Friday, April 13, 2012

A Cliche You Should Use


A few weeks ago Gentleman Friend and I were in San Diego. We had not visited the city's famous zoo in years so off we went. I had forgotten how huge it is. We hopped on a bus to get an overview of the exhibits.

Later, when we were on foot, we stopped to admire an animal we had never seen, a red panda.

How are you liking the visit so far? Not very interesting is it? And why is that? Because you cannot really see anything. Remember the first rule writers learn: Show don't tell. I have told you we rode a bus and I have told you we saw a red panda, even presented a sign that tells about the red panda. Sheesh! What else do you want?  Oooooh, you want to see the real deal?

Alrighty then. Take a look at this.

And take a look at this. Better?

Yes, we are still using words in our writing, but we must use those words to paint a picture for the reader. Show us the fluffy tri-colored animal relaxing in a tree, four limbs dangling on either side of the tree branch. Show us that red open-air, double-decker bus. Let us hear the gentleman across the aisle, obviously a frequent visitor who knew the name of and esoteric information about every animal and exhibit.

Why is this so hard for writers, myself included? It is because we know the information so well, see it so vividly in our mind, that we forget our reader can't read our mind. Here's a little trick. I'm not sure how good it is for your mental health, but it will work for your writing. I think of it as splitting my mind apart. I stand apart and look inside. Then I write what I see there. Okay, this is sounding weird. Time to wind it up. Just remember to ask yourself: Are the details on the paper or just in my mind?


I felt like a caged animal . . .  What makes you feel trapped, closed in, unable to move? What makes you want to escape? How do you make your break?

CHOCOLATE INKWELL - Does this look like it will make up for last month's trick when you got puppies instead of cookies? This recipe is from and has all my favorite stuff: Marcha White muffin mix (yes, muffin mix), Eagle Brand condensed milk, buttah, pecans, and chocolate -- not necessarily in order of preference. That's what's so great about this recipe. You can have it all at once.

Turtle Fudge Chocolate Chip Cookies
Turtle Fudge Chocolate Chip Cookies
5 oz unsweetened chocolate
¼ cup (1/2 stick) butter
2 packages Martha White chocolate chip muffin mix
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
¼ cup chopped pecans
48 chocolate-covered caramel candies (Werther’s or Rolo’s)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a glass bowl microwave chocolate and butter until melted. Stir together until smooth. Stir in condensed milk, then add muffin mix. Mixture will be thick. Roll into small balls and dip one side into chopped nuts. Place on parchment paper lined cookie sheet with nut side up. Bake for approximately 8 minutes, or until edges start to look crinkled. Immediately press a candy into the center of each cookie and press down slightly. Once all cookies have a candy on top, go back and press each candy further into the cookie, allowing the chocolate to melt more. Cool completely before removing from cookie sheet.

Writing your life story is fun and life affirming. Get a group and get started. Write Your Life Story in Eight Weeks Workbook, Second Edition can help. Order it at

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