The blurb… feedback appreciated!

Tainted Inheritance, my fourth book, is nearly ready for publication. If you are interested, the first 4 chapters are available here. As you might have read yesterday, I’ve been working on the blurb/synopsis and designing the cover. While I rather enjoy cover design, writing the blurb is my least favorite thing about the whole process. As per Phil’s suggestion, it might help to have some feedback from other writers and readers. So…

Here it is! The bane of my existence. After tossing the ideas back and forth with Kevin over the last couple of days. I finally “settled” on this one. Now tell me, honestly, would you read a book based on this blurb?

Why would anyone want to kill Olivia Sutton? Her life was finally coming together after her divorce. She’s come into an unexpected inheritance, found new love with contractor Leo Donovan and made a fresh start in a new home. When she becomes the victim of one too many random accidents, she realizes a killer is stalking her. Has something in her past come back to haunt her? And can she and Leo discover the killer’s secret before it’s too late?

What do you think?

For the love of beautiful language…

My writer friends, do you ever find yourself using the same or similar words and phrases over and over again? It’s inevitable. We tend to write the way we talk. Most of us use a characteristic phraseology that makes up our everyday language. Our speech may be reflective of the region we live in, our ethnic origins or even our age. While these peculiarities lend color and flavor to our writing, even they can get repetitive after a while. It will be especially evident if we write longer fiction pieces or novels. What can we do to add variations to the words we pen?

Some of my earliest writing was in the form of poetry. That is not a coincidence. Poetry is introduced to us in the cradle by means of nursery rhymes and bedtime lullabies. As we grow and mature into our teen years and beyond, often music becomes a huge influence. Thus the lyrics of songs speak to us the way nothing else can. Many musicians like Bob Dylan, Jim Morrison, Patty Smith, Joni Mitchell, and Bruce Springsteen are considered to be not just song writers but poets as well.

Anthropologically, poetry in the form of song or saga has been used to help the balladeer or the skald keep the oral history of a people alive through story telling. It is some of the earliest writing ever discovered. The Epic of Gilgamesh, for example, dates back to 2000 BCE. Another Sumerian text, The Tale of the Shipwrecked Sailor, may be even older than that.

What am I getting at, you ask? Poetry composition can be a delightful way to hone our skills in using creative vocabulary and illustative terminology. “But, I don’t want to be a poet,” you say. Shut up, yes you do. Here’s why…

I do enjoy writing poetry, but it is not my main avenue of expression. I am primarily a fiction writer. However, composing poetry demands that we paint a picture with our words, if you will. Putting things into verse, even if the verse doesn’t rhyme, pushes you to use descriptive and colorful terms that you wouldn’t use in day-to-day speech.

In describing my front lawn, for example, you could simply state, “the lawn was full of dead dandelions,” and that would be true! Before you write that ask, “What do those dandelions remind me of?” “What idea do they conjure?” They are dead, so how about headstones in a graveyard? They are skinny, so how about emaciated refugees fleeing a disaster or famine? They have tufts of thin, white spores… does that remind you of hair or clouds or even foam at the crest of a wave? Now write it like this, “Like a wave of fleeing refugees, the dandelions marched across the expanse of grass.”

I didn’t write a poem, but I wrote a poetic sentence. Obviously, a little of that can go a long way, too. Every sentence does not have to be metaphorical in nature. But in the right place, it can transform ordinary writing into extraordinary writing. I encourage you, if you have not attempted to write poetry before now, give it a try. Find a poetry challenge here on WordPress. I’ve listed two below. Take Blogging University’s Writing 201 and learn about the different styles and structures. Perhaps you will find you want to be a poet, after all!

Mind and Life Matters – Limerick Poetry challenge

Ronovan Writes – Haiku challenge