Setting Thesaurus Entry: Bookstore

Sight

Customers: browsing books, scanning shelves, standing in line to pay, tugging a book off the shelf, flipping a book over for back copy, fanning the pages, standing and reading, sitting in reading chairs, sharing a magazine with a friend, wandering the aisles, stalking the discount tables, sitting on the floor with back to a shelf, reading a book in the aisle, asking employees for help, looking books up on the computer, holding coffee cups. Shoulder-high bookshelves on the floor, tall bookshelves on the walls, round tables for books on display, corner/end displays, posters, banners, signs for reading sections, ads for store loyalty cards, author at a table doing a book signing, coffeehouse in-store, tables chairs, reading chairs and couches, windows, colorful book spines, books, novelty gifts (cards, mini-books, bookmarks, Cd's, DVDs, chocolates, pens, candy, seasonal gift items), bestseller wall, discount stickers, computers, registers, employees dressed in store shirts with name tags, colorful children's book section, staff picks section, gift cards, calendars, storefront displays, magazine racks, games selection, novelty books, puzzles


Sounds

People talking, murmuring, asking employees questions, the ruffle of pages, the slide of magazine pages, the crisp turning of a single page, coffee barrista noises (blending, grinding, foaming, gurgling, tapping, steam, etc) barrista calling out an order, slurping coffee, people talking on phones, the low-level spillover from music on headphones, shoes clicking/clomping/shuffling/tapping/squeaking against the floor, the tapping of keys on a keyboard, scanner beep, till tape spitting out, the slide of a bank card, the slap of adding another book to the pile, the clunk of setting a book back on the shelf, the sigh of regret as you put a non-buyer back, the deep breath of excitement at finding exactly the right book, store music in the background, knees cracking at sitting/squatting too long, tapping a fingernail against a book cover, trying to decide whether to buy it


Smells

The woodsy/dry scent of paper and cardboard, coffee/teas/spices (Cinnamon, nutmeg, cocoa) from an internal coffee bar, dust, hair products/cologne/perfume, magazine ink, air conditioning tang (if hot), dusty furnace smell (if cold), a waft of trees, grass, leaves and car exhaust when the door opens, pine (shelving), cleaning products (lemon, ammonia, pine)

Tastes

Hot coffee or tea sipped from a cardboard container, fruit or coffee smoothies sucked thorough a straw, nibbling on a giant cookie, muffin, loaf slice, roll or biscotti as you page through a book, icing on fingers, water, gum, mints, licking some Cinnamon dusted foam off your lip from a cappuccino

Touch

Running a finger down a book spine, tugging the top of the book spine to pull it off the shelf, squatting to read titles on a low shelf, reclining back in a soft reading chair, paging through a book or magazine, flipping a book over to read the back copy, running fingers over a bumpy raised title on the cover, tilting the book cover to see a special effect, hologram or iridescent coloring on the cover, tapping a book against a free hand, deciding if it's a buyer or not, holding a book in both hands, comparing, juggling a stack of books, carry a basket heavy with books, shifting books to reach for the phone or wallet, tapping fingers on keyboard to look up a title, taking a slow meander through the aisles, sorting through bargain tables, visiting with an author doing a book signing, bumping into, squeezing past another customer to get to a shelf, waiting & shifting foot to foot for a turn to ask an employee a question as they help another customer, setting purchases down on a small coffee table, breaking off tidbits of a treat, then eating as you read, sipping at coffee, wiping lips with a napkin, crumpling cookie bag, reaching into purse or pocket for cash, stuffing a till receipt away in a pocket or purse, the weight of books pulling the handles on a plastic book bag, digging into palm


Helpful hints:


--The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.

Example 1:

With the excitement of a six-year-old discovering one last parcel at the back of the Christmas tree, I scampered over to the last armchair in the reading nook and sunk into the soft, plush folds. Across from me, an elderly woman glanced over the cover of a steamy romance novel and took in my bulging bookstore bag. She nudged her own nestled at the foot of her chair and we shared a secret smile. After settling in, I pulled my newest purchase, Across the Universe by Beth Revis and inhaled the papery scent of a new story waiting to be discovered.  

(and yes this really will be me when I can get my hands on Beth's book!)


Example 2:

Emily gave her customer a harried smile and handed off the bag of books. Then, before another person could fill the empty spot at her register, she ducked behind the counter on the pretense of needing more till tape. Crouching next to shelves filled with fliers, gift card envelopes and designer bookmarks for display, she closed her eyes, tuned out the jingling Christmas music, the loud buzz of conversation and the rattling receipt printouts. For one brief moment in her mind there was no endless line of grumpy, exhausted customers and no store loyalty cards to hustle. Instead she imagined her easy chair, an after shift tea in one hand and the TV remote in the other.

--Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.

Example 1: (Simile)

Near the discount table a ruddy-cheeked man hugged books to his barrel chest like grandchildren he hadn't seen in a long, long time.

Example 2: (Metaphor)

I scanned the shelves for a novel suitable for my three-year-old nephew's birthday. Every third book came with a puppet, stuffed animal or tiny tow truck. Christ on a cracker, was this a bookstore or the frigging toy department?


Symbolism Thesaurus Entry: Doomsday

Every day we interact with objects, places and sensations that affect the way we think and feel. This can be used to the writer's advantage by planting symbols in the reader's path to reinforce a specific message, feeling or idea.

Look at the setting and the character's state of mind, and then think about what you want the reader to see. Is there a descriptive symbol or two that works naturally within the scene to help foreshadow an event or theme, or create insight into the character's emotional plight?

In Nature:

Fault line shift
Volcano eruption
Super cell storms (tornadoes, severe winds, lightning, etc)
Comets & solar events (eclipses, appearance of a black hole, solar flare, etc)
Earthquakes
Mass Extinction
Tsunamis
Animals fleeing areas
A lack of bird activity
Animals dying unnaturally
Floods, mudslides
Heat wave, cold wave
Deadly hailstorms
Forest fires
Massive sinkholes
Crops rotting in the field
Trees splintered, ripping themselves out of the ground
Large landmass change (lands rising, sinking, lakes disappearing, river routes changing, etc)
Unusual weather patterns and temperatures
Animals behaving strangely (flooding populated locations, mass migrations, etc)
Cracks, fissures, buckling and other ground level movement/change
Dead fish/waterfowl washing ashore
Pole or axis shift
Huge climate changes

In Society:

Billboard/handheld signs declaring doomsday
Street corner preachings
Increased church attendance
People flocking to churches, police stations, hospitals
Barricaded buildings & homes
Traffic jams on city exit routes
Foot traffic on roadways, people carrying children, backpacks, dragging luggage
Abandoned cars
Looting, crime
Broken glass, trash, debris
Black smoke
Ash fall
Smashed storefronts
Broken down doors
Empty shelves
Stock market shutdown
Economy shutdown
Governmental breakdown
Skyrocketing gas prices
Scarcity of water
Loss of electricity
Abandoned places of work
Masses descend on grocery and survival stores
Police, fire and rescue, medical presence
Overflowing hospitals, medical tents set up in parking lots
Helicopters overhead
No fly zones, grounded air traffic except government/army
Traffic accidents
Massive line ups at gas stations
Fire, explosions
Gunshots, screams, street side shootings
Visibly carried guns and weapons
Army presence
Police sirens
Terrorism
Pandemics
Nuclear events
Chemical or biological warfare
Empty homes, possessions left behind
Signs of a quick exit (doors left open, cars running, meals uneaten)
Large populated areas (cities, communities, entire towns) devoid of life
Graffiti quoting scripture or prophesy
Death

These are just a few examples of things one might associate with Doomsday. Some are more powerful than others. Overflowing hospitals with medical tents set up in parking lots is a strong symbol, and likely will not require reinforcement. However, a single abandoned car on a roadway may not foreshadow Doomsday on its own. Let the story's tone decide if one strong symbol or several smaller ones work the best.


Setting Thesaurus Template: Taxi Cab

Sight

Well worn seats, stained or dirty floor mats, gum wrappers on the floor, semi-crushed Kleenex box above the backseat licence ID of driver displayed, smudged windows, digital display of meter, signs regarding passenger conduct/legalities, cell phone, radioing system, door locks, cup holder with Slurpee cup/coffee/water/etc by the driver, candy wrappers, pen hanging from the dashboard on a string, air freshener hanging from the rear view mirror, dust, cracked or pitted windshield, clipboard with paper on it sitting on dashboard, Visa machine and slips, sign stating tips are appreciated, steering wheel, gear shift, can display panel, magazine or newspaper on the front passenger seat, take out container yet to be disposed of, umbrella

Sounds

Music on the radio, matching the taste of the driver, discussions on a cell or radio between driver and dispatcher, squeaky springs in the seats down a bumpy road, traffic noise outside, humming, small talk, the click of a seat belt, blips on the meter, the driver hitting the horn at someone in the way, the purr or rumble of the motor (depending on how well it's maintained), backfires, grinding gears, the driver tapping the steering wheel as he drives, breathing, coughing, throat clearing, animated conversation between passengers, questions fired off to the driver, the crinkle of bills, the creak of a door opening, the slam of the door shutting

Smells

Old carpet and fabric seats, dirt, dust, the cabbie's lunch breath, lingering odors of coffee and food eaten in the car, cologne or perfume, hair products, sweat

Tastes

Popping a sweet mint or breath freshening gum in the mouth before arriving at destination, the cabbie taking a mouthful of take out food as he drives, water, coffee

Touch

The give of bouncy seats, strapping a seat belt over lap, pulling on the door handle, pointing a building out to the cabbie, straightening clothing, smoothing wrinkles, checking self in the mirror, tousling hair, fixing make up, digging in a pocket, wallet or purse for cab fare, unfolding a slip of paper with an address printed on it, handing cash to the cabble, setting purse on lap for the duration of the ride, cabbie's hand on steering wheel, fiddling with the radio, shoulder checking, pointing out sights to vacationers, taking a call on the cell or checking for texts, shifting impatiently

Helpful hints:


--The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.

Example 1:

As I settled into the spongy seat and pulled the door shut, I caught a strong whiff of Kung Pao chicken. Great--just my luck that I'd end up with a driver with a lust for Sichuan cuisine. I barked out the address and then sat back to wait, taking as few breaths as possible. A take out container sat between the seats, dripping vomit-yellow sauce. The driver popped one of those useless complementary thank you candies into his mouth like that would help. Places like his lunch stop should be forced to hand mouthwash or breath strips instead.

Example 2:

Right in the middle of the sightseeing tour along the canal, Sharon's soft-spoken driver suddenly leaned out his window and launched a tsunami of angry foreign words at a tardy pedestrian crossing the road. Once the walker scurried to the sidewalk, the cab surged forward once more. The grandfatherly driver smiled at her in the rear view as if nothing had happened, and then continued to describe the historical significance of each building they passed.

--Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.

Example 1: (Simile)

The cabbie spun the wheel erratically like a DJ running turntables at an all ages club. Either he had no idea where he was going or he hoped that tossing his passengers from side to side might dislodge spare change from their pockets, padding his paycheck a little.

Example 2: (Metaphor)

Brett glanced around the cab interior as the car pulled out into traffic. This one appeared grungier than most with a bundle of clothing rags spilling out from underneath the back bench, granola bar wrappers littering the floor and a dirty old pillow laying against the far door. He narrowed his gaze, picking up other minute details, like the toothbrush poking out of a pouch slung behind one of the seats and a sleeping bag rolled up and tied in the front. Hold it, was this a backseat or a bedroom?


Symbolism Thesaurus Entry: Pride

Every day we interact with objects, places and sensations that affect the way we think and feel. This can be used to the writer's advantage by planting symbols in the reader's path to reinforce a specific message, feeling or idea.

Look at the setting and the character's state of mind, and then think about what you want the reader to see. Is there a descriptive symbol or two that works naturally within the scene to help foreshadow an event or theme, or create insight into the character's emotional plight?

In Nature:

Lions
Eagles
A straight, tall pine or spruce tree
A strutting rooster
Peacocks


In Society:

A freshly washed or waxed car
A parent with her well-groomed/dressed children
Awards, trophies, medals, ribbons
Flags
T-shirts bearing team names and slogans
School Jackets
Displaying items with a designer logo or brand
A mother holding her newborn
Flag waving
Army, navy, air force
People clapping and cheering
Award ceremonies
Politicians
A lifted chin
Parades
Someone who is well dressed
Professional manicures, pedicures (especially ornate ones)
Uniforms
The statue of Liberty
Tall, designer buildings
Sports players
Cheerleaders
Pep rallies
Class rings, Jackets, etc
Diplomas
Status symbols: corner office, name on placard, business cards, student council spot, leading role,club membership, team member
Popularity, having a sought after boyfriend/girlfriend

These are just a few examples of things one might associate with Pride. Some are more powerful than others. A screaming crowd cheering for their school football team is a strong symbol, and likely will not require reinforcement. However, a single tree growing straight and tall may not foreshadow Pride on its own. Let the story's tone decide if one strong symbol or several smaller ones work the best.

A Taste of Africa

Well, I'm home. And Tanzania was AMAZING. We saw and experienced so much, I don't even know how to articulate it all! Seeing such a beautiful place in person really touched me, and the struggles of those in this country really made me realize how blessed I am, and how much I take for granted. I think when a person goes on a trip like this, it changes them. It certainly changed me.

We took well over 1000 pictures, and I will get them up on a share site when I can but for now here are a few shots that will hopefully convey how incredible of an experience it was. Enjoy, and if you want to see a larger view, just click on the photo!


We saw lots of elephants with their babies, and OMG, so cute! Some were too small to even feed on the foliage but they would pick up branches with their trunks and 'pretend.'


This one our guide called an 'Elephant back-scratcher'. We saw ruined trees like this all over the place--I guess the big guys can get quite violent when a tree looks at them the wrong way or they they find an itchy spot they just can't quite reach...


I loved the giraffes. There's something about watching them stride across the plain that is just amazing. Here we were able to get quite close as they noshed on some leaves.


We saw many hippos, and this shot is from Lake Manyara. They are massive creatures, aren't they? The day was overcast, so rather than hide in the water to stay cool, several ventured out to feed.


Note the Hyena skulking behind the herd. The wildebeests and zebras appear unshaken, but you could tell they were very aware of every movement, and ready to bolt at a second's notice.


It took a long, long time for the animals to settle and come down to the water for a drink. This is when the animals are at their most vulnerable, and so they wait and wait, trying to stay alert for any movement. Zebras and Wildebeests will drink only once a day here. In fact, a lion attacked the herd just as they finished.


This is a Baobab tree...some call it the 'upside down tree.' These huge, beautiful trees have many uses for both people and animals. I saw many while in Africa and took lots of shots (you guys know how I love trees). I thought of Becca every time I saw one, because she has a NF PB book that contains info on the Baobab.


My pictures montage wouldn't be complete without a shot of a lion, now would it? This one was not hunting, but rather playing in the grass with her mate and young cub. They were tough to spot and very hard to get close to.


We saw a ton of Baboons. They were everywhere and weren't camera shy at all. One even climbed onto the jeep! They were very cute and playful, especially the young ones.


We also travelled through a village, seeing how people lived. It was a real eye opener. They have very little, and had to work very hard to provide for themselves and their families. Here is a boy making a ball to play with out of plastic bags and twine that he'd carefully collected and saved.


This is a typical dwelling in the village--a stick and mud hut. The materials are relatively inexpensive. One of the dangers here is the rainy season and flooding. It isn't uncommon for families to leave their homes to avoid the flood waters and then come back to repair the damage.


The children in the village were very interested in us, and especially our digital cameras. They would come up to us and high five us, fist pump, etc and then want us to take their picture so they could see themselves on the digital display. Too, our sunglasses were a big hit--all the kids wanted to try them on and they liked to look at themselves in the mirrored reflections. This boy here hopped into my lap the second I sat down and giggled and laughed the whole time. Such a wonderful moment, seeing how simple smiles and actions can bring so much joy. By far this was the best part of the trip for me.


Some of the sights we took in were heartbreaking, like our visit to one of the many, many orphanages. The children there were slow to warm up to us and the weight of their situation was evident on every face. We gave them some gifts and played with them, and a few gave us tentative smiles by the time we had to leave. I have the email address of the teacher there and hope to send down a care parcel of shoes and clothes in the coming months.


This is in Zanzibar...look how blue the water is! We had a wonderful time playing in the waves and searching the white beaches for shells and crabs.


We stayed in a very lovely hut with an ocean view, high enough on the bluff to catch the breeze. This is a shot of the sunrise from our deck. We spent several nights here, relaxing and doing as little as possible. :)


Stone Town awed us, both with its rich history and the carvings on doors and balconies in some areas of the city. The doors were very intricate as you can see, and many were reinforced on one side and had their studs intact, originally embedded in the door to keep lions and elephants out.


Much of Stone Town is actually a warren of tight alleys and bustling shops. It was a lot of fun to tour around and pick up a souvenir or two. A spice island, Zanzibar's wares are known the world over, so I snagged a few good deals on vanilla pods and saffron threads.


As a major site for the slave market, there were many historical areas intact to show just how the slaves were auctioned and where they were kept. It was terrible to see, yet a good way to honor those who had their lives stolen from them by keeping the memory of what happened alive. These are the actual chains used to hold slaves, who were whipped to determine price. Those who were quiet the longest earned a higher price. Horrifying.


I want to leave things on a high note, so here's a view of the harbor. I love water and all it symbolizes...the openness of the ocean is a good reminder of the opportunities awaiting each one of us, and that we must steer our boats toward them. Happy sailing!

Braincandy for Writers: Post #4


Hi all,

I hope you've found some good stuff in these links I've bookmarked over the last few years. Right now I'm in Zanzibar at the Kichanga Beach Resort, relaxing on the beach or taking in a Spice Tour, knowing this is my last day of this incredible vacation. I'm probably a bit sad, but also a bit happy to be heading back to my corner of the world.

Restless, the Zombie Crew has taken one last lurch-and-grab at my links to stave off the boredom of knowing only one word to express their vast range of emotions from hungry to, well, hungry. I hope you enjoy this final installment of Braincandy, and I'll see you all in a few days! :)

Nonverbal Dictionary: Know all those non-verbal gestures (a blush, a bobbing Adam's apple, a chin jut or crossed arms, etc) that slip our minds when we need them most? Well this dictionary has got you covered. All the possible human gestures are explained and many shown, which makes it an excellent companion to the Emotion Thesaurus (in sidebar).

Synonyms for Commonly Used Words:
Here's some alternatives for those bland or overused words we sometimes dump into our MSs like Bad, Get, Go, Have, Look, Move, Put, Take, Show, etc. Great for that final polish.

OneLook Reverse Dictionary:
Okay, I'm breaking my rule on not posting anything I've linked to before, but ONLY because this resource is one I would crumple up and DIE without. I love how I can search for a word or idea that is kinda-sorta-ish what I need and then get a huge host of other words that are related to it. I use this often for my Thesaurus Posts, for example, because I can type in the subject I'm focusing on and often get a slew of content that is directly related to it.

Fae Dictionary: If you're looking for faeries, good and bad, this is a pretty good alphabetical list. There's some bonus potions at the bottom, too. :)

World Building: If you're worried your WB might not be in depth enough, Holy Zombies is this the resource for you. This covers all aspects of building a world for the writer to pick and choose which components will round out their setting and society. Just scroll down for different areas like architecture, animals, clothing, language, laws, etc.

Canadianisms: Why? Because I'm Canadian and I KNOW you all want to know more about us Canucks.

Detecting Lies: Great breakdown of how Liars manipulate and have physical 'tells'. Perfect for your lying, thieving, no-good antagonist.

Zombie's Pick: Frawsome (freaking awesome) Generators

Zombie Generator
Castle Generator
Clothing Generator

If you missed any of the earlier Braincandy posts, just search up the label, 'braincandy.' I'll see you all in a few days, and in the meantime please feel free to pass this on if you like, either through tweets, blog mentions, etc.

Braincandy for Writers: Post #3


Hi all,

I hope you enjoyed the last two installments of Braincandy! Right about now I'll be climbing to the Base Camp of Mount Kilimanjaro, hoping I broke in my hiking shoes well enough beforehand. I can't wait to see the great landscape shots I'll get from this vantage point, and thanks to Stina Lindenblatt's awesome Photo Tips (she's not just a brilliant writer & Blogger--she knows tons about photography, too!) maybe my pics won't turn out too badly.

Well, after complaining last time that the Zombie Crew could be a little more diligent about keeping this place clean, they set about defrosting the freezer here at The Bookshelf Muse and found a Headcheese Casserole I'd been saving for a special occasion (like when they help me take over the world). Not only did they eat the whole freaking thing, they went rifling through my links again. (And one of them is wearing a French maid's costume. Disturbing, people. Dis-turb-ing.)

Written Sound: Just like it sounds (har har) this one is the A to Z list of all those onomatopoeia words. People have asked if I'll create a thesaurus for this, but I think this site has done a pretty bang up job already.

Angela was thinking one day, Hmmmm. wouldn't it be great to read the diary entries of teens? Dear Diary And The Diary Project are the results of that search--sites dedicated to anonymous entries for teens and people dealing with certain challenges like divorce, school, love, fears, body image, depression, etc. Oh and a bonus here if you want to see actual hand written entries sent in from old diaries from when people were pre-teens and teens.

Snopes: This is THE place for Urban Legends, Myths and Rumors, which can be great fodder for plots and story lines. If you look in the sidebar, you'll see different topic classifications from the benign to the downright disturbing. In true Zombie Fashion, the page displayed is labelled 'Horror.' It's like a car accident...once you start clicking you won't be able to look away.

Confusing Words: Death to Homophones! Affect or Effect? Complement or compliment? Or maybe you just get stuck on those words that are difficult to pin down a meaning for. All you do is type in a word and it helps you with the meaning. Quick and easy!

Self Control: Do you find yourself checking email , Facebook, Twitter, etc when you're supposed to be writing? Of course you do! And if you're like me, you probably bemoan the fact that you need to have the Internet on to research bits of info as you write and so the temptation to 'peek' at other stuff can't be circumvented. Enter Self Control--it blocks your Facebook, Email, etc for a set period of time that you choose while leaving your Internet accessible. No more excuses! (Note: I just found this so haven't used it yet, but it looks great, doesn't it?)

Regency and Romance: Again, not a genre I write, but this is equal opportunity linkage, right? Here are a few places that looked pretty good if you write in these genres. This one here is all about Kissing (and if you read the entire series, it spans all aspects of the romantical from the First Touch to the Big Finale) helping with terminology and creating realism in those romance scenes.

Zombie's Pick: Frawsome (freaking awesome) Generators

Treasure Generator
Civilization Generator
Story Arc Generator

Look for Post #4 in a few days, and in the meantime, enjoy! If you want to pass these on, feel free to link to this post, tweet, etc!

Braincandy for Writers: post #2

Hi all,

I hope you all enjoyed the first round of Braincandy for Writers. If this is your first time here, just scroll back a post or search the Keyword at the bottom. While I'm zipping around in a Land cruiser at Tarangire National Park, my Zombie Crew has once again plundered my super-secret stash of writing links and listed them below. Now I know they are trying to be useful while running The Bookshelf Muse, but really, would it kill them to dust the place and maybe throw in a load of laundry once in a while, too?

Life in Ancient Egypt: A popular setting for books, this will tell you everything you need to known to insert realism into your writing. Clothing, food, metals, currency, beliefs, work, slavery...you'll find a trove of good content for this culture.

Senses Word Pack  & More Senses Word Packs: Here's two neat little list of words for Taste, Smell, Sounds, Textures and Sight. It might help you brainstorm an exact match for your character's experience.

Character Archtypes: A list of 140 different archtypes. I know--140? I had no idea there were so many out there in the big bad world of fiction and film, but here they are. This is probably the most complete list I've ever found.

Food, Past and Present: OMG people. This is so much more that a simple Food Timeline. You have to see it to believe it. If you are writing about any point in history and want to know exactly what crops were available, what people in different countries ate and how it was prepared then BAM, this is the place.

Pirate Dictionary: Because let's face it, Pirates are awesome. #nuffsaid

The Renaissance: Literally EVERYTHING you could ever need to know about this time period, broken down by topic or significant event. The lady who compiled this is nothing short of OMNIPOTENT.


Zombie's Pick: Frawsome (freaking awesome) Generators

Room Generator
Horror Plot Generator (Warning: Hilarity!)
Detailed Character Generator


Look for Post #3 in a few days, and in the meantime, enjoy! If you want to pass these on, feel free to link to this post, tweet, etc!

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