Showing Emotion: Annoyance

You get annoyed, and so do your characters. When they’re peeved, how will they act? Will they hide their annoyance, or let it show. What’s going on inside their head?

Learn How your Characters Can Better Show their Annoyance

Showing Emotion: Anger

Actions Reveal Anger

When anger bubbles just below the surface, how do your characters act?  Will they slam doors and rage, or will they take a defensive position and hold their tongues?

Thoughts and Feeling

What goes on in your character’s mind when they feel anger?  Do they think of revenge, or just feel hurt?  Will anger lead to depression or feelings of helplessness?

Click the link below to explore different ways your characters might react to feelings of anger and how they reveal their anger without saying a word.

Effectively Show Your Characters’ Anger

Review: Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

A good dictionary has always been a staple of writers everywhere.  You probably write using Word or a writing program like Scrivener, which both highlight the most common spelling mistakes.  However, these programs don’t know the proper spellings of words that are outside the mainstream, many names, and technical terms.  To know how to spell these less-used words right, you need a comprehensive dictionary.


This is one area where an online tool is quicker to use and may have far more features than traditional book-based versions, assuming that you have an internet connection where you write.

For quickly looking up most words, Merriam Webster Online does a great job.  In addition to the kinds of things you would expect from a full-featured dictionary,  you’ll also find synonyms, related words, antonyms, Spanish-English dictionary, medical terms, and an encyclopedia.

One of the features that I like about Merriam Webster Online ( is its Word of the Day feature.  Sign up and you’ll get an email each day with a word and its definition, helping you to build your vocabulary over time.

Overall, Merriam Webster Online is a great service, but there’s really nothing that I have found that really sets it apart from other online dictionaries.



Product Review: Freemind Mind Mapping Software

When asked if I am an outliner or a discovery writer, I say, “yes.”  I’m a little of both.  When I begin a story, I want to have a good idea of where I’m going, at least for the first several chapters.  I want to understand my characters and their motivations. 

I need a way to capture these kinds of details in a way that is both structured enough that that I can keep track of the kinds of information that fits a pattern as well as flexible enough to be useful to use for many types of tasks.  Freemind is excellent on both fronts.

Freemind is great for outlining, allowing you to branch to an unlimited number of levels, but one of its strengths is that you can close any of the branches you don’t need right now.  You can link to web pages or files saved to your computer, making it a hub for your project research.

Click the image on the right to see a screenshot that shows how I use Freemind to map out scenes.  I also use character templates in another mind map to capture character details.You can define your own icons, templates, and styles in Freemind, so the program is really flexible.  In fact, I have used Freemind not only to map out scenes and characters, but I use it in my day job for client management, tracking to-do tasks, meeting notes, and client information.  I think of Freemind as a free-form surface that I can use for any tasks where I need to outline or other tasks where information branches in a hierarchy.  You can move any portion of the mind map around, making it infinitely flexible during brainstorming or planning stages of writing.Since other mind mapping software can cost up to $500 per user, Freemind’s $0 cost is pretty sweet as well.  I highly recommend it.  Combined with Scrivener, Freemind works really well with my writing process, and is definitely worth checking out.  You can find Freemind here: