Karen
Kelley
Stretching The Boundaries To Another Dimension

Your story, the final frontier - our mission to explore new territory, to seek out active verbs and deeper meaning, to boldly go where you, as writers, want to excel.

No, you haven't entered a Star Trek episode. Although, as a writer, you may sometimes wonder if you have. I'm talking about adding more texture and richness to your writing. A little pizzazz. For instance, let's take Jill.

1: Jill walked up the hill. There's not much visual there. All the books I've ever read tell me I need to use stronger verbs. Okay, I can do that.

2: Jill trudged up the hill. That's a little better. Now I can see Jill and she really doesn't look like she wants to walk up that darn hill. But it's still not quite visual enough. So maybe we can take it a step further.

3: Jill trudged up the rocky path, the rope handle on the wooden pail biting into her palm. Now we've added depth to the visual, but there's still something missing. Even though the reader probably realizes Jill's legs are aching from trudging up the hill and her hand hurts, they still don't really know what Jill is feeling.

4: Jill trudged up the rocky path, the rope handle on the wooden pail biting into her hand. Pain was good. Maybe it would wipe away the deep aching hole in her heart that Jack left when he'd asked for a divorce. Better. Now you know a little more why Jill isn't dancing up the hill. That good for nothing Jack has left her. But has the passage come alive? Do you truly know how Jill feels? This is the point where you need to dig deeper. How would you feel if your mate asked you for a divorce? The person who promised to love you forever?

5: Jill trudged up the rocky path, the rope handle on the wooden pail cutting into her hand. Pain was good. Maybe it would wipe away the deep aching hole in her heart that Jack left when he'd asked for a divorce.
She stumbled. Oh God, it hurt so much. This couldn't be happening. Not to her marriage. She drew in a deep, shuddering breath and leaned against the well. The stones provided a support Jack would never again give. All alone! A voice screamed inside her head.
Her hands trembled as she reached into the pocket of her apron and brought out the band of gold. The testimony of Jack's love had once held warmth, but off her finger, it was just a cold piece of metal. She tilted her hand and watched as it tumbled across her palm and landed with a little plop into the water below.
Goodbye, Jack. She let the pail fall to the ground. He could get his own damn water from now on!

By digging deep into Jill's emotions we see what Jack's leaving is really doing to her not just through thoughts, but action as well. She stumbled --This action shows the reader that Jill is having trouble coping with the disaster that has struck her life.

Then she goes through denial. Jill doesn't want to admit the marriage is over. The reader can see her pain and fear.

Symbolism is shown with the wedding band. Her marriage had once been warm and full of love, but since Jack asked for a divorce, it has grown cold, like her wedding band.

By dropping the ring into the water she's also letting go of her past. Another insight into her character is shown when she drops the pail and thinks to herself that he can get his own damn water. The reader sees that Jill isn't about to wallow in self-pity.

When you go through your manuscript look deep into each scene and the character and think about what you can do to add another layer, break new ground, and take your work into another dimension.