Showing, Not Telling in Africa

Africa writing research

Burchell Zebra via Lee Ouzman’s Library

Word Geek Monday is Lead Astray

Well, it was bound to happen. This word geek found the World’s Greatest Site for Unusual and Interesting Words: Jacana.

But all writers should use this for research as it’s not just the word geeks that are being helped out.

Is your character working with an antagonist in a lab? Need to know what to call the “whatchamacallits”? Jacana has it. And if you aren’t sure what your antagonist is working on in his lab, this is a great spot for brain storming. Much better than Google as the possibilities are offered up to you on a virtual silver tray.

Flesh Out That Outline

Through osmosis, you can outline your next five scenes if not more by skimming for information close to you research inquiries. The setup of this site is what makes it so thought provoking.

Watch Your Characters Act Out the Scenes

We all know Google is the best, but you need to know what you are looking for to search for it. Jacana has subjects from Technology with sub-categories, Leatherman is listed with a wide array of self-defense tools for your hero. Safari sites and maps are all included in addition to pictures, GPS coordinates, and Safari clothing; just when you need to find the right word for what your characters are wearing as they start on a great adventure. Certainly you must include the specific Rogue hats they need to keep the sun out of their face and add that certain swagger and character trait to reveal a mood or emotion to your readers. Hats are great for “showing, not telling”. Certainly, that wasn’t just my secret, right?

Binoculars, knives, torches; all named and pictured for your imagination. I suggest that you start with the main page and dig deeper as you choose which way to go since this will bring you to your most fruitful sites for your novel. Who is the interesting pilot that your MC hires to charter them to their first scene in their adventure? The outline isn’t there, of course, but the ideas are if you look for them.

And, of course, there is a site for Unusual and Interesting Words. I won’t geek out on this post, but I linked to it for fellow word nerds (sobriquet used in the best possible light).

One of your characters specializes in zoology, I am certain. If so, she will need these words in her vocabulary: Zoological Glossary. She would pull up BioOne when she got back to base, of course.

Need translation tools, synonyms; Reverso is the new cool tool to use.

As for those that are interested in the self-publishing posts, I have enough information and book references, editors, formatting tools, etc. that this series will run long. Great book marketing tools coming up. And speaking of, I would follow what Jeff Goins is doing with his new book, The In-Between as news of it has been bubbling to the surface in all areas of the Inter-Webs. He has his tribe in full gear. Are you gathering your tribe?

I appreciate all of the shares. Please share with this link:

As always, please leave comments below and let me know what you are working on and any help you might need. This site is all about writers helping writers. I am here to help you.

As I’ve said since 2010: Stay Strong and Write On

A Muse You Can Use

Web 2.0 icons Pietro Zanarini via Compfight

Please see update at the bottom of this post.


Earlier on this site, I spoke of a site you may not be aware of but that is a lifesaver for anyone who creates and thus needs a Muse to depend on. The problem is, our Muses are not very dependable. So, I have a back-up plan for you.

I am big on content management  That is basically curating information that I can use for other projects-with the appropriate attribution. There are a number of sites for this but people are finding some inherent flaws in the systems of the most popular ones.

I have been introduced to two new ones. One, BO.LT, is not so new but I have been lucky enough to be in a group of first users. The second one, comparatively  is much newer. They have teamed up with Time to assist in their content. They do not do this for just any old user (ie: you and me). However, if you know the state of Time currently in its holdings, you might question this approach. But, one never knows. This is something called Rebel Mouse.

If you wish to find out a bit more of my interests and what I curate in content, just visit my Rebel Mouse page.

Or my BO.LT page to see just how much of a geek I am. 😉

Having used both and tried other page sharing utilities, in my experience BO.LT is THE place for curating and sharing pages with credit-ability built-in. The community there far outweighs any on-line community. If I had to compare all of the page sharing communities out there, BO.LT is like a big family gathering over a food-laden table; smiles all around when you walk in the door and a place set for you. The others…not so much.


One of the best things about BO.LT is that the categories are much easier to sort and manage. As someone mentioned, a bolt holds better than a pin 😉 And a special person on their team made a widget so you can display pages for your collections. For instance, this is my collection of #great houses

#literature #novels #reading:

#reading #writing #great novels

#great offices

#technology #social media

#social media #technology

#great staircases

#My Left Brain

#art #amazing



#design #booklovers

#innovation #small spaces



#The Brain


And there is no boring fail whale here if there is an occasional server issue. Instead, you get a revolving and hilarious bit of humor with BO.LT’s icon, the elephant. Once, I found him crying. Another time, his face seemed to be concentrating and then I noticed there was more activity on the other side of him…Cracked me up. When has a 404 error cracked you up?

But what has saved me in writing my work-in-progress is my #Muse category.This is where I  put all photography that is reminiscent of a particular mood, feeling, or character that I want to flesh out in my novels.

You can see that it relies solely on the photography of others. This is where Bolt comes in handy as not only can you categorize the bolts into subjects in their own box, rather than just having a tag, but you can also make your own page as you see with each of these categories. You can choose the background and look of the page. I obviously like the simple paper look. What can I say? I’m a writer.

Have fun. Play in a sandbox of images and information and make your own content manager with a few simple field to fill out. Voila. Your Muse!

Add BO.LT to your site:or see the page, and specifically to get the applet for your bookmark.

See TechCrunch for further comparisons.

Here are related articles for this subject:

Also, Media Bistro

Note: Sadly, Bolt is no more. I never thought I would grieve a social sharing page. What great research has been lost. The community and shared amusements. But we still have rebel mouse and then eventually I will try and get on Pinterest and join the ranks. All of the work those that started it and devoted so much time to is now gone. It, and they will be missed.

None of these are affiliates or paid endorsement or sponsors.