Friday, April 4, 2014

D IS FOR DECLIVITY


D is for Declivity, a word I would have never thought about had I not opened the dictionary to the D’s. Ideas can’t be copyrighted, so the ideas posted here Monday through Saturday are free for any of you to use. Skim to the underlined genre or style that best suits you.

 Since this noun means a downward slope or a section of sloping ground, writers of Romance might think about a picture of snow with a cold white hill where the heroine falls and tumbles right into the open arms of the hero.

Keep in mind that it’s sometimes a good idea to use the first word or image that comes to you as a jumping off place for a story, but avoid it if it’s too cliché. In that case, if you want to use it, unique it up a bit. Now you’ll have to decide how your heroine reacts to the situation, despite her obvious attraction to him. Give her a reaction that will feed tension into your scene.

In a Mystery, it might be on that downward slope that your sleuth finds a swatch of red fabric, just a few yards from the scene of the crime. The swatch might have been left by the guilty party. Upon a closer look, your sleuth notices it isn’t just any red fabric; it has a dark weave of thread going through it diagonally. Naturally, the sleuth is trying to remember where he or she saw this odd material. Someone’s blouse? A scarf? Yes, that’s it. It was a scarf draped over a chair in Mr. Peabody’s (the banker’s) office. A woman’s scarf, chiffon or some light fabric. So, does Mr. Peabody know the killer, of did he do the deed?

In the Literary world, declivity might describe the life of the main character, someone going downhill fast, whether physically, mentally, financially, or all of these. Maybe some major plot point, climbing down one hill to get to another the character intends to climb, parallels with the down and up (or vice versa) emotional growth the character undergoes.

For a Children’s book, first I would caution you to consider the word in a picture book. It’s not really a kid-friendly word. You could get away with it in a middle grader or a young adult book, but for a picture book you are best off calling a hill a hill and a slope a slope. For older characters, you might consider this the first time your character has ever tried to learn to ski – and the bunny slope seemed safest. But of course, nothing is ever as it seems.

Happy writing!

50 comments:

  1. That's not a word I would have thought of either, but it could certainly be used in various places, as you mentioned. Thanks for the vocabulary lesson.

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  2. I suppose this could be used in a children's book to demonstrate a scene when the child is around a "grown-up" word, and feeling confused about it. =)

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  3. I just love learning new words, so thank you for that hehe now I want to make up a sentence and say it to someone just to show off and see if they know it :)

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  4. A new word and a new idea!! I like the sound of this word too ' Declivity' :)

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  5. This is my word of the day :D I hadnt checked one today and your post gave me one ;) now its time to show off the word I learnt :D

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    1. Well then I'm glad you stopped by. :-)

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  6. Well I've learnt something new today! Thank you :) Declivity - A bit like my diet....

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    1. Thanks for the laugh. Yep, like my diet too. :-)

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  7. It's always good to feed tension into scenes! :)

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    1. Yes, it is. Thanks for stopping, Ava.

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  8. It's sort of a delectable word, isn't it. Happy A to Z blogging!
    http://pensuasion.blogspot.com/

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    1. Yes, it just sounds nice falling off the tongue.

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  9. I have never heard that word ever. In life. As a children's lit author, that probably makes sense. Good word, though! :)

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  10. I like it as the description of a character's life, trying to hang in there through a rough period. I, too, love learning new words. Thanks for that, Deb. I like the sound of it, and think it's going to stay with me all day today. :)

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  11. Okay, you've got me hooked (read all A-Z entries so far). Love your theme!

    D.B. McNicol
    A to Z: Romance & Mystery...writing my life

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    1. Good. I hope you use a few. thanks for stopping. On my way to your blog now.

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  12. Great word, Debi. I knew it, but never used it!

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    1. You're one up on me. I seriously never even knew it until I open the dictionary and saw it staring at me.

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  13. I was unfamiliar with this word. I will have to start using it.
    Elizabeth at www.scribblinginthestorageroom.wordpress.com

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  14. I did not know that word, and again, enjoy new pronunciation and definition. You are providing such insightful lessons for writers. I am not a fiction writer, but that doesn't deter me from planning to come back to these posts again and again in future months to benefit from your examples of making writing more robust.

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    1. Thank you. I'm glad you are finding them helpful.

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  15. I could totally see myself using this word. It sounds like something that would come out of my writing. =) Of course, I'd have to think of it first.

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  16. What a great idea to give prompts like this!

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    1. Thanks. I hope a few of you find them useful.

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  17. What a fun word. I'll need to think of a way to use it . . .

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    1. Yeah, it is pretty cool. Thanks for stopping by.

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  18. Great word. It can be used to describe things too... There's a declivity in his skull from when the horse kicked him in the head.

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  19. Some good advice here, Debi. It's sometimes difficult to avoid cliches and to find new descriptions. "Declivity" - an unusual word to now remind me to be different.

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    1. Thanks for stopping and glad you like the ideas, Fanny.

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  20. I love discovering new words and that's one I've never heard of. Thanks! I’m really enjoying reading all these A to Z posts, but unfortunately it’s causing a declivity in my daily WIP word count :)

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    1. I agree on the word count problem. Me too. :-)

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  21. Declivity . . . and decline. I enjoyed reading how a writer might use a unique word to jumpstart ideas about the story itself. Starting with just one word. Sometimes I think that's how poetry begins -- with just one word!

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Beth. Looking forward to the next post on your blog.

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  22. Declivity is a delightfully descriptive word if only my vocabulary had not declined from neglect. :) Time to climb the incline to better word use again. Thank you for your descriptions of how to use the word effectively in various genres.

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    1. The knight reined in his horse at the edge of the briar-choked declivity and cursed under his breath. How in the world was he going to get to the enchanted ruins at the bottom?

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  23. I can actually see this, Lori, so please, finish it and tell us 'the rest of the story.
    Seriously.

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  24. Declivity.....what a wonderful word! I'm always a little wary of using words I'm unfamiliar with in case I mess up and use them out of context, but I do love words like this, even if it's just to further enhance my vocabulary in my mind.

    Flip

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    1. I love adding words to my vocabulary too, and this one had such a nice sound. Thanks for stopping by.

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