Tag Archives: dialogue

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

My current flu has made concentration rather difficult so my creativity has suffered this past week.I think it is struggling against a ‘fuzzy’ head that has made creation arduous.

What illness / situation has made your creativity stall?

However, I was able to begin beta-reading two manuscripts for author friends, one is a thriller and the other a memoir. Both are intriguing in their own way. I am reading each one at separate times of the day so that I am ‘clear’ of one story line before reading the next one. I have shared a list of tips on beta-reading for those of you interested.

Books:

I continue to enjoy Beyond the Precipice by Eva Blaskovic. The writing is creative and the interwoven music elements make the story unique.With my other reading projects it is nice to let the story embrace me and lead me forward.

beyond-the-precipice

Do you tend to read one book at a time or many?

Do you lean towards fiction or factual?

I still have this novella on my pile too:

the-outcasts

https://www.amazon.com/Outcasts-Maddison-Lily-Fox-Andrews/dp/1908128720

Writing Tip:

beta

If you are unsure of how to beta-read try these steps – I found them at http://jamigold.com/2014/08/introducing-the-beta-reading-worksheet/

Opening Scene:

Does the story begin with an interesting hook, creating a desire to read more?
Does the manuscript begin in the right place?

Characterization & Motivation:

Are the characters compelling, sympathetic, or someone you can root for?
Do the characters feel real and three-dimensional, with distinct voices, flaws, and virtues?
Are their goals clear and proactive enough to influence the plot (not passive)?
Do their motivations seem believable, with well-drawn and appropriate emotion?
Are the secondary characters well-rounded and enhance the story rather than overwhelming the story or seeming like they should be cut?
Are the relationships between the characters believable and not contrived?

Plot & Conflict:

Are the internal and external conflicts well defined for each main character?
Are the internal and external conflicts organic and believable, i.e. arising out of characterization and circumstance rather than feeling contrived or forced?
Are there enough stakes and/or tension throughout to make it a “page turner”?
Does the premise avoid cliché and/or bring a fresh perspective to an old idea?
Are the plot twists believable yet unexpected?
Do the characters act or react to events in a plausible, realistic, or believable way?

Pacing:
Do scenes progress in a realistic, compelling manner and flow with effective transitions?
Does every scene add to and seem important to the story?
Does the story move along at an appropriate pace, without rushing or dragging?
Is there a hook at the end of each chapter or scene that makes you want to read more?
Is the story free from information dumps or backstory that slow the pace of the story?

Setting & Worldbuilding:
Are descriptions vivid and give a clear sense of time and place?
Do the details enhance rather than distract from the story?

Dialogue:
Is the dialogue natural and appropriate for the story, not stilted or overly narrative?
Does dialogue move the story forward and reveal the characters?
Are characters’ voices consistent and distinct from one another?
Is there an appropriate mix of dialogue and narrative?

Craft:
Does the writing “show” the scene with the senses, using “telling” only as appropriate?
Does the writing quality allow the story to shine through and draw the reader in, or are flaws jarring or intrusive?
Is the tone appropriate and consistent for the story?
Is the point of view (and any changes) handled appropriately and consistently?

Overall Impression:
Is the voice unique, fresh, or interesting?
Does the story deliver on the promise of its premise and opening scenes?
From a reader’s point of view, did you enjoy reading this story?

Additional Questions for Comment:
Are there any confusing sections that should be made clearer? (Mark in the manuscript)
Do any sections take you out of the story? (Mark in the manuscript)
Is the story a good fit for the stated genre, and if not, why not?
Who are your favorite—and least favorite—characters and why?
What aspects are especially likable or unlikable about the protagonist(s)?
What three things worked best for you?
What three things worked least for you?

The Writing Process: Dialogue


Dialogue is a fundamental part of all narratives. Using it to good use and understanding how it moves the story along and gives our characters substance is worth studying.

The language used in our dialogue also plays an integral part in characterization. This link show a fascinating map of language in Europe.

Language

 

No Hope of Being a Recluse Today…


Recluse – definition: a person who lives in seclusion or apart from society, often for religious mediation

Man Writing WEB

The sentence that came with the word of the day was:  The writer was a recluse all his life and never socialized.

I will have to dispute that. As writers we require social interaction to enable us to create believable and intriguing plots and fully rounded characters. People watching is one of my favorite pastimes and I’m sure many writers are the same. Observing gestures, and listening to speech and accents is actually research for our narratives. The following article reinforces my view.

Image from: http://storytime-vikth.blogspot.ca/2012/01/solitary-writer.html

Without my writing groups support, advice and encouragement I would not be the writer I am today. http://wfscsherwoodpark.com/

Of course when I am actually writing I do prefer to be alone but that is not always possible. To achieve the illusion of a recluse, I put in the headphones, turn on the music and ‘disappear’ into the realm of my narrative.

Today is a celebration and time for family so this post is short and sweet.

holly

Whatever your belief, enjoy the love of your family and friends today.

t-Books

Declaration of Participation in NaNoWriMo 2013…


Profess – definition: to declare openly; to announce or affirm

Today I am declaring my participation in this year’s National Novel Writing Month. This will be my fourth NaNoWriMo and as usual I am excited and anxious in equal measure.

NaNo2013

This year’s novel is a new genre for me – cowboy romance. I have actually made notes and am in the process of plotting the story arc, something I never usually do! There is a format of sorts for this type of genre and I am certainly out of my depth with it. An extra challenge to conquer.

Other considerations are how to convey the Texan accent through dialogue and the love interest’s Italian heritage. Yes, I know I’m piling on the pressure. What’s the saying? ‘Ask a busy person’…

Added to my NaNoWriMo commitment is my year long ‘a blog post per day for 2013’…at least I am over half way now. It has been enlightening, knowledge expanding and a fantastic sharing journey so far.

Are you participating in NaNo this year?

What genre will you write?

Is this your first attempt or have you participated before?

Did you succeed in your last attempt?

What happened to your manuscript?

Two novels from my previous years of NaNo have been edited and revised several times. Life in Slake Patch is a speculative fiction and The Twesome Loop is a romance with a reincarnation twist. Both of these are awaiting representation. However, my fantasy, The Rython Kingdom is available as an e-book on Smashwords and Amazon Canada & UK. It was drastically revised after I won.

Related articles

Interview with Joss Landry…


Please welcome Joss Landry, author of Mirror Deep.

I linked today’s post with the word – Tremulous – Definition: 1) marked by trembling or tremors : quivering  2) timorous, timid. Words used in romantic stories upon occasion.

Interview Questions

joss-chief-round

Joss Landry

Mirror Deep

a)      Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?

This is a difficult question, Mandy. For some reason, the men characters I create seem to stay with me more. They are big, bold and very charismatic, I’m told. In Mirror Deep, this would be Pierce Bonner, Kat, my heroine’s, would-be hero. There is also a very flamboyant French older gentleman by the name of Charles… not to give too much of my story away. The reason I find this question a little difficult to answer is that these characters are like my children and, as you know, it’s hard to favor one child over another.

b)     Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one?

Yes. I love a good suspense story or a mystery with lots of twists and turns to the main plot. This means many subplots and tons of foreshadowing. This is the sort of book I like to read, which is why I love to write this, I guess. I also enjoy urban fantasy. I am writing one at the moment, and I’m almost finished. I like dreaming up all sorts of powers for my heroine. I also enjoy a good paranormal yarn. Yet in all my stories, you will always find some love connection between several characters. To me love is the seasoning that goes with all my recipes.

c)      What do you enjoy most about writing?

Great question, Mandy, and in case I forget to mention it later, I want to thank you for doing this thoughtful interview about me. What writer does not enjoy talking about his or her projects? I enjoy creating something that boils and spins. All my life, while in the home, I’ve spent most of my time in the kitchen, cooking, baking, and even catering for friends’ parties at times. Now, I’ve moved my creations to paper and to an office and a computer. Writing allows me to think outside the box, and creating people and their many life adventures is my favorite form of escapism.

d)     Have you got a favorite place to write?

Yes. I can’t just write any old place, although inspiration will come at the weirdest moments, and no matter what I’m doing or where I am. Usually inspiration comes when I’m doing something physical, like walking my dog, or swimming. To write, just give me an office with a window on one side and a TV on the other and I’ll be able to work. Oh, and I can’t write longhand. It has to be on a computer.

e)      Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants style writer?

A story comes to me early morning, in that ephemeral state between sleep and awake. Full characters with names and personalities begin full conversations… Whenever this happens, I have to get up and write the moment down before it is gone completely.

From there comes a title, then the main plot and then sub plots. Most importantly, because the characters and their conversations come first, I have to hunt down the character pictures as I see them via photos on the Internet.

Then I proceed to write a detailed character sheet on all the main characters and even the secondary characters depending on their role. Then, the city of where this is going to take place is born, again depending on what I saw and heard. I locate it on a map and give the place a neighborhood, a house, every little detail that pops to mind. By the time I begin to write, it’s easy as everyone is clearly defined. The setting is established, and the fact that their character sheet is detailed and their pictures are real, dialogue is much easier to craft.

f)       What inspires your stories?

I can’t be sure, Mandy. Once I was going out early morning to walk my dog, and I saw a neighbor four houses down coming out of his front door with his two children by the hand, and a whole short story sprang from this picture. A short story I just blogged about Vi et Veritate. Don’t know where it came from. Mirror Deep came to me while I was actually working on another story and while I was watching a Grand Slam tennis match at the same time. When my mind is occupied in more than one area, I find I get these little electrical shorts that give me insight into what I’m supposed to write.

g)      What are you currently reading?

Several books at the same time. I like to review books and when I do, I like to read more than one at the time. If I can’t finish a book, I won’t review it. If I can get through it, I will rate it and review it. Finishing a story for me means I was captivated and able to get to the end. I must have bookmarks in 25 books at home that I have never finished. Thank God for Kindles. I like to read mystery, suspense, romance, and anything that will keep me hooked and far away—except horror and vividly described cruelty. If I have to close a book because of a horror passage, I will not open it again… same thing for cruelty.

h)     Do you have any odd habits or childhood stories?

I guess I’ve had the same odd habit since childhood. I sing from the time I wake up in the morning to the moment I fall asleep at night, in my head or aloud; and sometimes through the night, as I have woken while in the middle of a dream because of a song in my head, countless times. I couldn’t sleep for weeks when Bobby Vinton’s ‘Blue Velvet’ first came on the radio—Shakira’s songs do that to me also. I guess it didn’t help that I could read music before I could read words. I come from a long line of singers and when my mother heard me sing at 4 years old, she thought I sang off key. So she had me take piano lessons with nuns. By the time I was 5, I was competing and winning against children 3 times my age. The result: I learned how to sing.

i)        Do you have any pets?

I love all sorts of pets. I think they are soulful creatures that need our help and devotion in order to survive. Love horses, and dolphins, and dogs. I have a dog, always did, in fact. Chief is going on 13 and he is the best friend anyone could wish for. He sleeps for hours while I write. When I get up to get coffee, he follows, wags his tail, gets his ears rubbed and goes back to the same place to resume his sleep when I sit down again. We take our walks every morning and every night, even in below freezing temperatures. He wears a little coat and boots when it’s too cold, and in more clement weather, he can easily walk a mile every morning.

j)       Do you belong to a writing group? If so which one?

Too many to name. Romance Writers of America, The Canadian Author’s association, about 25 Facebook groups of writers, The Absolute Write Water Cooler, The Next Big Writer.com and the list goes on and on. I read many people’s blogs and I am so inspired after I do. I am forever in awe of all the great bloggers and writers there are out there, stories written in so many forms and wearing so many different styles, all of them perfectly suited to what they say and do. So much creativity and downright smarts are propagated through the Internet… You know, Bill Gates may have started the movement of the personal PC, and the rush to the World Wide Web, but we are the ones who placed the order for it. All of us, we are co-creators.

k)     What age did you start writing stories/poems?

The eldest of 6 children, and having three siblings by the time I was six, my mother relied on me to tell my sisters and brother stories to help them fall asleep. I did. I invented many stories, unable to tell the same one twice as most of them were made up, of course. I guess this prompted me to read early. At 8 I was reading books without pictures and could summarize most stories for my little brood. By then, there were four younger than I was. Of course, this drove me … to write diaries, which I did until I was fifteen. Still have all of them, only no one can read them, not even me because the handwriting is illegible.

l)        Do you have a book published? If so what is it called & where can readers purchase it?

Yes, I have a book that was published on November 1, 2012. Mirror Deep. It is a suspenseful romance with the subplots and twists and turns that I like, and provides 456 pages of whodunit and romance. It’s available on Amazon.com, in print form and kindle. http://tinyurl.com/aups9ep for the Kindle and http://tinyurl.com/bcky3l9 for the print version. It’s also available on Barnes and Noble and other favorite sites. It will be available in Kobo and nook in early February.

FrontcoverFinal2-198x300

m)   If you could meet one favorite author who would it be and why?

Well, I’ve already met some of my favorite authors, Anthony Robbins, and Deepak Chopra. I’ve met Zig Ziglar, and Marylu Henner as she is a fabulous health writer.

In fiction I have met Pat Conroy, wonderful literary writer. I have two of his books and I love his fiction.  So that would leave me with a tossup between John Grisham and P.D. James. John Grisham is the best scribbler I’ve read in a long time. His prose is unique, vivid, real and so intense that I could read anything he writes, not caring about the story. P.D. James, of course is out of bounds to most of us. Her book Devices and Desires is absolutely phenomenal. I have read it more than once, just to revel in the turn of her phrases and the twisting of her plots and many subplots.

n)     If you could live anywhere in the world – where would it be?

Easy. Anywhere there’s a beach. Preferably with palm trees. I am a beach bum who loves the ocean, and everything about it: the smell, the swell, the salt that lingers on me after a long swim. I love the blue look of it, the feel and the howling sound of waves during a wind storm. The only two cities that would have me rethink living near the ocean would be Paris, France… or Lyon, a close second, and New York City, both tied. Yep you’ve guessed it. I’m a city girl who needs the ocean. So Miami Beach and Maui come pretty close to heaven for me.

o)      What’s your favorite movie of all time?

I have tried but find it impossible to just have one. I am a movie aficionado and I love them all. I have favorites of course, but dozens and dozens of them. Anything with Julia Roberts, with Sandra Bullock, with Michael Douglas, with Gwyneth Paltrow, Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Anniston, Matthew Perry, Andie MacDowell … well, you get the picture.

p)     Where can readers find you and your blog?

You can find my blog on book reviews, and such stories, and interviews at: http://www.josslandry.com/blog People are welcome to follow my blog and stay connected.

q)     Do you have plans or ideas for your next book?

I have already seven manuscripts penned that need tightening and professional editing. One is being edited right now. A romantic suspense of 75,000 words called Ava Moss. That will be the next one published.

r)       Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager?

My husband is my best supporter. He has been there through thick and thin and is the best beta reader I know. My daughter, Mary, is another pro-active supporter. She is the voice in my head, the one always encouraging me to be positive. Since all of us practice the Hawaiian science of Ho’oponopono, I guess you could say that the best supporter we all have is of a spiritual nature.

Thank you Joss for such an enlightening and interesting interview.