As in real life, our characters sometimes need to pause and reflect on something before responding. This silent beat is often indicated with an ellipsis or the word finally, as in, “Yes,” she said finally. Nothing wrong with marking a beat this way, but here are some alternatives you can use to invigorate some of the beats in your dialogue.
While reading The Trouble with Goats and Sheep, I noticed that the author Joanna Cannon is a bit of a genius when it comes to lending physical traits to abstract concepts. To recap, metaphors are comparisons between two things, whether abstract or concrete, that share at least one commonality, whether abstract or concrete. Click the title above to continue reading.
There’s a scene in Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects that gave me goosebumps, except the action responsible for said goosebumps had nothing to do with the plot. Click the title above to continue reading.
I was watching Lady Bird recently. It’s summer in the beginning when the protagonist breaks her arm, and then a whole bunch of stuff happens, including Thanksgiving, and then cut to her cast being taken off, and I instantly had a sense of how much time has passed. Click the title above to continue reading.
At the beginning of this year, I was ready to write the last 60,000 words of a novel. Me, my laptop, and my research were tucked away in a tropical paradise, but the words I was writing, they were reading like they’d been spewed out of a meat grinder. I decided to take the day off and finish the book I was reading instead. A few pages in, I realized I had no interest in finishing the book in question. The prose was uninspired, as was I. Click the title above to continue reading.
Easily avoidable misunderstandings as a device to create conflict, whether reading or watching it, I dislike this so much, it elicits an eye roll from me every time. The conflict just doesn’t feel logical. And because I’m aware that I don’t like this, I’m (hopefully) careful not to let this or any other of my literary pet peeves happen in my own writing. Click the title above to continue reading.
As a frequenter of book readings and author workshops, I’ve sometimes noticed a moment when the author loses part of their audience, the part that cares about how the author is reacting to questions. Perhaps the author becomes dismissive, defensive, passive-aggressive, or skirts the question entirely. Below is a list of common question types with example answers that can leave an aftermath of negativity as well as alternatives to keep audience members in that book-buying zone. Click the title above to continue reading.
When on the lookout for critique partners, a genre match is important and you should have at least one, but it isn’t always the most important factor. Take a look at the nine criteria below, and the next time you’re scouting for a new CP, you may want to consider placing more emphasis on the eight that come after genre. Click the title above to continue reading.
You’re stuck on a question about how to use a writing device, and off to the Internet/library/bookstore you go. Perhaps you stop after article number one, thinking certainly this must be the definitive answer, because this publishing professional has game to spare. She may well, but still your search should continue. Why? Click the title above to continue reading.
Family and friends are great, but they don’t understand author milestones, nor do they understand what it takes to achieve them. And when we fall, they don’t have the first clue about how to help us up. This is why, authors, we need to stock our author communities. Because when it comes to being an author, family and friends a cheerleading section do not make. Click on the title above to continue reading.