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242 Posts tagged with the author tag
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Each time I complete a novel (I just finished my sixth), I read it over from the beginning. I always find myself making tweaks to the dialogue, especially in the earlier chapters. I do so because the characters have clearly evolved, and some of the early lines I gave them no longer "fit" their personalities.

 

For example, as my latest book progressed, one of the characters revealed a witty side. I hadn't planned this from the onset, but it worked, so I went with it. When I initially introduced him, however, he was more straight-laced, so as I read the manuscript from page one, his early comments fell a bit flat - which made him feel a bit flat. I went back and fixed it, which reinforced a valuable lesson for me: Dialogue doesn't necessarily impact the plot, but it impacts character development, which is just as important.

 

I remember seeing a movie version of a popular TV series and feeling disappointed because the dialogue was so different than what I was used to. "She wouldn't say that," I remember thinking over and over. "That just doesn't sound like him." I walked out of the theater that day convinced that the producers had brought in new writers for the film - and I felt a bit cheated as a result.

 

Good stories do a wonderful job of creating characters who are like real people to the audience, and that's what you want to do with your manuscript. So when you're finished, go back and read that dialogue with fresh eyes. Do you think it rings true throughout for each of your characters? If it doesn't, change it! That's the fun thing about being the author - it's all up to you.

 

-Maria

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor. She is the award-winning author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper, It's a Waverly Life and Honey on Your Mind. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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Use Adverbs Sparingly, Especially in Dialogue

Character and Action

3,463 Views 1 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: author, self-publishing, writing, craft, dialogue
2

We authors are not normally known for our ability to stand before a crowd and share our creative works publicly. A lot of us enjoy the relative safety of working in seclusion and not having to see the faces and witness the reactions of readers as they take in our beloved prose for the first time. Doing a public reading can be both terrifying and liberating, and if you ever get the chance to do it, I highly recommend it.

 

I'm not suggesting you throw down a sturdy crate in a public park, climb atop it, and start reading pages to passersby (although, I have nothing against it if it's something you want to try), but I am suggesting you can find venues in your nearby cities that are perfect settings for readings. In fact, you may find a calendar of events in your local paper that includes an open mic night in town. If not, start calling around to see if you can organize such an event.

 

I would begin with locally owned businesses first. The owners are members of the community, and they will likely be more open to supporting the arts. A natural fit for readings by local authors? Coffee shops, of course. If that turns out to be a dead end, try a restaurant with a bar that may be looking for ways to get customers in the door after dinner hours. You may even try a neighborhood community center that has open classrooms on weekends, or of course, your local library.

 

If you're putting a reading together, be clear on your book's subject. Reiterate any disclaimers to the crowd before the first reading. You don't want attendees to be caught off guard by your material and you don't want to be in a situation where you're reading for the "wrong" audience.

 

Once it's organized, promote, promote, promote. Take to social media, contact local writers' groups, and announce it on your blog. Get the word out, and have a blast.

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Coffee And Books

How to Make a Personal Appearance a Success

3,887 Views 2 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: author, self-publishing, writers, promotions
2

Making it in publishing (indie or otherwise) is hard - hard in the same way it is to sail a boat without wind. It's a beautiful calm day on the water, and you're surrounded by breathtaking scenery. Schools of fish swim just below the glassy surface, birds soar overhead in a bright blue sky...yet all you can concentrate on is the fact that you're aimlessly drifting. 

 

So, when should you give up? When is enough enough? Tell me if this sounds familiar: You did your part. You wrote the best possible book you could write. You've blogged about it. You've taken to social media and done everything you can to get your friends and followers to help you spread the word. You've done personal videos. You may have even spent some money on advertising. But still the wind hasn't picked up. 

 

Don't give up on the wind; just stop waiting for it. You can still appreciate the scenery; that is to say, keep enjoying the writing. Here's the thing: as much as we hate to acknowledge it, drifting is moving. You put yourself in the water. You hoisted your sails. You are prepared for the wind. The longer you're on the water, the greater the chance you'll catch the wind and skirt over the waves. 

 

Writing keeps you on the water with your sails up. Keep at it. Appreciate it. Instead of focusing on what you haven't achieved, focus on how far you've come, what you've learned, the stories you have yet to write. A strong gust is bound to come along, and until then, there's too much else that deserves your attention.  

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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That Wise Old Doubt

How to Get Through the First Draft

1,602 Views 2 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, author, promotion, sales, promotions, self-doubt, marketing_strategy
1

It's Too Much!

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Nov 11, 2013

Recently, I wrote a blog post asking you if you're doing enough to market your book. The idea came from conversations I've had with authors over the years about their frustration over not selling enough books. Delving deeper into their complaint, I would invariably discover that they weren't doing much in the way of marketing.

 

Our discussion would then turn to what most successful authors are doing. The most common responses I would get were shocked utterances of "Really?" or various groans and sighs. When our conversation ended, and we went our separate ways, I sometimes wondered if I did the new author a disservice. Instead of running out and starting a blog, storming the social media sites, cranking out personal videos and adopting various other marketing strategies used by authors, I imagine a good number of them were too overwhelmed to do anything. My information dump buried them under a pile of unfamiliar and daunting self-promotional tasks.

 

If the thought of doing it all prevents you from doing anything, don't do it all. Just do one or two things. I understand that there isn't enough time in the day to write, work, promote and live for most people. There has to be some give somewhere. Prioritize how you see fit. It's your journey. You'll likely be even more effective with your book marketing if you devote all of your attention to the things you're really good at rather than splitting your time and effort across many promotional areas.

 

It's more important that you do something instead of doing nothing. Even if you decide to do nothing, no one will revoke your privilege to publish. So if you start to feel overwhelmed, adjust your expectations and just do what you can.

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Book Marketing: Have You Tapped Your Network?

Looking for Marketing Tips? Here's What's Working for One Indie Author - and What Isn't

2,905 Views 1 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, author, promotion
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Goodreads is a smart (and free) way for authors to reach avid readers. With 20 million members, 570 million books, and 24 million reviews, it is now the world's largest site for readers and book recommendations. Here are a few tips for how to use it:

 

  1. Create an author profile and include your book title(s), bio, headshot, website, Twitter handle, blog, etc.
  2. Run a giveaway. Giveaways are free to list and drive awareness of your book. You can run as many giveaways as you like for however many copies you want to provide. Even if winners don't post a review, they will likely add your book to their "To-Read" shelf, which will provide exposure for your book.
  3. Add the Goodreads widget to your website to let people know they can post reviews of your work there. Just like with Twitter and Facebook, you want to let readers know where to find you. Goodreads provides a variety of widgets to help you promote your books.
  4. Join groups and talk about books (not just your own). Goodreads members like to talk about what they're reading, and you can tap into that discussion by joining groups that interest you. Avoid excessive self-promotion, but feel free to express your opinion!
  5. Create an event and invite your friends and followers. You can create all kinds of events, including book signings, online chats, cover reveals, and book launches.
  6. Use your blog and the "status update" feature to keep fans informed about your books. You can import your blog from Blogger, Wordpress, Tumblr, or other blogging platforms.

 

Bonus advice: As I discussed in a previous post, I don't recommend commenting on reviews, especially negative ones. Bad reviews can actually improve the perception of your work, as it shows that real, unbiased people are reading it. Resist the temptation to dispute a poor review, but do flag it if it violates the Goodreads terms of service.

 

-Maria

 

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor. She is the award-winning author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper, It's a Waverly Life and Honey on Your Mind. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

 

 

 

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Watch for Errors in Marketing Materials

Tips for Promoting Your Book on Twitter

10,887 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, author, promotion, promotions, social_networking, social_media, marketing_strategy
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Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

How to Write a Good Book in 30 Days -The Book Designer

It's time to get down to business with the fast and furious prose.       

                                                    

Social Media for Authors: How to Make the Juggling Act a Little Easier -The BookBaby Blog

Remove all those moving parts from your social media strategy to make it more manageable.

 

Film

                                                        

3 New Skills Every Digital Editor Should Develop - Filmmaking.net

A web 2.0 world requires even veteran editors to learn new skills.

                                          

10 Zero-Budget Filmmaking Tips - Filmmaker IQ

If you can limit the number of locations in your film, you can greatly reduce your budget.

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

5 Practice Tips to Improve Your Musical Skill - The Big Picture Music Production Blog

Do you have set goals when you practice?

 

Common Mistakes Producers/Engineers Make That Sabotage Singers -Judy Rodman

Something as simple as microphone placement can affect a singer's voice.

 

-Richard                                                                                

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Weekly News Roundup - October 25, 2013

Weekly News Roundup - October 18, 2013

1,170 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, music, filmmaking, budget, author, promotion, writers, writing, films, musicians, filmmakers, social_media, singers
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Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

How to Grab, Delight or Shock Your Readers Right from the Start -The Book Deal

We're going to need a bigger hook.

                                       

Book Marketing 101: Sell the Benefits NOT the Product -Self Publishing Coach

A rather unusual take on how to sell a book.

 

Film

                                                        

How to Make Your Horror Screenplay More Effective - No Film School

'Tis the season to get your horror thinking cap on!

 

6 Filmmaking Tips from Ron Howard - Film School Rejects

You can learn a lot from a man with a catalog of blockbuster hits like Ron Howard.

                                    

Music

 

What Does a Music Producer Even Do? - Musicgoat.com

A great explanation of a music producer's role.

 

How to Warm Up Your Singing Voice -RouteNote Blog

A video tutorial featuring opera singer Danielle de Niese.

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Weekly News Roundup - October 18, 2013

Weekly News Roundup - October 11, 2013

 

2,068 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, marketing, selling, music, filmmaking, author, movies, writers, writing, fiction, musicians, screenwriting, filmmakers, branding, social_media, music_production
1

November is fast approaching, and that means it's time for National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo is an annual creative writing event that challenges authors to write a 50,000-word novel in a single month. Last year more than 350,000 authors participated. Are you going to be one of them this year? I asked Grant Faulkner, executive director of the nonprofit organization, for some tips on how to complete 50,000 words in just 30 days, and here's what he had to say:


  1. Go on a time hunt: A lot of people say they just don't have the time to write a novel in a month, but most of us have more time than we think. Toni Morrison was a single, working parent before she was a novelist. After putting her kids to bed, she'd write for 15 minutes each day, even if she was tired, and that was how she completed her first book. Before November, track what you do on a typical day. Figure out what you can give up in order to find the time to write. Cut out TV? Wake up an hour earlier or stay up an hour later? Write during lunch? Write on the subway? All of the above? You have more time than you think. And what will you remember more later in life - the TV shows you watched in November 2013 or the novel you wrote?
  2. Build accountability: You can build accountability by signing a blood pact with yourself. Or you can adopt a more effective strategy: risk public shaming. Tell your friends and family that you're writing a novel in November. Post your word counts on Facebook and Twitter. You don't want to see people in December and face their questions about your novel if you gave up.
  3. Simplify your life: You're going to have to say no to things in order to accomplish any grand task. You might have to skip that weekend getaway or Saturday night party to hit your word count. Or you might have to order takeout sometimes. Remember: there's plenty of time to clean your house in December.
  4. Reward yourself for milestones: NaNoWriMo might be an endurance test, but it's also a writing party. Figure out a reward for each 10,000 words you complete. It could be as simple as dancing to your favorite YouTube video. Some treat themselves to banana splits. Others have gotten tattoos. One man bought a boa constrictor. Whatever works for you.
  5. Show up: No explanation needed. You might miss one day of writing, but try not to miss two. Remember what Woody Allen said: "90 percent of success is just showing up."
  6. Write with others: Writing doesn't have to be a solitary, toilsome affair. NaNoWriMo has volunteers in more than 500 regions around the world who organize local writing events. Finding a community of encouraging support does wonders for any creative enterprise. Find more about the goings-on in your region on the NaNoWriMo site.


Thanks to Grant for his thoughtful suggestions. If you need some extra motivation to write that book, there's no better time than NaNoWriMo. Will you be taking the challenge this year?


-Maria

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor. She is the award-winning author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper, It's a Waverly Life and Honey on Your Mind. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.


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Block Out the Distance & Enjoy the Journey

Writing Takes Discipline

3,635 Views 1 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writing, nanowrimo, national_novel_writing_month
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After speaking at a conference a few weeks ago, I met an author who had done something quite smart to promote his novel: He created a bookmark about it. The front had the cover, title and his name, and the back included a brief plot description, the author's email address and website, and where to buy the book.

 

The bookmark included a lot of great information, and overall it looked very professional. Unfortunately, it also included a grammatical error that jumped out at me and overshadowed everything else. The error also caught the trained eye of a fellow panelist who works in the publishing industry. (For those who are curious, the author had mixed up "lay" and "lie," an oft-confused word pair addressed here.)

 

By not catching this error before his marketing materials went to print, the author inadvertently gave the impression that he doesn't focus heavily on grammar and editing, a trait that could carry over into his book. That is probably the furthest thing from the truth, but in marketing, perception is often reality. Catching grammatical errors or typos before producing marketing materials will not only ensure you create a positive impression, but it can save you the time and monetary costs of a reprint.

 

Try to learn from this author's mistake. When you're putting together materials for promoting your work, be sure to get multiple sets of eyes on them to make sure they are perfect before pulling the trigger. To be on the safe side, you may even want to get your editor to read over your text. You only get one chance to make a first impression, so you want it to be your best.

 

-Maria

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor. She is the award-winning author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper, It's a Waverly Life and Honey on Your Mind. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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Why Good Grammar Matters

Everyone Needs an Editor!

5,212 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, author, promotions
2

I remember the moment I decided I could write a novel. I had written a few screenplays and had some mild interest here and there from production companies, but nothing worth going into detail about. I thought I had hit the writing wall. I had no place to go with something that I was sure would be nothing more than a hobby. I had hammered out one novel, too, but it was an unmitigated mess.

 

Then, in 1998, I picked up Bag of Bones by Stephen King. I was amazed by the writing, not because it was high-minded or dense or difficult, but because it was simple, yet utterly compelling. To me, it bordered on being magical. That book convinced me that I could write a novel. So, within days of finishing Bag of Bones, I started crafting my second book. It wasn't anywhere near the quality of Mr. King's work, but I felt I had learned something from him. I kept it simple, and I just told a story.

 

Since that day, I've been influenced by books like The Road by Cormac McCarthy, The Plot Against America by Philip Roth, God's Little Acre by Erskine Caldwell and so on. I've learned something about writing from all of these books, including character development and structuring dialogue. But by far, Bag of Bones is the seminal book that turned me into a novelist because it demystified the structure of a novel and made it far less scary - which is ironic considering it was a Stephen King novel.

 

How about you? What book moved you to try your hand at novel writing? What elements of the book inspired you to take the leap?

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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How to be a Confident Writer

Enjoy What You Write

2,777 Views 2 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writing, craft
4

Who do you write for? When you sit down at your computer or pull out your notepad to jot down ideas, plots, character traits, etc., who are you focusing on? Is it your readers, your critics, your mom, your spouse? 

 

Personally, I write for no one. That's not to say there aren't people I don't want to please or impress. There are a slew of folks who have even inspired me as a writer, but when it comes to putting ideas into action, I don't conjure them up mentally to etch out my story.

 

I understand that writing for someone can give you the motivation to see a book through, but if you write with someone in mind, you may struggle to avoid censoring yourself. Sometimes, even in uplifting stories, it's necessary to dip into the dark crevasses of creativity and put characters in situations that are ugly and unseemly. I find it hard to go to those dark places if I'm writing for a particular person or persons. 

 

You will be much better off dedicating a book to someone after you've thought through the entire story, when you've already visited the seedy places in your mind that aren't exactly welcoming or enriching, and when you've written a book that in its entirety is a solid story filled with three-dimensional characters and twists and turns that drive it to completion.

 

Free yourself from the constraints of external influences. While you're in the throes of writing, do it with a reckless abandon that allows you to expand your vision and see things from a deeply rooted creative perspective. Don't write for anyone except the characters in your story.  

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

 

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Keep Them Guessing to Keep Them Reading

Write without Judgment

2,311 Views 4 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, author, writers, readers, writing, craft, audience, target_audience
0

I recently had the pleasure of meeting the charismatic Bella Andre, New York Times best-selling author of the Sullivan series. I asked if she'd answer a few questions about writing a series, and she graciously agreed. Here's what she had to say:

 

1. What are the pros and cons of writing a series?

 

I've always been a big fan of reading connected series - it's so much fun to look forward to reading the next book! So when I started self-publishing, I knew I was going to focus on writing connected books. What I've learned in the past few years is that readers LOVE them. At this point, I will only write connected series in the future - not just because it's much more lucrative, but because readers enjoy them so much.


Pros:

  • Automatic readership for each book in the series.
  • Readers really get to know and fall in love with the "world" you're creating in your series. For me that world is usually a big family or a professional sports team (Game for Love is book 3 in my Bad Boys of Football series).
  • There are always future characters to look forward to writing about, and you can dream them up far in advance of writing them.

 

Cons:

  • You'll need to start a "series bible" to keep track of storylines and details, because once you've written more than a handful of books in the series, there is a lot to remember for future books.

 

2. What should an author know before writing a series?

 

Be careful about saying too much about future characters in your books. It can be easy to write yourself into a corner otherwise. And as I mentioned, start keeping that "series bible" from the beginning.

 

3. What have you learned from writing a series?

 

I've learned they are REALLY fun to create. I fall just as in love with the families I'm writing about as my readers do. They're also incredibly lucrative. Every time I put a new book out in the series, I find new readers who then go back to start the series with the first book and read everything in between.

 

Many thanks to Bella for sharing her hard-earned expertise. You can learn more about Bella and all her novels at www.bellaandre.com. Watch for future posts featuring writing and marketing tips from other bestselling authors in the coming weeks.

 

-Maria

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor. She is the award-winning author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper, It's a Waverly Life and Honey on Your Mind. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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Plotting a Book Series

The Power of Multiple Titles

2,173 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writers, craft, bella_andre
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Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

4 Reasons You Need a Business Plan for Your Book - Writer's Digest

Embrace the entrepreneur inside of you.

 

The Secret to Writing Faster -Backspace

Could the secret to writing faster be ditching technology?

 

Film

 

5 Tips for Creating Your Own Film or Series - backstage

It takes a team to make a film.

 

Joss Whedon on Filmmaking - BAFTA - Filmmaker IQ

From Buffy to The Avengers, Joss Whedon has proven he knows his stuff.

                                    

Music

 

3 Surprising Reasons House Concerts Are Great For Selling Merch and Making New Fans - Musicgoat

It might be time to invite a few hundred of your closest friends over and have a party.

 

Busy Voices: Quick Tabata Exercise for Physical Stamina -Judy Rodman

One must exercise the entire body to keep one's voice physically fit.

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Weekly News Roundup - September 20, 2013

Weekly News Roundup - September 13, 2013

2,423 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, marketing, selling, book, music, filmmaking, film, author, movies, writers, writing, musicians, craft, filmmakers, branding, social_media
1

Good dialogue has a rhythm to it. As you read it, you can feel its flow. You can imagine the stops and starts, the highs and lows, the tonality and the emotion - and you can sense it all without the author telling you when the speaker is mad or happy or tired. All of that is in the rhythm of the dialogue.

 

In order to create that kind of rhythm, character development is of paramount importance. If you've put in the work of creating multidimensional characters and you've given the reader a real sense of what drives a character at any given moment, the reader will take that information, apply it to the dialogue and extrapolate the rhythm. 

 

Stephen King advises against the liberal use of "ly" words (adverbs). He feels that it shows timid writing that suggests an author lacks confidence in his or her own ability. Very often, these adverbs appear either before or after a line of dialogue. 

 

"Give me the money,"John said angrily. 

 

Jane cleared her throat and said nervously, "I don't have the money." 

 

Neither example is terrible, and taken out of context, the "ly" words are helpful. But within the body of a novel, where you've established that "John" in this example is prone to anger and has been searching for the money, it's unnecessary to tell the reader that he angrily asked for it. In addition, you may have established that "Jane" spent the money and has been dreading the moment she would be asked for it. The reader doesn't need to know that she nervously responded to John's demand.

 

Spend the time to develop your characters so you can ditch the adverbs and give your dialogue rhythm. 

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Use Adverbs Sparingly, Especially in Dialogue

What Do Your Characters Want?

4,035 Views 1 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, authors, author, writers, writing, craft, dialogue, grammar
0

When I was writing my first novel, I was so excited to see my own words on the page that I ended up with several scenes that didn't have much at all to do with the main plot. After I signed with an agent, she pointed out this tendency to wander and had me cut a lot. I mean, a LOT. It was painful to hit the delete key, but I realized she was right. (Click here to read my post on what to do with scenes you cut.)

 

When you're writing a novel, it's important to always keep the story moving forward. If you go off on tangents that have nothing to do with the plot or aren't going to somehow tie back into it later, your readers are going to get confused or bored, and they may stop reading entirely.

 

I recently finished reading a murder mystery that veered off in several directions with new characters who seemed interesting enough, but then they all disappeared and never wound their way back into the story. When the killer was revealed and the book was over, instead of feeling satisfied, I found myself scratching my head and thinking, "But what happened to that little blonde girl on the side of the road? And why didn't I find out what the deal was with that creepy truck driver guy? And where did that wise old lady from the restaurant go?"

 

It felt almost as if the author didn't finish writing the book. Having subplots can keep a novel interesting, but they need to keep the overall story moving forward. If they go nowhere, your story goes nowhere, and your readers might end up going somewhere else for their next book.

 

-Maria

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor. She is the award-winning author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper, It's a Waverly Life and Honey on Your Mind. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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What Comes after the Conflict?

Overwriting? Just Say It!

4,213 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writing, plot, craft
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