Monthly Archives: March 2011

Get Realistic

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I’m going to discuss dialogue a little further.  I believe a lot of people believe dialogue is easy to write.  I for one don’t think it is.  You are supposed to keep it realistic, but not make it exactly how we talk.  We can’t use all the um’s, that’s, you know, ect.

Writing use to have a formal more formal dialogue.  Now we tend to try to write closer to a natural conversation.  The best way to get a feel for realistic dialogue is listening to someone’s conversation with another person.  Yes, you will have to ease drop, but it could be fun.  The dialogue we write for fiction has to have more umph, focus and relevance to it than a normal conversation, so it is not boring to the reading.  Use contractions whenever possible. We have to get to the point of the conversation much quicker.  Your dialogue needs to show your characters and what emotion

  • Do not use dialogue simply to convey information. Dialogue should set the scene, advance action, give insight into characterization, remind the reader, and foreshadow. Dialogue should always be doing many things at once.
  • Dialogue can have grammatical errors, but you do have to keep the characters voice in mind and keep it readable.  You do not want it to sound as if you are giving a speech, unless that’s what your character is doing.

    Word choice tells a reader a lot about a person: appearance, ethnicity, sexuality, background, and morality. Pick your words carefully because you are conveying lots of information about your character.

  • Todays video is on writing dialogue for plays, but it gives some good advice which can be applied to any genre.  Enjoy
  • http://youtu.be/TZXcQemh8n8

     

    Who’s Doing The Talking

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    Centre for Dialogue Logo

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    Today is Monday and it’s time for “The Blog.”  Today I want to share a little about talking in your writing, otherwise known as “Dialogue”.  In fiction anything which isn’t narration and is in quotes is dialogue.  Dialogue holds your reader’s attention, lets them get to know your characters better.  If you went out on a date and there wasn’t conversation, do you think you would go out on a second date.  I wouldn’t and I don’t suspect you would either.  That conversation is vital in establishing a relationship.  It is the same with fiction writing.

    You can also do the opposite.  What if you went out with someone who talked all the time.  You couldn’t get a word in because the person wouldn’t shut up.  Would you do a repeat of that performance?  Fiction writing requires  a happy medium.  You want your dialogue balanced with your narration.

    You can write about any given moment in a story by two methods:  scene or summary.  Summary is where the action is summarized, or otherwise told to the reader.  Scene writing is where dialogue comes into play (excuse the pun).  Your reader hears the conversation and can see what is happening in their minds eye.  Using dialogue makes the writing stronger.  It makes the writing seems more lifelike and dramatic.

    Dialogue moments of real significance to your story.  Examples

    Dee and Andy walked to the kitchen, flipped the light on before going to the sink to do the dishes.    Dee would do the washing, and Andy would dry the dishes.

    “Hey Andy, are you going to help me with the dishes?”

    “Sure I am, you cooked the dinner.”

    Dee and Andy walked to the kitchen, laughing at the idea of Dee cooking.  She flipped on the light switch, and they headed to the sink.

    “I’ll wash and you can dry, Andy”

    “Sure, not a problem.”

    The dialogue added more to the scene of the story.  It gave it some life, not just a flat sentence.

    We just have to figure out when we want our characters to talk.  When is going to provide the most impact.

    Todays video is on Dialogue.  See you Wednesday.

    Have School Officals Lost Thier Minds?

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    Today I’m taking a short break from writing help.  I want to post about a topic that has blown my mind.  I was reading through a national magazine and found where a thirteen year old female student in Virginia was suspended for having controlled substances in her locker.  Right now your going “Good for them. That will protect the other students from the drugs.” Am I wrong?

    This particular student had a bottle of doctor prescribed antibiotics in her locker.  They were prescribed for her acne.  The school officials determined she had hidden the controlled substance in her locker and place other students in danger and staff at risk.  I’m wondering at this point, where did their brains go?  Have they ever had one.

    There was another Virginia student is in the process of  suspension because of holding a bag of oregano.  I guess the school board can’t tell the difference between herbs and POT.  Has everyone gone insane with this zero tolerance.  This student is an honors student with a very bright future ahead of him.

    If I was a parent in the school system, I would be livid if this happened to my child.  No one uses any common sense anymore.  What about the trauma and heartache to everyone concerned?  I’m not an advocate of law suits but I would seriously think about getting the state’s attention.  Since they don’t appear to use their brains anymore, maybe the justice system can make them see the light.  I’m angry and I don’t even live in the state, it can happen anywhere.  What are your thoughts?

    A simile and Metaphore

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    We use them all the time, but the majority of the time we do not put names to them.  They seem to come automatically when we are writing.  A simile is defined as a figure of speeh where two unlike things are compared.  Usually started with words like, or as. Exp.: She’s unraveling like a ball of yarn

    A metaphor is something  spoken  or written which shows how the object or person resembles something else.  “She is such a party pooper.”  “It’s raining cats and dogs.”

    To help with a simpler understanding since they are so close: A metaphor is an eququation, where a simile is an approximation.  If it makes good sense it is probably a metaphor.

    In writing we are suppose to use non-common semiles and metaphores.  We want our descriptions to be vivid and pull out the readers imagination.  Discriptions have the power to open up the world of your book or close the cover.

    “”Metaphores feel more powerful, but similes are a far suppler instrument.  You can do anything with them–stick them in dialogue, give them to a first person narrator, embed them in news headlines or gossip.  Metaphors lend themselves to a heavier narritive style which may or may not work for your story, depending on its tone. (Writing Fiction by Gotham Writers Workshop)”

    Today’s video is similes and Metaphores in Pop Culture, Enjoy

    http://youtu.be/EQL-wEe03hc

    What’s The Word!

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    Do you know what the word is?  I certainly don’t know myself all the time.  The word is one little part of a whole that we writers put down on paper or screen to say what we want said.  Do we always use the right words?  I don’t because I don’t know them all.

    We all search for the right words to use in our writing.  That one word that will add strength to what we are saying.  I was told that the dictionary or thesaurus, could be my best friend.  The English language as drawn words from other languages such as Latin, French, Spanish and Asian and more.  We do have quite an assortment of words to choose from.

    We use words to describe what we want to say.  So how do we pick the right one? You and I as the writer determine that word or string of words.  I was told to beware of adjectives, and adverbs because it can lead to weak writing.

    She skipped lightly into the large room, swiftly looking about to spot the one thing she wanted from the large ornate desk sitting amidst the shiny mahogany furniture.

    The sentence above is just a bit heavy with adjectives that is not needed.  It can be written so simply by leaving out what is not needed.  She skipped into the large room, looking on the desk for the one thing she wanted.

    We didn’t need all of the words in the first sentence to make a sentence which had a clearer read.  I had more than I needed.

    Nouns and verbs can make a sentence very vibrant without all of the adjectives.  Focus on the best nouns and verbs  the find the modifiers that add to these words.

    “Adjectives and adverbs are helper words, what the grammarians call “Modifiers.”  They help refine the impression cast by your true building blocks, nouns and verbs.  At a writers’ conference a few years ago, a supposedly clever expression was circulating:  Are your verbs working hard enough?  Granted, the expression isn’t all that clever, but it points to a truth.  The stronger your nouns and vers are, the better they can support your carefully chosen modifiers.”

    This is a video by Adora Svidak which pertains to word choices.  Enjoy

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCH3ciUK_X8

    How To Pick A Point of View (POV)

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    The POV for me is fairly daunting.  I seem to favor first person in my writing, but that could be because I’m still fairly new at writing.  The POV chosen affects everything we write.  There are questions to ask yourself before making a final choice on the POV:

    1.  Whose story is this?  Most of the time it belongs to the protagonist.

    2.  What kind of stories do I like to read?  Do you want to read how one person prevailed in the trials and tribulation of whatever they are facing, or do you want someone to tell you everything going on in the story.  The example given by “Writing Fiction” by Gotham Writers Workshop was, Do you like Rocky, or a League of Their Own?

    Sadly, sometimes you will get almost done with your story and determine the voice you used was not working as well as it should.  Then you have to start over with a different point of view.

    Video:  How To Write, Point of view

    I Don’t Know Why!

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    Since last Friday, I’ve had a bad case of “I just can’t write on my blog.”  I don’t even know where it came from.  It wasn’t because I didn’t want to write, because I finished book one of “The Dobyns Chronicles.” Now I start the heavy editing, before I have it professionally edited.  I also did my homework for my Gotham Fiction Writing class.  I also read two books.

    Why is it I couldn’t sit at this computer and type my blog, when I was doing everything else?  Well, today is a new beginning, and I’m going to post three times a week instead of trying daily.  I opted for the daily blog challenge at the beginning of the year and fell off the wagon fairly quickly.  I want to blog because I have information to share, not because it was a New Year’s resolution.  Tune in on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays and see what I come up with.  Blessings to all, espically those poor people in Japan.  Oh yes, Happy Saint Patrick‘s Day.  May your home be filled with laughter, May your pockets be filled with gold, and may you have all the happiness your heart can hold.

    Irish Blessing unknow author……

    What Is Your POV II?

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    This blog continues the blog I started yesterday on POV in your writing.  I discussed the POV of “First Person.”  I am going to the store next to the house where I grew up.  It’s all about the main character who is doing the talking.  Today we are going to do the Third Person POV (point of view).

    Just as with the first person POV, the third person POV divides into several types.

    1.  Third Person: Single Vision

    2.  Third Person:  Multiple Vision

    3.  Third Person:  Omniscient

    4.  Third Person: Objective

    Third Person, Single Vision is not told by a character in the story.  It is a voice which is created by the writer and the reader hears what is coming from his mind.

    Example: “He walked across the street, while is wife sat in the car.”

    Using third person single vision lets the writer use language which may not be appropriate speech for the character being talked about.  Example would be if your main character were a deaf-mute person.

    POV character is the character who’s POV is being recognized by the author.*The point of view character must be present for everything that takes place in the story, just as with a first-person narrator.  If your POVcharacter overhears a conversation, he/she may report that to the reader.  If the conversation takes place in a health-food store across town, the discussion is off-limits.

    Third person: Multiple vision allows are writer to show a story’s events from different angles.  You must have the room in your writing to use this POV.  It’s most used in Novellas and Novels because they have the space to have multiple visions.  You may have a story with four characters each giving their own version of the story.  Using this type of POV can cause your reader not to be as focused on the story as with a single POV.

    Third Person:  Omniscient  The writer is all-knowing, they know everything going on with the story and their characters.  The writer can enter the mind of any or all of the characters.  This is the POV which gives you the greatest freedom.  This POV can seem impersonal to the reader.  It can be overwhelming to the writer.  If you have four characters in a story you have to pay attention to each one of them because you know everything.

    Third Person: Objective .   This POV is the hardest, I think, because you don’t have access to anyone’s mind.  You have to narrate in the third person of background, characterization, conflict theme and so forth through dialogue and action.  “It is giving the facts, and only the facts, ma’am.”

    Video: Writing in Third Person

    http://youtu.be/dwH62_5sXMo

     

    What Is Your POV?

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    This is my downfall in the world of writing.  Maybe I should have said, one of my downfalls.  POV or point of view, has been such a headache to me.  I have  people review my writing and they can immediately tell me the where and when I have changed POV in the story.  Poor pitiful me, I am such a failure, NOT!!!

    The point of view you choose for your story will affect the way your readers respond to your characters and actions.  The tone and theme of your story is also affected by the POV.

    To determine your point of view, you may ask yourself the following questions.

    1.  Who will be speaking:  the narrator or the character?

    2.  Whose eyes are seeing the events of the story happen?

    3.  Whose thoughts do the reader have access to?

    4.  From what distance are the events being viewed?

     

    The first person POV is a story narrated by the character in the story.  Usually it is the main character or the protagonist.  The story is from the I point of view.  I went, I saw, I felt, so forth.  The reader gets into the story through the narrators eye’s, touch, smell, action.  You write in the voice, words and tone of your character.

    An example of first person POV:  I had to find out where Sam was headed, so I hid behind the shrubs next to the house.  I thought Sam would head for his car, but he fooled me.  He took off, on foot, heading south towards the graveyard.

    You may also use three other first person POV’s: (1. Multiple vision, which lets multiple narrators tell the story.  (2. Peripheral would be having another character tell the story.  (3.  The unreliable first person is a person telling the story, has all the facts, but can’t be trusted.  It might be a schizophrenic, or a compulsive liar.

    I am going to be dividing POV into parts to make it a little easier to digest.  I am posting a video on writing in first person.  Content is good, but the speaker doesn’t speak well, um, you know, um.  I like it, um, but, um, you um, will have to um look over um her bad speaking um. 🙂     http://youtu.be/ydlOjhkgr74

     

    Plotting for the Protagonist

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    Plotting does seem to be for your main character.  Your plot is based around what your protagonist wants.  His/her needs, dreams, obstacles, feelings, any thing that affects your protagonist can contribute to your plot.

    The plot has three main parts;  The beginning, the middle and the end.  The  structure of a plot hasn’t changed for a couple thousand years.  Each section of the plot has its own role in the telling of a story.

    The beginning of your story has to produce three things: 1.) The reader must be in the middle of action 2.) It has to establish the background information, and 3.) establish the major dramatic question.

    The major dramatic question is one which can be answered by the end of the story.  “Does the three little pigs escape from the big bad wolf?”  “Does Harry Potter kill Valdamort?”  “Does Sleeping Beauty wake up?”.  As you can see from my examples, it is the question that will drive your story telling.

    The middle section of the plot take most of the space, because it is where you expand your story.  The characters grow, and where most of the problems arise for your protagonist. The middle is also where the core action takes place and your struggles grow.

    The final section is the end section.  This is the section where everything comes together. ** “The end generally follows a pattern that could be called the three C”s”–Crisis, climax and consequences.  The crisis is the point where tension hits its maximum, and the climax is where the tension breaks and where we get the answer to our major dramatic question.  Then, the consequences , are alluded to at the very end of the piece.”

    Enjoy the video for today from Anne Rice: Developing Plot  http://youtu.be/xJX8uX_mjwM

     

    ** Writing Fiction by Gotham Writers Workshop