The Dos and Don’ts of Dialogue Tags

As writer’s we’ve all come across a point when we’ve written a dialog and sit back thinking “that doesn’t sound right” and it’s redone over and over again. This blog gives wonderful examples how to write a convincing dialog that flows and shows action instead of just telling about it. A great exercise would be to think back about a recent conversation you’ve had with someone that involved an action. Re-write that conversation conveying the action with dialog and see if it captures the essence of what really happened.

A Writer's Path

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Writers use dialogue tags constantly. In fact, we use them so often that readers all but gloss over them. They should be invisible. However, there are ways to misuse them and make them stand out.

In an effort to avoid that, let’s take a closer look at dialogue tags. Toward the end of “Tag travesties” is something I sorely wish someone had told me before I started writing.

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Sneak Peek – Upcoming Novel

I decided to stop second guessing myself and my ability to write and I’m moving out of my comfort zone and putting my work out there for you to read.  What good is being a writer when you won’t let anyone read it, right?

I’ve created a new page here with a sneak peek from my upcoming novel “Always a Victim” I’m hoping to have completed and published in 2015. If you have a moment, please read it and tell me what you think.  I welcome any and all feedback.

Pro’s of writing short stories

As I’ve been working on my full length novel and frankly feeling quite defeated, I’ve also written a short story that I entered into a contest.  Once I finished that short story I began thinking of writing two more and put out a series based on my first one.  I outlined each one in detail and was surprised at how easily it flowed for me vs. the full length novel and  came to realize there are some very good reasons for that.

First is that a short story is just that, it’s short.  That doesn’t mean it’s any easier to write and have it make sense but for me it’s a challenge to consolidate all my thoughts into a few sentences that actually flow and get right to the point.  It forces me to be practical when I have a word count limit looming before me and more importantly it doesn’t bore the readers with unnecessary details that detract from the story.

Second is that its great practice to build my writing skills.  A first draft may show I’ve gone over the word count limit by 90 words which means I have to review each paragraph and really read it.  I’ll start asking myself questions like  Do I really need that description?  How can I convey this point with fewer words? etc. and it also forces me to show action instead of telling about it making the story itself much smoother.

Lastly is I found the story I was writing was exciting to me and I really liked my characters. I liked the plot, the way the scenes played out and loved the ending.  If you like your characters, your readers will too even the villains.  At least that’s what I’ve read from people who’ve given their advice with writing stories.

How do you feel about short stories vs. full length novels?

Uplifted Writer

I wanted to share my knowledge of a fantastic writing tool.  I’m sure many already know about it; however, for me it’s new, exciting and exactly what I needed.  As a new author I find the most difficult part of writing is keeping things in order.  I found that I had to constantly go back and reread what I’d written to keep my facts straight and by the time I found what I was looking for I’d lose my train of thought.  It’s been more than frustrating but I’m new at this so I suppose it’s to be expected.

yWriter is a fantastic tool for anyone considering becoming an author. I’m able to outline my novel scene by scene per chapter including tagging characters in each scene, location of scene, special notes I want to put in there for later on etc.  So when I first open the program it lists the chapters that I’ve outlined so far and off to the side is a list of each scene in that chapter.  If I click on the chapter itself a window opens that let’s me read the description I put in as well as what each scene includes.  I’m able to go back to any given chapter and review what I wanted to accomplish which makes it a lot easier to keep track of the story so that it makes sense.  The program also allows the author to input a timeline of goals to complete the outline, first, second and third drafts and then the final manuscript.  This helps me stay on track and gives me the shove I sometimes need to get motivated.

The program also allows the actual content to be typed in so once you’re finished everything is in one place.  There are reports you can create for a synopsis as well.  I hope this helps some of new authors out there.  It’s completely free so definitely give it a try.

I also want to thank fellows bloggers for stopping by and reading my posts.  I’m new at this so I’m still trying to figure out a way to acknowledge everyone personally so please be patient with me.  The fact that you took the time to stop by has given me such encouragement, I cannot tell you how much I appreciate it!

Slow Going

Ok so my last post stated that I would try to incorporate some skills that I hoped to acquire while writing my first novel (first draft vs. second draft).  I read about developing my characters, showing action instead of telling it etc.  This sounded easy enough and even when I thought about it, I knew exactly what I was going to change and how I was going to do it.

So I get up early one day excited to start actually developing my story so readers will like it.  With a hot cup of coffee in hand I sit at my desk, open my laptop and opened the file for my manuscript. I can feel the creative juices literally flowing through me.  The pages appear before me and I freeze.  All those ideas were gone.  Where do I begin?  What happens if I change the way one scene is written or even one little conversation?  I started feeling slightly overwhelmed at the idea of having to go back and change other things so what did I do?  I closed my laptop, walked away and thought some more.  This did not make it better.

The entire process is overwhelming but the book isn’t going to write itself.  Just like this blog isn’t going to write itself.  I think the hardest obstacle for me is the fear of being rejected, putting my work out there after I’ve poured hours of energy into creating what I hope to be a satisfying reading experience for people to find out that no one likes it.  All I can say is that when I do consider a certain chapter or scene complete it’s only after I’ve spent hours and hours going over it and know that it’s the best I can put out there.

Right now in this stage I have to get past the fear of not being able to please everyone.  My stories may not appeal to the masses and not everyone is going to like what I write but I can’t let that stop me from pushing forward.  This is what I love to do.

I’d love to hear your stories about writing and what you find is the most difficult part.  Whether you’re a new writer or a pro, I think we can all offer some inspiration to others and help them get through.