Rewriting the 7 Rules of Dialogue

StoryTrumpsStructure-196x300“Rewriting the 7 Rules of Dialogue” by Steven James | 28th June 2016 | Writer’s Digest: The Writer’s Dig.

“Most of us have heard the typical advice about writing dialogue—make sure your characters don’t all sound the same, include only what’s essential, opt for the word said over other dialogue tags, and so on.

While these blanket suggestions can get you headed in the right direction, they don’t take into account the subtleties of subtext, characterization, digressions, placement of speaker attributions, and the potentially detrimental effect of “proper” punctuation.

So, let’s delve into the well-intentioned advice you’ll most commonly hear, and what you need to know instead.”

  1. Dialogue should stay on topic.
  2. Use dialogue as you would actual speech.
  3. Opt for the speaker attribution said over all others.
  4. Avoid long speeches.
  5. Be grammatically correct.
  6. Show what the characters are doing while they’re talking.
  7. Keep characters’ speech consistent.

Read more via Rewriting the 7 Rules of Dialogue

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5 Things Breaking Bad Can Teach Us About Writing

TV_BB_bl“5 Things Breaking Bad Can Teach Us About Writing” by Cris Freese | 26th November 26, 2016 | Writer’s Digest.

“I think the general consensus among those writers who teach the craft is that you must read—and read widely—about the craft of writing, particularly those authors who write in your genre. But I think there’s a lot you can learn about writing from other mediums, too. Specifically television. Every other week, I’ll bring you takeaways from some of the best television shows out there. These are meant to be specific concepts, themes, techniques, etc., that a writer can learn from the show. This post will help you understand the intricacies of plot.

This week we’ll take a look at Breaking Bad. Potential spoilers follow. This post will focus specifically on some crucial elements of storytelling, and how you can use them to develop an excellent plot. Each one of these elements is used successfully in the hit show Breaking Bad. I’ll show you how each one is used in this show, and provide a potential application for your own plot.”

1. Craft Unique Character Motivations
The number one thing you need for a successful and compelling plot is character motivation. Every character in Breaking Bad has terrific motivation for their actions.”

2. Develop Multiple Conflicts
Good plots are nothing without good conflict. With multiple characters who all have unique motivations, you can create conflicts between each of these characters.”

3. How to Use Foreshadowing Effectively
Breaking Bad uses foreshadowing throughout the plot. Sometimes it’s more heavy-handed than other times.”

4. Utilize Flashbacks and Flash Forwards
I don’t recommend using these two techniques often in fiction, but using them sparingly can be effective in creating suspense in your plot.”

5. The Importance of Recurring Plot Elements
Recurring elements are important because they draw plot lines together. They connect stories and people, and they recall to earlier points in a story, or point to something in the future.”

Read more via 5 Things Breaking Bad Can Teach Us About Writing

5 Elements You Need In Chapter One To Hook Your Reader

“Write Your Novel In A Year – Week 48: 5 Elements You Need In Chapter One To Hook Your Reader” by Anthony Ehlers | 2nd December, 2016 | Writers Write.

WRITE_YOUR_NOVEL_Week_48_5_Elements_You_Need_In_Chapter_One_to_Hook_Your_ReaderGoal setting

  1. Focus on polishing your first chapter.

Breaking it down

Your first chapter is the window to a showroom, beckoning us with a display of shiny new cars that promise adventure, an exquisite new dress in a shop window that hints at romance, or a candy display at a market promising the best sugar high ever.

How do you make sure you entice the reader in? How do you make that first critical chapter a moment of seduction, one the reader will never forget? In short, how do you get them hooked?

①  The first line is your last chance to grab the reader.

②  The world on the first page.

③  An unforgettable character or characters.

④ A challenging or thought-provoking question.

⑤ A last page that promises more.

Read more via 5 Elements You Need In Chapter One To Hook Your Reader

4 Super Easy Ways To Create Characters For Short Stories

Create-Characters-For-Short-Stories“4 Super Easy Ways To Create Characters For Short Stories” by Mia Botha | May 3rd, 2017 | Writers Write.

Characters in Novels versus Characters in Short Stories

Creating characters in short stories is the same as creating characters in novels, but once again, when dealing with a reduced word count we have to make our writing work harder. We don’t have 80 000 words to develop a character arc. How can we work with a reduced count and still have a fully developed character?

1. Write Epic Descriptions

Sometimes we only need one line to summarise a character. Find a way to describe them that creates an image for the reader of who they are.”

2. Dialogue

How does your character talk? Vocabulary, sentence structure and how they talk all help us to show character.

The age, level of education and nationality will all influence how your character speaks.”

3. Body Language

Make your characters move. This conveys a lot about them. Make sure to use strong verbs.
Don’t say: the woman walked. That doesn’t tell us a lot about the woman. Rather say: she strode, she raced, she shuffled, she tiptoed. Those all create images and different scenarios.”

4. Internal Thoughts

Internal thoughts are still one of the simplest ways of showing character. Once you are in the mind of a character you can share their motivation, thought processes and backstory.”

“By using a combination of these methods, you’ll be able to convey as much of your character as possible using the least number of words. Tip: Don’t forget to apply to principles of ‘show, don’t tell’ to really pack a punch.

Happy writing.”

Read more via 4 Super Easy Ways To Create Characters For Short Stories

8 Archetypes For Heroes & Heroines (and their Villianous Counterparts)

“8 Archetypes For Heroes & Heroines” | 2nd August 2013 | Writers Write.8-Archetypes-For-Heroes-And-Heroines

“We found this great resource for writers on tvtropes. If you’re looking for archetypes for male and female characters, have a look at this list. Follow the link at the end to read more, and to find a list of examples.

Archetypes for Heroes

  1. Apollo: The Businessman
  2. Ares: The Protector
  3. Hades: The Recluse
  4. Hermes: The Fool
  5. Dionysus: The Woman’s Man
  6. Osiris: The Male Messiah
  7. Poseidon: The Artist
  8. Zeus: The King

Their villainous versions are as follows:

  1. Apollo: The Traitor
  2. Ares: The Gladiator
  3. Hades: The Warlock
  4. Hermes: The Derelict
  5. Dionysus: The Seducer
  6. Osiris: The Punisher
  7. Poseidon: The Abuser
  8. Zeus: The Dictator

Archetypes for Heroines

  1. Aphrodite: The Seductive Muse
  2. Artemis: The Amazon
  3. Athena: The Father’s Daughter
  4. Demeter: The Nurturer
  5. Hera: The Matriarch
  6. Hestia: The Mystic
  7. Isis: The Female Messiah
  8. Persephone: The Maiden

Their villainous versions are as follows:

  1. Aphrodite: The Femme Fatale
  2. Artemis: The Gorgon
  3. Athena: The Backstabber
  4. Demeter: The Overcontrolling Mother
  5. Hera: The Scorned Woman
  6. Hestia: The Betrayer
  7. Isis: The Destroyer
  8. Persephone: The Troubled Teen”

Read more via 8 Archetypes For Heroes & Heroines 

9 Ways Writing Short Stories Can Pay Off for Writers

anne-r-allen-300x300“9 Ways Writing Short Stories Can Pay Off for Writers” by Anne R. Allen | 7th January, 2015 | The Writer’s Dig | Writer’s Digest.

“I thought short stories stopped being relevant for professional writers decades ago, when mainstream magazines such as The Saturday Evening Post stopped publishing fiction; I equated short fiction with those finger exercises piano students do before they graduate to real music. If you’re serious about a career in fiction, you write novels … right?

Wrong. Short stories are having a revival in the digital age. As book marketing guru Penny C. Sansevieri wrote in The Huffington Post, “Short is the new long. Thanks to consumers who want quick bites of information and things like Kindle Singles, consumers love short.” It seems the short story is back—on an iPhone near you.

Here are nine factors working in favor of a short story renaissance:

  1. Small, portable screens are changing the way we read
  2. Anthologies are hot
  3. Publication identifies you as a professional
  4. Networking with short fiction editors can further your career
  5. Filmmakers buy rights to short stories
  6. Online retailers favor authors with more titles
  7. Short fiction contests can build your bio
  8. Shorts keep fans engaged and draw new ones
  9. Today’s short stories make money and hold their value.

Short stories are great for practice, too. Learning to write short can keep your prose from getting flabby. You shouldn’t give up on your magnum opus, but try a few ideas out in short stories. You’ll be grateful you have inventory when opportunity comes knocking.”

Read more via 9 Ways Writing Short Stories Can Pay Off for Writers

World-Building for Every Genre: A Checklist

“World-Building for Every Genre: A Checklist” by Mia Botha | 13th July, 2016 | Writers Write.

“Last week I discussed the importance of setting and what we can learn from sci-fi and fantasy writers about world-building. By following  their guidelines, we can strengthen our setting and make our worlds more complete.

Here is a checklist to get you started. Below the checklist are questions you might consider for each category. I tried to use examples that are not considered fantasy or sci-fi.Word_Building_For_Every_Genre-1

  1. Genealogy
  2. Work life
  3. Clothing
  4. Food
  5. Hygiene
  6. Rituals and holidays
  7. Technology
  8. History
  9. Religion
  10. Language
  11. Gender roles
  12. Family life and structure
  13. Procreation
  14. Politics
  15. Education
  16. Geography
  17. Water and resources.

I have left a few blank squares for you to add your own ideas. This will vary from story to story, but I hope it will help you shape your story to create a complete world.”

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Comma Splice

CommaSplice“Comma Splice” by Mignon Fogarty | 24th June, 2010 | Grammar Girl.

“I decided to write about comma splices because my friend Scott Sigler has a book coming out this week, Ancestor, published by Crown. Over three years ago, when he was publishing an earlier version of the book with a smaller publisher, he asked me to read it for him and be as brutal as possible with my comments. The biggest problem I found was comma splices.

How to Use Commas
Commas are tricky because there are so many different ways you can use them, but one of the most common ways to use commas is to separate two main clauses that are connected by a coordinating conjunction.”

What Is a Comma Splice?
Comma splices seem to be Scott Sigler’s biggest problem. Here’s an example from page 114 of the original Ancestor book, where one of the characters is talking about a cow named Fonzie:

Sara obviously named that one, she was a sucker for those old “Happy Days” reruns. (wrong)

It’s easy to see in that example why the error is called a comma splice: it’s because the comma is used to splice together two complete sentences when that isn’t the function of a comma.”

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How to Start Showing and Stop Telling in Your Stories

book-1740519_640“How to Start Showing and Stop Telling in Your Stories” by Georgina Roy | 12th November, 2016 | e-Books India.

“Any aspiring writer knows the rule of “show, don’t tell.” In essence, the rule advises writers not to tell in their stories, but to show. What the rule does not dwell upon is how to show instead of tell in a story. The rule does not elaborate on how the writer can know that he has started showing and stopped telling in his story. Below, we have elaborated a bit on the difference between showing and telling, and shown how you can use both in creating a successful story. Telling also has a use in a story, and while the rule states “do not tell,” we should not rush and start showing exclusively at the expense of telling. On the other hand, telling can ruin a story, because it makes the story tedious and does not encourage the reader’s imagination. Hence, below we will analyze what you should show in a story, and what you should tell.

  1. Show in dialogue
  2. Overusing metaphors, similes and comparisons
  3. Sensory inclusion in description
  4. Avoid vague language
  5. Telling in transition scenes.”

Read more via How to Start Showing and Stop Telling in Your Stories