Are You Botching Your Dialogue?

Today we are going to talk about dialogue. Everyone thinks they are great at it, and many would be wrong. Dialogue really is a lot tricker than it might seem. Great dialogue is one of the most vita…

Source: Are You Botching Your Dialogue?


9 Ways to Improve Your Dialogue

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Image courtesy of Flikr Creative Commons

Sorry to be away so long. Been a weird couple of weeks getting Spawn ready for the BIG K—Kindergarten. Uniforms and doctors and immunizations and vision/hearing tests (and yes, apparently he CAN hear, he is just ignoring us). I am still unaccustomed to so much quiet. For those who are curious, YES I was going to homeschool, but we found a super cool private school where he is in a class of TEN and he loves it. He was getting lonely and kept asking to go to school so he could be with other kids, so I figured we’d give it a shot. So far so good.

He is now Spawn, The Most Interesting Kid in the World….

The Most Interesting Kid in the World...

Back to writing…

Today we are going to talk about a subject that I don’t think I have ever blogged about. Dialogue. Great dialogue is one of the most vital components of…

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Writing Feedback, Critiques, and Criticism


???????????????Writing feedback. I have a love/ hate/ love/ love/ hate/ appreciate/ dread relationship with it. I imagine most writers do.

Of course we dread it. Which artist wants to pour their heart and soul and energy into their creative work and then have someone tear it to pieces? Even though I know– a thousand times over– that my editor is on my team, I still have major moments of panic when I read her feedback.

Yet the love/appreciate part is very, very important. Without critique, my writing hits an early apex. I can’t push through to a higher, better, superior level of writing without the much-needed push from feedback.

This is what feedback looks like in my own life:

Writing group. Every month, I meet with three other novelists. Each of us are working on our own projects, and they’re all very different from one another. The week before we meet, we…

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You Might Be a Writer If…

Kristen Lamb's Blog

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A lot of “stuff” has been going on in my life lately. Hard stuff. Heavy stuff. The kind of stuff that just makes me want to write massacre scenes….except I am so brain dead I had to google how to spell “massacre.”

Masicker? Missucker?

WHAT AM I DOING???? *breaks down sobbing*

I am supposed to be an adult an expert okay, maybe functionally literate. Fine, I give up! I have nothing left to saaaaayyyyyy. I am all out of woooords *builds pillow fort*.

I figured it’s time for a bit of levity. Heck, I need a good laugh. How about you guys?

We writers are different *eye twitches* for sure, but the world would be SO boring without us. Am I the only person who watches Discovery ID and critiques the killers?

You are putting the body THERE? Do you just WANT to go to prison? Why did you STAB…

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6 tips for using beta readers

Monique Hall

Before I had finished the third draft of my manuscript, I kept it from view in much the same way a vampire would shy away from the sun. Whenever someone would walk into the room, there would be a lot of hissing and flailing of arms attempting to protect the work in its infancy.

There came a time though, when I knew I needed fresh eyes on it. I knew the book wasn’t perfect, far from it. But I was at my wit’s end at figuring out how to make it so and, quite frankly, I was sick of looking at it.

Handing my manuscript over to my beta readers was not as daunting as I expected. I’ll admit, the first time I hit ‘send’ there were a few deep breaths and a bit of nail biting, but then it was a matter of sitting back and waiting for the feedback.

Image source Image source


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Running and Revisions

I hate mornings. Like, in an I-want-to-stab-the-sun kind of way.


I’m lured out of bed by the thought of warm coffee—well, that and the incessant tugging from my 3-year-old who’s gleefully gotten up at six a.m.

Oh child, someday you’ll appreciate sleep.

The only thing I loathe more than mornings is running. On a treadmill. To Nowhereville. Seriously. Who invented this crap?


But I step on the treadmill anyway because I have a drive to keep my lungs from collapsing when I’m on the soccer field. Yes, you read that right. I hate running, but I love soccer.

Stay with me, I have a point.


I don’t feel like I’m exercising when I play sports. It’s just me and a bunch of friends chasing a ball around a grassy field—or turf if I’m playing indoors—all the while trying to boot it into a net so we can claim victory and go home with our chins held high. Maybe even have a beer or two.


You don’t get that on a treadmill. There’s nobody waiting to high five you when the belt stops turning. But without the treadmill, I’d be worthless on the soccer field. This morning, in between thoughts of how much I hate running in place, I had an epiphany. Treadmills and soccer are a lot like writing.

Trust me (again), I have a point.


While I’ve come to appreciate revisions, it’s hard work, and it’s not as fun as the creative flow that comes with blasting words onto a page. That’s soccer. That’s the side of my brain that thinks of writing as going full speed, wind slapping me in the face, hands held high like I’m going to hug the sun (because the big hot ball in the sky and I are friends as long as I’m on the soccer field).


I’ll show up early for a soccer game, whereas I have to force myself to put on my running shoes.




But I do it. I do it because it makes me better on the field. Just like revisions make me a better writer. Don’t get me wrong. Some days—when I didn’t stay up typing away or binging on episodes of Orange is the New Black—I enjoy climbing on the treadmill and pounding out a couple miles. I always, always feel great when the workout’s done. My mind is charged. Ready. Refreshed. Every tenth of a mile is like editing a chapter of a novel. Bit by bit. Word by word.


It’s worth it. It just takes self-motivation. Lots of it. And, just like revisions, when I run I have to dig a little deeper, push myself a little harder than I would have to on the field—and have faith that if I put the effort in, the results will show.

How to turn a Complex Story into a Simple Synopsis

Drew Chial

1. Profile A lot things go into telling a simple story

My least favorite type of writing has always been summarizing. Whether I was pitching a screenplay or a synopsis for a book, I got too concerned about what producers and publishers were looking for. I hated whatever I put on paper. It felt like I was cutting out the tastiest parts to make it palatable, misrepresenting the material by packaging it for mass appeal.

When my screenwriting professor videotaped the pitch for my first script, I ranted for twenty minutes. This was no elevator pitch. The lift for the tallest building in the world doesn’t take that long to get to the top. I had to lower my time to two minutes or less.

Since then I’ve learned the memorization techniques I needed to keep myself on task and how to select the parts of my story that were worth focusing…

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Age Group and Genre: Targeting Your Manuscript


By Joyce Audy Zarins

Are you certain you know who you are writing for and what species of story you’ve concocted? These two significant pieces of information must be at the top right of each manuscript when you submit, and while you can label the story with your best guess for its age range and genre, you don’t really want a publishing professional to go into snark mode if you guessed wrong, when they read your manuscript sample.


I’ve recently wrestled with whether a novel of mine is actually YA, as I intended. A knowledgeable author friend felt that the novel is definitely Adult because of some events that occur in the story. Or could it perhaps be New Adult? My critique group buddies, who have each read the manuscript, feel it is appropriate for ages 14 or 15 and up, back in YA territory. Hmm. Some decisions to be…

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10 Great Writing Tips, in Quotes

Carly Watters, Literary Agent Blog

typeEveryone’s looking for the “rules” of getting published. I try to share some wisdom on my blog, but who am I kidding? There are no rules. However, here are some guidelines (in quote form!) for aspiring writers…

10 Great Writing Tips, in Quotes:

1. What works for other writers doesn’t have to work for you. It’s okay to make your own rules. And, what works for other writers often won’t work for you so it’s best not to compare your writing or your style to anyone else.

“Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle” — Jon Acuff

2. You don’t have to write every day. In fact, it’s perfectly okay to avoid burn out and take a day off. It doesn’t mean you’re not a writer.

“Hard scheduling rules — write every day! work on research for one hour each morning! exercise 10 hours a week! — deployed in isolation will lead to…

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Novel Fridays: Opening the Drawer

Tate Street

150102 Novel Fridays Banner

Greetings, novelists! I hope you’ve had productive weeks.

As February comes to an end, we find ourselves three months out from the conclusion of NaNoWriMo. Now, it’s quite possible that you’re still working on your NaNo project–November 30 was simply a milestone for you and nothing more. Or, wherever you were in your manuscript when December rolled around, you decided to take a hiatus. You might still be on that hiatus.

After all, going back to a draft is something of a strange process. And it’s something we all have to in the course of writing novels. Effective revision is incredibly difficult without some distance from your work and the best way to create that distance is simply to put it away and think about something else for a while. Eventually, however, you’ll need to open that drawer again.

Hopefully returning to your draft feels like this. Ideally, returning to your novel feels like this.

Rereading your draft

In On Writing

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