covering not one, but two guides that can help you get to know your characters better before you even write, “These were the best of times, but they were also just the worst.” The Positive Trait Thesaurus and The Negative Trait Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Bella Puglisi are just the books you need for your bookshelf if you want to create believable characters with identifiable attributes that are accurate and conflict-driven.

Check them out at the links below, and check out my companion video where I discuss them in greater detail. Don’t forget to let us know what you think.

The Positive Trait Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Attributes

by Angela Ackerman & Bella Puglisi

Website

Amazon Metadata:

·  Paperback: 252 pages

·  ISBN-10: 0989772519

·  ISBN-13: 978-0989772518

·  Publisher: JADD Publishing (October 3, 2013)

The Negative Trait Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Flaws

by Angela Ackerman & Bella Puglisi

Website

Amazon Metadata:

·  Paperback: 270 pages

·  ISBN-10: 0989772500

·  ISBN-13: 978-0989772501

·  Publisher: JADD Publishing (September 24, 2013)

Note: These books and other thesauruses by Angela Ackerman and Bella Puglisi contain entries that can also be checked online via their database of definitions at One Stop for Writers. This service not only contains the same entries that you can find within these books, but they have additional categories exclusive to the service (like weather and color thesauruses), as well as a character creator that allows you to integrate traits, emotional wounds, etc. directly into character creation. If you’re an industrious writer who likes to know his or her character before writing about him, then check it out.

Check out other entries in the Writer’s Bookshelf series here.

Don’t forget to like, subscribe, comment, and do all of the things that convince me you like this kind of information and want more like it.

The Writer’s Bookshelf: Recommended References and Writing Resources (Episode 29: Discussing “The Emotion Thesaurus” by Angela Ackerman & Bella Puglisi )

Title Image for The Writer’s Bookshelf Episode 29

Remember that one time your character “narrowed his eyes,” or “shuffled his feet,” or “rolled his eyes” when something demanded him to offer an emotional response? Remember when he did it again? And again? And so on?

Don’t you wish you were astute enough to mention how your character’s response to boredom was not to “tap his fingers against the desk” but to “pick at his bowl of Cheetos because it gives him something to do”?

Then welcome back to The Writer’s Bookshelf because today you’re in luck. Our focus book this week is The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Bella Puglisi (even though the example I gave you is actually from their companion e-book, Emotion Amplifiers). Its purpose is to help you create moments in fiction that express character emotion rather than talk about it, giving you a wide berth for creating compelling action. It also helps you to figure out what types of characters you have when you explore the many options they may have for responding to stimuli, all the while helping you to break the habit of relying on the same three expressions over and over and over. It’s pretty revolutionary.

Check out my video discussing it for more information.

Or save yourself a half an hour and just buy the book now because you’re gonna want this one. Details below.

Note: This article refers to the book’s Second Edition (with 130 definitions as opposed to the original 75).

The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression

by Angela Ackerman & Bella Puglisi

Website

Amazon Metadata:

·  Paperback: 302 pages

·  ISBN-10: 0999296345

·  ISBN-13: 978-0999296349

·  Publisher: JADD Publishing; 2nd ed. edition (February 14, 2019)

If you also want to get the companion e-book, here’s that information:

Emotion Amplifiers

by Angela Ackerman & Bella Puglisi

Website

Amazon Metadata:

·  Print length : 65 pages

·  ASIN : B00QMLW34M

·  Publisher : JADD Publishing (December 4, 2014)

Additional Note: Buying direct from their website gives you access to a PDF version if you’d rather keep the formatting intact.

Check out other entries in the Writer’s Bookshelf series here.

Don’t forget to like, subscribe, comment, and do all of the things that convince me you like this kind of information and want more like it.

The Writer’s Bookshelf: Recommended References and Writing Resources (Episode 28: Discussing “Writer’s Guide to Character Traits” by Linda N. Edelstein, Ph.D. )

Title Image for The Writer’s Bookshelf Episode 28

Writing fiction and memoir is hard, and writing compelling characters is much of what makes it hard. We often dive into a manuscript or outline with a basic understanding of what makes our characters tick, but often that understanding turns out even shallower than what we’d previously thought. This can lead not only to frustration but a belief that the manuscript will never live up to its potential. After all, if we can’t understand our characters well, or what makes them believable, then how can we trust our false effort to pass them off to our readers as believable?

Welcome back to The Writer’s Bookshelf. This week’s book, Writer’s Guide to Character Traits, Second Edition by Linda N. Edelstein, Ph.D., helps us through this issue by providing us with a bank of character traits for any and most occasions, using psychological profiles for certain character types and breaking down the many traits that accompany that profile. And you know it’s useful because the titled credential in the author’s name proves that she knows what she’s talking about.

This book is a mix of narrative and definitions, text and charts. It’s also quite long, but very resourceful for anyone who takes their character development seriously. It even, on occasion, gives tips on how the writer can handle moments of crisis or change. It’s definitely an essential reference for anyone who wants a believable and empathetic character.

Check out my video on the topic to find out more about it.

Writer’s Guide to Character Traits, Second Edition

by Linda N. Edelstein, Ph.D.

Website

Amazon Metadata:

·  Paperback: 384 pages

·  ISBN-10: 1582973903

·  ISBN-13: 978-1582973906

·  Publisher: Writer’s Digest Books; Second edition (August 9, 2006)

Check out other entries in the Writer’s Bookshelf series here.

Don’t forget to like, subscribe, comment, and do all of the things that convince me you like this kind of information and want more like it.

The Writer’s Bookshelf: Recommended References and Writing Resources (Episode 27: Discussing “Bullies, Bastards & Bitches” by Jessica Page Morrell )

Title Image for The Writer’s Bookshelf Episode 27

Remember that one time you were bullied in school and thought, “One day, Billy Bob, I will have my revenge. In fiction!”? And remember when you sat down to write that revenge story and realized you know nothing about Billy Bob but for his bad breath and powerful hand on the back of your head as your face went into the toilet bowl, wondering if maybe his bullying wasn’t even his fault (even though he was totally acting on self-will)? Did you suddenly think that writing him as a one-note monster might’ve done him a literary injustice, even though he probably deserved all injustices heaped upon him?

Is it possible that, in your tale of epic revenge, you actually wanted to get his character right because getting him wrong would make you look like the bully?

Then welcome back to The Writer’s Bookshelf. This week’s book, Bullies, Bastards & Bitches by Jessica Page Morrell, is right up your alley. And before you ask, yes, that is the title, and you probably do want to get a special cover for it if you choose to read it in public, if you’re so inclined.

Do you think your villain is too mua-ha-ha and you want to motivate him more realistically? Then this book is right for you. Is your antihero too good to be considered dangerous or “anti” anything, and you’re afraid of Superman’s ego taking over? Then this book is right for you. Is your femme fatale a little dainty and nice and in need of some mud on her face? Well, read on, friend. This book is also right for you.

Heck, if you just want to write a compelling character who lives left of gray and don’t want to mess it up, then this book is right for you. Check out my video on the topic to find out more.

And the story above is an example, not a memory. Hopefully it’s not a memory for you, either.

Bullies, Bastards & Bitches: How to Write the Bad Guys of Fiction

by Jessica Page Morrell

Website

Amazon Metadata:

·  Paperback: 304 pages

·  ISBN-10: 9781582974842

·  ISBN-13: 978-1582974842

·  Publisher: Writer’s Digest Books; 58736th edition (July 28, 2008)

Check out other entries in the Writer’s Bookshelf series here.

Don’t forget to like, subscribe, comment, and do all of the things that convince me you like this kind of information and want more like it.

The stuff that keeps me awake at night.