Writing Lesson: Writing ConversationsWhile I am not a professional by any means, I have been writing for many years and, more recently, beta-reading as well. In all of my experience, I've noticed that a lot of to-be authors make some really silly, simple mistakes. In an effort to help out, I'm going to be putting up a few "Quick Tips" that might help you improve your writing and get more readers.More Like This
For this "Quick Tips" entry, I'm going to focus on conversation and the use of quotations. Here we go
Punctuation in Quotations
When a character is speaking, their statement is often followed by, "she said" or, "he mumbled". However, you have to keep in mind that this is still part of the sentence!
Incorrect: "Wait, I have to tie my shoe." she said.
Correct: "Wait, I have to tie my shoe," she said.
Even though her statement ended, the sentence carried on to tell the reader that it was she who spoke. That's how it works with a period, but with exclamation marks and question marks, many people choose to ignore t
Basics: Paragraph StructureI love North & South. It’s one of my all-time favorite classic novels (and yes, Richard Armitage in the BBC adaptation is yummy). I love that it’s not only a romance, but an eye-opening social commentary of the industrial age in England. Mad props to Elizabeth Gaskell for producing a mini-epic which has stood the test of time.More Like This
What I don’t love about North & South, however, is the odd mega-long paragraph every couple of chapters. My little eyeballs have a hard time keeping up with the narration without the much needed breaks.
Nathaniel Hawthorne, author of The Scarlet Letter, has been attributed with the quote: “Easy reading is damn hard writing.” He’s not wrong. Writers need more than a grasp of grammar, characterization, and plotting. There silent details to consider as well which, if overlooked, could trip up your readers. And if your readers stumble too many times, they will back away from the story for good. Ev
Basics: Paragraph Breaks in DialogueA new paragraph is required for each character's dialogue (and by extension, if there is internal exposition without a verbal response). And sometimes, even dialogue from the same character needs to be separated by a paragraph break.More Like This
Example (of all):
"I can see how you might consider that an impediment to our relationship." His tone was absurdly calm. Didn’t he understand that he had just signed his own death warrant?
"You’re mad!" she hissed.
"No," he returned with a humorless laugh. "That would be much simpler."
She shook her head, unable to come up with a response to equal this brand of insanity.
"I did kill him." The chair creaked as he leaned forward, his expression falling flat. "I killed a traitor."
"What?" She could not begin to fathom what story he would weave with this circuitous logic.
Tom sighed again. “I had hoped to have this conversation in a less…awkward setting.” He lifted his hands, rattling the shackles on his wrists. “Candlelit
Writing 101: Why Good Villains Are ImportantA good friend of mine asked me recently to review a screenplay he's working on. It's an excellent piece, an action-packed sci-fi/fantasy with a very compelling protagonist. Overall I'm a tad jealous of his ability to create a completely new world and have the script read in such a way that I can actually see the potential film in my head.More Like This
There was just one problem, though. His villain (or villains, rather) fell a bit flat.
My writing mentor once told me the following: Your hero is only as good as your villain. Now, she didn't mean that your villain has to be good in the sense of being redeemable or even sympathetic (though sympathetic villains are my personal favorite). She was, instead, referring to the idea that no matter how fantastically 3-dimensional your hero is, if your villain is just a 2-dimensional bad guy, it's your hero who suffers.
Let me use the examples of two films from the Marvel Universe to further expound on this point. (I'm going to g
A World Building and Novel Writing GuideThe List System - A World Building & Novel Writing Organization GuideMore Like This
If you are like me, you are someone who finds a lot of benefit in making lists and keeping a lot of notes. This has naturally lead me into developing my own system in organizing my numerous story projects, in a way that keeps them easily accessible, clear, and able to hold any and all Information I need.
World building and Plot making are sometimes time-intensive processes. They can be spread out over long distances of time, or larger chunks of building sprees. Whatever works for you is great! If you aren't sure, listen to your whims. This is a very flexible and customizable system that can flow however you do. This method however is not for everyone, if you are not a list oriented person, this may seem more like a chore. If you are unsure, give it a try and see how well it works out for you.
This entire system centers around using and modifying a basic template. I use this templat
Love your verbsWrite five paragraphs without using adverbs. The goal is to remember to use strong verbs in the first place.More Like This
Randomness, to get you started
-Lying there, I pondered my situation.
-At that moment, I swore my eyes were lying to me.
Words: Dreams, warehouse, Rain
September, Guns, Wishes
Flies, old books, shoes