Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Don't Waste Those May Flowers

Who doesn't think of flowers when they think of May?

However, let's go a step further. How can we use flowers in our books? Here are some examples:

Setting - When describing a character's surroundings, to ground a reader, include a flower typically grown in one portion of the country. For example, in the Spring, you might see outdoor cactus flowers in Scottsdale, but not in Chicago.

Season - Poinsettias are a prime example for Christmastime, while crocus, daffodils,and tulips bring Spring to mind, in such places as the Midwest portion of the United States.



Romance - Flowers are a no-brainer when it comes to romance. Single flowers, especially red roses, convey passion, while pink, affection. White roses are popular in bridal bouquets. And, a groom, who usually wouldn't wear a corsage, would wear a boutonniere at his wedding.

Sloppy or Not? - This time of year also brings to mind dandelions, which some consider a weed, others, a flower, or even a  home remedy.
A meticulous character might own a weed-free lawn. You might think the presence of dandelions on a lawn might be a sign of a sloppy homeowner. You could be right. However, think of another scenario. Maybe the dandelion lover is an earth-friendly person who despises chemicals. Sure, that person could take the time to pick all those pretty yellow flowers up, and put them in the lawn recycle bag, but maybe that person also likes to dabble in home remedies. Believe it or not, dandelions are considered great for blood sugar levels, as well as digestion.

Sinister or Not? - Who'd guess that many popular outdoor flowers that look so pretty, such as azaleas , irises, and hydrangeas, can be poisonous to pets, and even to humans in certain quantities?

By now, you get the idea. I invite you to share an example as well, or comment on one mentioned.


Experience the diversity and versatility of Morgan Mandel. Romantic Comedies: Her Handyman, its sequel, A Perfect Angel, standalone reality show romance: Girl of My Dreams. Thriller: Forever Young: Blessing or Curse, its sequel: the Blessing or Curse Collection. Romantic suspense: Killer Career. Mystery: Two Wrongs. Short  and Sweet   Romance: Christmas Carol.  Twitter: @MorganMandel Websites: Morgan Mandel.Com    Morgan Does Chick Lit.Com.

14 comments :

  1. Or, maybe that character lives where I do, where there are no lawns, and dandelions provide a burst of color against the decomposed granite substrate and are a sign of spring. :-)

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    1. Urban living has its advantages and disadvantages.

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  2. Just be careful to describe them rather than use the scientific names or your readers may zoom off to Google. I'd say that is true of all kinds of descriptive shorthand: famous landmarks, restaurants, designer duds. Readers don't all have the same points of reference. :)

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    1. Good thing I only know the common names for flowers. I should add more descriptions, though, which I sometimes neglect to do.

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  3. Who doesn't think of flowers when they think of May? Well, me, for example, Morgan. But that doesn't mean plants of various sorts haven't found their way into my tomes ... and no, not what you're thinking ... they actually do fill out the landscape. So I agree ... flowers certainly do have a place in my writing, if not necessarily in my heart.

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    1. After a cold, snowy Illinois winter, I can't help being amazed at the beauties of spring!


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  4. Flowers can also be used in characterization. To set up a minor character in my mystery, Open Season, I put her in a house in a very poor neighborhood of Dallas where the houses were running to decay. Hers had a fresh coat of pain and a geranium in a pot on the porch. "A bright spot of color in a drab setting."

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  5. This was an interesting read, Morgan, thank you. I've only used them once; with a character furious that spring was bursting out even though she was dealing with tragedy. She felt each tulip as a sharp slap in the face.

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  6. Love this article, Morgan! Your points on the various aspects of the lowly dandelion are particularly interesting. Flowers can add to characterization, set a scene, grace a cover, and even brand an author. My article for the 15th touches on some of these other uses.

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    1. I always feel sorry for the dandelion!

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    2. Me, too. It's quite a love color, really.

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  7. I used a weed in my latest book to signal a rebirth of a devastated landscape. A lowly weed that became a symbol of hope. Great post. And yes, I use dandelions in salads...

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The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.

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