Today's tip: Fancy up your cards
Always use both sides of our business cards and always do them in some kind of color. (Low-medium cost depending on design)
- Published - Use both sides of your business card - use the front for your information, and use the back to list your book title(s), blurbs, how to buy book, etc
- Pre-published - You can do the same. Use the front for your information and the back for the book you are trying to sell along with your 2-3 sentence elevator speech. It may catch an editor or agents eye.
7) See How it Sounds -
- Dialogue must be compressed and more focused than real dialogue.
- use more contractions.
- two sentences can be strung together with a comma instead of period. Most real people do not pause between sentences. (do not overuse).
- dialogue is excellent to get facts across.
- weed out fancy words - instead of "have you considered the consequences?", how about "have you thought about what might happen?"
- have characters answer unspoken questions, talk at cross purposes, have them hedge or disagree.
- good dialogue must mimic real speech so it sounds real.
- read your dialogue out loud with someone - be alert for anything you naturally change or say that is not written. Even non verbals.
- Don't not use trick spellings or lexical gimmicks. Occasional different spelling is OK but don't use it too often.
- best way to show dialect or speech is through word choice, cadence and grammar.
8) Interior Monologue -
- don't use too much - it can interrupt the scene. Focus on beats.
- be sure you do not reiterate what is already in scene.
- make sure it is not explaining dialogue.
- show what you can't show in dialogue.
- ask yourself - how important are these feelings to the story?
- never use quotes and you don't need italics.
- rarely a good idea to mumble or speak under breath unless it is specific to your character.
- if monologue is long, set off in a separate paragraph.
9) Easy beats
- internal monologue is considered a beat.
- physical actions can be beats.
- allows you to vary pace of dialogue
- don't describe actions in too much detail unless it is critical to story. Assume your readers can fill in the steps you skip.
- # of beats depends on rhythm of dialogue.
- only describe things that really matter.
- higher tension - fewer beats; lower tension/breaks - more beats.
- beats show change in emotion - when character has a change of feeling or realization
- read aloud for natural flow. Listen for the natural pauses - that is where you can add a beat.
- write fresh beats to cliches. Change up cliches.
- Watch your friends as they are talking for non verbals
10) Breaking it up
- watch lengths of paragraphs. never longer than 1/2 of a page.
- You want some white space
- longer paragraphs - create a slower pace; shorter paragraphs create more tension.
- All chapters do not have to be the same length.
- brief scenes or chapters create tension.
- IN real life - few of us get a string of sentences off without any interruption. Look for long paragraphs of dialogue and break it up.
11) Once is enough!
- be sure you are not repealing feelings or actions too often.
- watch for echos - words repeated in a paragraph should be altered for variety. repeated phrases in a chapter should be altered.
- don't use brand names often - mention once and then use generic.
- be on lookout for repetition on a larger scale as well. -
- Writing 2 or more chapters that offer the same thing - consider combining them or distinguishing them.
- When you have characters that accomplish the same thing - consider combining them or distinguishing them.
- Watch repetitive effects (throwing up, rolling eyes etc)
- Do not crate stereotypical characters- find a way to change them.
- watch repetition from book to book. Be sure the plot shifts and different characters are not really just the same one repeated with a different name.
- Watch "stylistic constructions" beginning with as or ing word. Pulling off her gloves, she turned to face him. OR As she pulled off her gloves, she turned to face him.
- Only use these if you need the actions to happen at the same time and if they physically happen at the same time.
- Look for cliches - life in the fast lane - change them up or replace them with something different.
- Watch for characterization cliches - nerd with pocket pen etc
- Look for ly adverbs.
- You can depart from conventional comma usage in dialogue. It may convey how the speech really sounds.
- do not need emphasis quotes
- use exclamation points when someone is yelling.
- Do not use italics for emphasis - show emphasis in dialogue and rhythm.
- Watch out for flowery or poetic speech unless it is part of your character trait.Be sure character speaks as they really would.
- Subtle approaches invokes reader imagination. Leave some physical details to the reader.
- Literary style is different from voice - they are not interchangeable. You can have one and not the other.
- Watch out for too many sentences in a row with same structure. Diminishes voice - no one talks that way.
- If you capture a state of mind poetically - be sure it captures a turning point or key state of mind in character development
- Most characters do not have a "descriptive" speech naturally
- Watch for vagueness (generic) descriptions - man ordered drink vs dwarf ordered a vodka
- If a passage seems obvious - check for explanation (narration or dialogue) or rewrite
- If passage seems strained - read it aloud for any minor changes you can make.
That's it - I learned a ton. You may find some things are not as problematic to you as others.
Go through your book and highlight each one in a different color. Sweep through for each problem to see if it needs to be addressed.