Targeted Nouning

Pssst, fellow author. Here’s a thing I’ve learned about writing. Strive to use precise nouns. It will improve your prose. Make certain those nouns fit not only the setting, but the motif and mood you’re trying to capture in a scene. What ever do I mean? Here’s an example:

Poor nouning: Theresa pulled a wad of clothes from the desk and dumped them on the coverlet.

The above is fine, but imprecise in a couple of loose ways. It fails to let me know what sort of clothes Theresa is digging out. It could hint at the time period and Theresa’s mood, but it doesn’t.

Better nouning: Theresa pulled a set of baby jumpers from the bureau, the hooded sort Mother preferred whenever she took Kevin for a stroll on Sundays, and flung them onto the duvet with an enraged little huff.   

This one’s better because the reader comes away knowing more about Theresa, her mood, her nationality (likely British), and maybe a little something about her relationship with her mother. Obviously, the main verb changed as well, from dumped to flung, so we can take a lesson here about better verbing too.

Apply better nouning to your every sentence and paragraph. It will strengthen your prose.


— david j.

New Digs

I’m sad ThirdScribe, a website dedicated to authors and readers, will be shutting down in February. That’s where I had my previous website hosted. It was a great place for authors. Unfortunately, too few discovered it in time to make the business model work, or so I gather.

That puts me here, constructing my own site. Well, not really. This is a WordPress site, which means it mostly builds itself. Sure, I could code my own site, but I have little enough time as is. I’d rather write books than code when I’m at home.

This new site will fill out in the coming days as I add content. I want to get my “What I’m Reading” and “What I’m Writing” pages back up and running. In the meantime, I’m working on the 5th draft of my novel Drawn. I’m deep in edits now and will be sending it back to Falstaff before 18FEB.

— david j.

Meat Hooks

This is the opening to my middle grade novel, Ambrosia: The Crown Maze.

On the day Derrick Jensen discovered chocolate was the secret to magic, he was hawking candy bars door to door with his little brother. Or, more precisely, he was sitting on a log in the shade between two neighborhood houses feeling sorry for himself.

Trying to grab a reader’s attention can be tough, especially if said reader is a kid. I’m hoping the above lines do the trick.