Blog Entries
This Week March 26th. 2018
Category: Site News

Monday Muse

Jill will be providing the prompts to get our creative juices flowing.


Debbie will undoubtedly provide an interesting blog.


A prototype of the new planner system has been agreed by members. Each is allocated tasks on an alphabetical rota. If any member cannot fulfil his/her commitment then that person must find a replacement. The onus is not on Lesley. Thanks to Lesley for the hard work.

March/April Opportunities

There is a week left to enter these March competitions:

*Horror Flash Fiction THEME: Horror story of a lone survivor on a deserted island. Deadline 31st. March.

*Henshaw Press Deadline 31st. March 

Varying deadlines for the April competitions as follows:

*  Deadline 9th. April - Short notice but if you have a 'Looking Glass' themed story under 2,500 words then a possible.

*Stories of the Nature of Cities Urban Flash Fiction. Deadline 15th. April

*The Molotov Cocktail - Killer Flash. Deadline 20th. April

*  Deadlines April 29th. and May 20th. 


Works in Progress

*Take a last look at 'The Forger', Jill's entry for Henshaw.

*Lesley's 'Nyctophobia' will be winging its way to the Horror Flash Fiction any time now so check it out soon.

*Chris N has an edited flash about to be posted for the same competition.

*Alyson has a story on the theme of 'the wedding gift' for critiquing.

The Meeting Room

*New member Jim will be taking some time out.

*Waiting for information on Sue.

The Bragging Stool

Angela, Chris, Crilly, Laura, and Sue feature in Ad Hoc yet again. Sue believes this is her 97th. appearance!

Congratulations to Alyson for her third place in Brilliant Flash Fiction. Read here:

Jill is published in the Earlyworks Press Anthology. Apologies, I don't have a link.

 WA Newsletter 

*Members agree on the viability of a newsletter. See the notes of the formal meeting, Sunday 25th. March, penned by Angela.


Formal chat: Sunday, 22nd. April 2018 at 11 a.m. CET with Chris N in the Chair

This Week on WA
Category: Site News

A summary of what is happening around the site... 

Blog: Vanessa has penned an informative post about using emotion more in our writing. Something many of us struggle with I should imagine! 

Monday Muses: Maggie has challenged us to write about childhood and fantasy providing some great photo's and a prompt. The world is such a magical place when your a child, it's rich picking for a story, if only I could remember that far back!

Feedback - both Angela and Alyson have posted pieces for the March Challenge and Jill, Lesley and Sue have pieces in the Works in Progress forum. If you have a minute please take a look.

The Bragging Stool is unusually vacant this past week, where are those Ad Hoccers or have I missed something. 

In the Notice Board you'll find a link for your secondary contact details if you haven't already provided it. And Angela is looking for advice about a creative writing CV.

And finally, in the Meeting Room you'll find the agenda for the meeting this coming Sunday at 4pm. And remember the clocks go forward for British Summertime!

Wear your heart on your sleeve Tags: Writers Abroad writing ex-pat writers writing emotion

The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Expression by [Ackerman, Angela, Puglisi,Becca]

Portraying emotion is one of the most difficult things in writing. I certainly have to work hard at it, although I have improved since I first joined Writers Abroad many moons ago. My local writing group has spent a number of sessions trying to pin down what constitutes a good portrayal of emotion.

We have each brought examples of writing from published authors. I chose the opening passages of Hannah Kent’s The Good People, which illustrate grief. We have done a number of writing exercises (you might like to try these). One involved writing about a farmer who is grieving for his dead son, but we couldn’t mention the son or his death or any words that signal emotion. Instead, we had to describe the farmer’s barn and convey in the details his sense of loss. In another exercise, we had to write about someone standing on a beach looking at the sea, but we could choose the emotion. I found both exercises difficult.

After doing a lot of work on this, we have drawn several conclusions.

  • Make readers feel with the characters and evoke a reaction. They have to feel the joy or the fear or the anger. They have to care about what happens to your characters, even if they are not sympathetic personalities.
  • This means showing what characters are feeling and not reporting it to your readers. So “thought” words like thinks, knows, understands, realises, believes, wants, remembers, imagines, desires, etc. are out. Loves and hates are also no-nos. This is bad news for me.
  • Show characters’ emotions through their interactions with other people and their environment, and their actions and gestures. This means avoiding long soliloquies, which hold up the action and drag you back into using those “thought” words. Again, bad news for me.
  • Vary the intensity of the emotions. Even in a thriller, the main character can’t be scared or apprehensive all the time. It’s as exhausting for the reader as it is for the character.

There’s a lot more to it, of course. Whole books have been written about showing and not telling. Also, if you’ve been writing for any length of time, you know all this, so I’m not telling you anything new. However, if you’re like me, you find it maddeningly difficult to do it well.

Help is at hand, though. Someone recommended to me The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. This book lists 75 emotions and suggests ways of expressing them, including body language. Want to convey anger, envy or joy? Turn to the relevant page and you have a range of helpful suggestions.

The book is a helpful starting point, but it’s always a good idea to think up your own metaphors and turns of phrase to describe emotions. If you rely too much on a primer, your creative muscle goes flabby.

Now I’m off to expunge all those “thought” words from my WiP…




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