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.