On Writing & Storytelling: Before I Start….

Where, oh, where will The Moonglow Bar exist? A view from the Upper West Side in Manhattan. Photo Credit: juan Carlos Hernandez

“You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.”Madeleine L’Engle

It’s late morning here in Lithia, Florida, on Friday, March 24, 2023. It’s a warm, sunny spring day, the kind of Florida day that makes me want to take the day off from writing and go to the nearby park, book in hand, and just relax.

My current neighborhood in a photo I snapped in December 2022.

I should do that, too, but I know I won’t.  I have a tendency to feel guilty – like really guilty – if I don’t write at least a haiku for either one of my two blogs. I don’t know if it’s because I don’t want to be called “lazy” or accused of being some kind of poseur (“Okay, so if you’re a ‘writer,’ why aren’t you writing?”)

So, here I am, at my desk, trying to get my shit together so I can begin working on my next story (I don’t want to call it a “book” or try to anticipate how “big” a story it will be; it might be a short story, a novella, or even a short novel, depending on how long the final manuscript ends up being. But I don’t want to dwell on that aspect of the process lest I become intimidated by the prospect of attempting to write a novel.)

“The scariest moment is always just before you start.” Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft  

The second edition cover, (C) 2019 JADD Publishing

I wanted to start my writing day by reading from my paperback copy of Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi’s The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression. I bought that book in December of 2015, when I still lived in South Florida and thinking about writing something while I dealt with the messy aftermath of my mother’s death. It’s one of three books by Ackerman and Puglisi that I bought for that purpose, and I know I have them. I just don’t know where the Caregiver stored them when she moved me from the larger room where my study used to be to this more confined space.

I’m not at the stage of the writing process where I truly need to use The Emotion Thesaurus – which, among other things, is a great resource for looking up various emotions – like fear, say – and reading the various non-verbal “tells” (facial expressions, body language, and whatnot) you can describe in your writing – but I did want to at least reacquaint myself with the book so that when I am ready to start the new manuscript, I’ll know how to use The Emotion Thesaurus to paint vivid characters on the blank page.

Well, I don’t want to bother my caregiver about the paperback editions – I am sure that she’ll make sure I have them on a bookshelf at my future abode in Brandon. But I also don’t want to wait until I move (and no, don’t ask. I don’t know when that will be) to start Project X, either.

So, I went to the Kindle Store and bought the e-book edition for $5.99. Problem solved. Plus, since I have the Kindle app on this PC as well as my laptop and my Kindle Fire tablet, I don’t need to depend as much on the “hardcopy” edition – although, to be honest, I’m still more of a reader of traditional bound books than I am of their digital editions.

I also bought the Kindle edition of  Ackerman and Puglisi’s The Positive Trait Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Attributes. I know I’ll need it at some point in the process of writing any story, so I figured, “In for a penny, in for a pound.” Or “dollar,” if you prefer.

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

“Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It’s about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy.” ― Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

I’m going to go read a book for a while. I don’t do that often enough, and reading a lot is one of the two things writers must do if they want to be good at the craft. (The other “must do” thing is, of course, writing a lot.) So, if you’ll excuse me, I will let you go, at least for a while. So, until next time, Dear Reader, stay safe and healthy, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things.


Published by Alex Diaz-Granados

Alex Diaz-Granados (1963- ) began writing movie reviews as a staff writer and Entertainment Editor for his high school newspaper in the early 1980s and was the Diversions editor for Miami-Dade Community College, South Campus' student newspaper for one semester. Using his experiences in those publications, Alex has been raving and ranting about the movies online since 2003 at various web sites, including Amazon, Ciao and Epinions. In addition to writing reviews, Alex has written or co-written three films ("A Simple Ad," "Clown 345," and "Ronnie and the Pursuit of the Elusive Bliss") for actor-director Juan Carlos Hernandez. You can find his reviews and essays on his blogs, A Certain Point of View and A Certain Point of View, Too.

%d bloggers like this: