WRITING TIPS AND TRICKS-Dialogue Etiquette


While working on my revisions this week it came to my attention dialogue which runs several paragraphs long have a set of rules to follow.

This came as a surprise to me. I’d always thought, mistakenly it seems, that as long as it was one person doing the talking, quotations occur at the start, and at the end. No matter how many paragraphs long.

Of course ideally you should break up the dialogue between paragraphs with either dialogue tags or cues, (learned in one of Margie Lawson’s always inspirational classes)or action sequences of some sort.

Failing that, if your character has something important to impart, or maybe just like to hear themselves talk , Start the dialogue with quotation marks. At the beginning of each subsequent paragraph add quotations, all the way until the end, where you add the closing quotations.

Description—How to Make Readers Fall In & Never Escape


Kristen Lamb's Blog

Sidewalk chalk art near Regent’s Canal in London. Sidewalk chalk art near Regent’s Canal in London.

Today we’re going to address a topic that—GASP—I don’t believe we’ve ever covered in almost 800 blogs. Namely because it is a tricky one to address. We’re going to talk about description. For those who never use description or very sparse description? Don’t fret. That’s just your voice. Readers like me who looooove description will probably gravitate to other books and that is OKAY.

Personally, I’m not a fan of austere modern houses with stainless steel everything and weird chairs no human could sit in and most cats would avoid, but? There are plenty of people who dig it. I also don’t like a lot of knick-knacks and clutter. Makes me want to start cleaning.

Same with books. Not too little or too much. Yeah, I’m Literary Goldilocks.

Plain fact? We can’t please everyone. Description (or lack thereof) is a component of…

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Indie Writers: Make MS Word Work for You Instead of Against You


QA Productions

A Quick Primer for Fiction Writers in using Microsoft Word in the Digital Age

It always saddens me a little when a writer sends me an overly formatted Word doc to turn into an ebook or print-on-demand. It’s not that I have to clean it up–I can strip and flip the messiest files in less than an hour. What bugs me is how much thought and effort the writer wasted on utterly useless manuscript styling.

Example of a Word doc that has been overstyled. Example of a Word doc that has been overstyled.

The majority of writers I work with use Word. The vast majority have no idea how to use Word for their own benefit. I understand. I was a fiction writer for over two decades and even though I have been using computers and a variety of word processing programs since the late ’80s, it wasn’t until I started learning book production that I figured out how…

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CANADA DAY 2014


This coming Tuesday will be Canada’s 147 birthday. In that time we’ve seen many changes, some good, some not so much.
July 1, 1917: The 50th anniversary of Confederation. The Parliament buildings, under construction, are dedicated to the Fathers of Confederation and to the courage of Canadians who fought in Europe during the First World War.

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found on flickr.com

July 1, 1967: The 100th anniversary of Confederation. Parliament Hill is the backdrop for a high‑profile ceremony, which includes the participation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

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From 1980 to 1983: A new format is developed. In addition to the festivities on Parliament Hill, the national committee (the group tasked by the federal government to plan the festivities for Canada’s national holiday) starts to encourage and financially support the establishment of local celebrations across Canada. Start-up funding is provided to support popular activities and performances organized by volunteer groups in hundreds of communities. Interested organizations can make a request to the Celebrate Canada program.

2014: Canadian Heritage organizes the 147th Canada Day celebrations. As we approach Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017, the government has given the Department the mandate to organize Canada Day festivities in the capital.

Pride in our country has always been an integral part of what make Canada the special place it is. Going forward into our future my hope is that we carry this legacy forward to future generations. Let’s continue to make this country a place of peace and prosperity, a home for all cultures and religions.

A place we call home.

How do you feel about Canada?
Do you have special traditions in your country? Share, we’d love to hear about it, 🙂

WRITING PROCESS BLOG TOUR


Welcome to the WRITING PROCESS BLOG TOUR. Last week my guest was Sylvie Grayson. We learned about how careers and experiences in her past led her down the road to living her dream of becoming an author.

This week, Sylvie passed the torch on to Helena Korin, a member of our local RWA chapter. Please give her a warm welcome,

Now a little about me, writing as Helena Korin,

What are you working on?

I am putting the finishing touches on my second novella. It is a time-travel story landing my heroine in Regency London. There she meets the double of a man she has just met in the twenty-first century. The sexual tension between them sizzles, but this man has the polished manners of an aristocrat. Can she get him to break through the social codes of his day and admit his feelings before she lands back in the present?

How do your romances differ from other historicals?

I think that time-travel stories bring their own set of challenges. The hero and heroine must ultimately choose which time period to remain in, consequently one of them has to make a life-altering choice. But historicals, in themselves, give the reader a time-travel experience – without the difficulties of a convincing teleport. I love the work of Amanda Quick, Jo Beverley, Nicola Cornick, Susanna Kearsley, Julia Quinn and Eloisa James. To be able to produce sparkling dialogue and sexual tension like these talented authors would be a dream come true.

Why do I write what I do?

I am fascinated by life in past centuries, the differences and similarities. I write Regencies because the elegant fashions and manners of the time appeal to me. I am aware of the contrasts between the very poor and the wealthy which existed then. But most Regencies focus on the world of the aristocracy. A ladies’ maid may turn out to be a long lost duchess. I think Regency readers like this fairy tale quality. My premise is that people two hundred years ago had the same feelings and motivations as we do nowadays. The trappings of life were different – no penicillin or electricity – but men and women still longed for love, adventure, and control over their own destiny.

How does your writing process work?

I am fascinated by historical buildings and try to imagine the people who once lived there. A sentence under the picture of a beautiful old library has me imagining the life of a dairy maid who married the lord when he was in his seventies…You can see where this is going  I try to plot because ‘pantsing’ inevitably leads me to a blank screen with the question, “Now what?” ringing in my head. But lately I’ve found that giving myself an approximate outline and then allowing some ‘pantsing’ works better for me. If I plotted every detail there would be nothing to discover as the story unfolds. I try to write daily but life does tend to intervene.

Thank you, Helena, for sharing a little of your process with us. I can’t wait to read your book, 🙂
How about you? What is your process?
Are you a pantser, or a plotter?
We’d love to hear from you.

Jilly: Crafting the Perfect One-Liner. Help!


Eight Ladies Writing

Crafting the Perfect One-LinerCan you tell from a one-line description whether you want to read a book or not?

This week I’ve been working on my query letter, and especially the single sentence near the beginning that sums up my story. I could have written another 10k-15k of new words in the time I’ve been sweating over this sentence, and I’m still not happy with it.

On Thursday, I was cross-eyed from wrestling with The Sentence when

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ONE LINE FRIDAY


An important milestone in my life happened this past week. My DH and I shared our thirtieth wedding anniversary.

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We’ve had our share of ups and downs but through it all, our love for each other held strong. If there’s one piece of advice I could share with young couples it would be, don’t give up on each other.

So many hit a hurdle or two and call it quits before they get the chance to reap the rewards of a long marriage. Peace. Happiness. Fulfillment.

with that in mind, here is today’s picture for One Line Friday,

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found on littledoeriver.tumblr.com

This picture is on my romance board at Pinterest. http://pinterest.com/jacqcool/

Tired after a long day of hot, dirty work, Jay entered his small kitchen and came to a standstill. This, this made every second of sweat and toil worthwhile as his pregnant wife greeted him with open arms and a welcoming smile.

Whoops, two lines this time, lol.

Okay gang, let’s see what you can do, 🙂

WRITING PROCESS BLOG HOP


Today I’m hosting a good friend of mine as she shares her writing process with you, Sylvie Grayson. I hope you’ll give her a warm welcome, 🙂

My name is Sylvie Grayson, and I was so pleased to be invited to take part in the Romance Writing Process Blog Tour to talk about how I write. Jacquie Biggar generously asked me to join her in this effort. Jacquie is one of my writing critique partners and I love to read her work. I am always excited to find out where her characters are going next. She also gives me great feedback on my own work, a generous writer friend.
You can find Jacquie at –http://jacquiebiggar.com

And now a little about me, Sylvie Grayson, and why I write!

What are you working on?

My current work is a story called Suspended Animation, where an ambitious young hockey player is reluctantly dragged home because of a crisis to discover his father is too ill to run the family trucking business, and it’s about to go under from a load of debt. At the same time a young woman has loaned her money to be invested in a trucking business but when her fortunes plummet, she needs it back. Her only option is to approach the business owner. The scene when these two, the hockey player and the young woman, meet really tickled me because they are polar opposites and the air crackles with tension.

How does your contemporary romantic suspense different from others in the genre?

My heroes are busy guys who are trying their best to make a go of their careers. They aren’t perfect but they work hard and play hard, knowing life can throw them a curve unexpectedly, and it always does. My heroines are smart, usually independent minded women who like to do things their way and have a plan for their lives. When these two meet up, the sparks fly, especially if they are already driving on a collision course. Then I mix in a bit of intrigue and suspense in the shape of a bad character and unforeseen events to up the ante and make things really interesting.
I try to stay away from the classic scenarios – big businessmen who enter into shady deals to make a lot of money, or high flyer politicians who work for their own interests to gain wealth or influence. I feel those have been overdone, and it’s time to look for more interesting and inventive plots.

Why do you write what you do?

I have a varied and out of the ordinary background and I think that comes through in what I write. My father was a story teller, played the accordion and mouth organ, and loved to sing ballads. My mother was a painter, writer and a respected poet. So I come by the wish to tell stories honestly. I also have a background in business, entertainment, travel, startup companies, you name it. So I like to write about those things.
Life is never easy, I don’t know anyone who has sailed through without a hitch. So when I begin to throw the hitch into the mix, the leak in the lifeboat, or the thief in the scenario, it just gets more interesting and exciting. The suspense in ‘romantic suspense’ gives the love story a special impact.

How does your writing process work?

I’ve written about five or six books now, and the process has evolved. Because I also have a job, I write when I can find the uninterrupted time to do so. I usually start with an idea about the characters and the situation they’re in. As I mull it over in my mind, their personalities evolve and I start to see why they are doing what they do, and how their goals are at cross purposes. Then I work on getting them together.
When I write, I usually know where I’m going with the story. But the story can surprise me, and take me in a different direction then I planned. I find the characters come alive and soon have a mind of their own. It takes some special handling as the book evolves to stay on course but allow the hero and heroine a voice in their own story. It’s what I love to do.

Next up –

Now please let me introduce one of my fellow authors, Helena Korin, who has agreed to follow on this blog tour. Helena loves to write about the Regency period and she does it well. When I read one of her scenes I feel I am there, in the stifling ballroom with the overdressed attendees and the rigid social rules.
Helena Korin was born in the beautiful city of Prague in the Czech Republic. At the age of four she came to Canada and grew up in Toronto and Vancouver. She completed a B.A. degree in history and English, then married a fellow student, a forester. She saw much of Canada and lived in forestry camps in Alberta, the Maritimes, and B.C.’s north. After eleven years of marriage and two children she and her husband divorced. This led to another move to Kamloops in B.C.’s cowboy country.
Working as a reference assistant in a public library she navigated the challenges of single parenting and read every historical romance that came her way. She longed for the time to write her own. Retirement and a move to Vancouver Island finally made this seem a possibility. Joining the Vancouver Island Chapter of Romance Writers fueled her dreams and provided practical lessons in the craft of writing. Trips to Prague, England and Turkey in the last few years have added inspiration and fanned her love of history and fascination with life in the past. She has written one Regency novel and two novellas but is unpublished as yet.
You can reach Helena at helenakorin@gmail.com

4 Reasons to Keep Going When Editing Gets Tough


Creative Writing with the Crimson League

1148655_vintage_fountain_pen_3Today my mind is on editing again, because I’m still editing my second edition of the Herezoth trilogy. And as much as some days I REALLY feel the itch to be writing again and feel that the autumn can’t get here fast enough, editing is cool, even if it’s tough. It’s worth doing, and it’s worth doing well.

It’s not all fun and games, but here are five reasons to persevere when editing makes you want to pull your hair out:

1. YOU HAVE YOUR STORY.

The most enjoyable, but in a lot of ways, the most challenging part of writing is discovering your story. If you’re editing, that’s DONE. You might cut some things. You might rearrange some things. But generally, once you’ve gotten your draft down and you move on to editing, your basic story is in place.

How reassuring is that? It’s a great relief. In a…

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Recreational Sex in Writing: Writer Responsibilities?


S.K. Nicholls

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I sometimes wonder just how much responsibility to the world at large us writers have. I did a post recently concerning triggers and got much interesting feedback about that. A trigger can be anything, a taste, a touch, a scent, words read in a book. The general consensus seemed to be that it was the readers’ responsibility to watch for those things that might trigger an untoward response or memory.

As writers, we should write about whatever we want to. There should be no censorship. To rate books like movies seems ridiculous; G, PG, R, X. And who, or what organization, would govern that?

I recall a friend bringing a paperback book to junior high school.  It was Sylvia Plath’s “The Bell Jar”. There was a passage in that book where she describes her own breast development and compares them to apricots and cantaloupes. We sat in the library and…

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ONE LINE FRIDAY


Today was a good day. For some Friday 13 immediately brings visions of world catastrophes, witches, goblins, plight or afflictions.

For me it brought family closeness, phone calls from old friends, and internet connections with new ones. It brought sunshine and strawberries. Blooming roses and pineapple plants.

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photo by ANTHONY AYIOMAMITIS, TWAN on National Geographic

Ghostly fae images floated across the barren field, swaying and turning beneath the summer solstice moon, and an eerie moan raised warning goosebumps up and down his spine.

Your turn, 🙂

WRITING PROCESS BLOG HOP


I was delighted to be invited to join the Romance Writing Process Blog Hop. A new friend of mine, Claire Gem, from the Yahoo group, Romance Critique Group asked if I’d be interested in participating and I jumped at the opportunity, my first time. 🙂

Claire has a book coming soon, Phantom Traces (about a match-making ghost), from Soul Mate Publishing. You can contact Claire through Twitter, , or her blog, http://www.clairegem.com/blog.html

Okay, here comes the scary part. I have four questions to answer.

1) What am I working On?

I currently have three books on the go. The first, Tidal Falls, is done at 78,000 words, I’m working on the final revisions with plans to launch this fall with a Goodreads giveaway and some awesome prize packs, so stay tuned for that. 🙂

The second one is about halfway done, and the third is a novella. All three are part of a series set around the fictional town of Tidal Falls, set in the Pacific northwest. I’ve named the series, Wounded Hearts.

These books deal with men and women who have been hurt by people they trusted, and now have a hard time believing they can have a HEA.
They are romantic suspense stories with the emphasis on romance.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I believe what makes a great romance is the push, pull of attraction between a man and a woman. In romantic suspense stories this is complicated by external conflicts that keep the story moving along to a satisfying conclusion. Where my stories differ is that I emphasize that attraction. The interactions between my main characters are the fuel that feed the story, also moving it along to a satisfying conclusion, (and hopefully taking down the bad guy :))

3)Why do I write what I do?

I’ve read romance novels for as long as I can remember. I used to wait every month for the mailman to deliver that box of dreams from Harlequin. I was twelve at the time. My mom didn’t have any problem with me reading them, as long as I got up for school in the morning.
I haunted our second-hand bookstore, on the lookout for my favorite authors, Margaret Way, Violet Winspear, Kathleen Woodiwiss, Janet Dailey, to name a few. Then as I grew my tastes did too, and I began to look for funny, quirky romances. Enter, Jennifer Crusie, (still an all-time favorite) Rachel Gibson, and Susan Elizabeth Phillips. From there I moved to suspense. Iris Johansen, Elizabeth Lowell, Karen Robards, Karen Rose, and of course, the queen, Suzanne Brockmann.

If I can ever write half as good as these amazing women, I’ll consider myself a success.

4)How does my writing process work?

I wish I could say I’m one of those people that get up at the crack of dawn and write two thousand words by noon. I’m not.

I usually start out my day #1 with a big mug of coffee, 🙂 and then I go through my e-mails, answering or doing critiques, reading the postings on whichever class I’m taking at the moment, and catching up on the latest news in the industry.Then I do my social media networking.

After that it’s time to take a break and do some stretching. Take my mom for coffee, or work a little in the yard.

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Then it’s onto my edits for the afternoon. When my eyes start crossing, I move to one of my WIP’s and try to get down a scene or two. I’m still learning what works for me. It’s a process, but I’m having the time of my life, and that’s what counts. 🙂

Whew, that wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, lol.
The next author to get the honor of chatting with you is, Sylvie Grayson. She’s a good friend of mine from our local RWA chapter, and critique group. I know you’ll like her as much as I do. She’ll be posting through my blog next Monday, June 16. Any comments you’d like to share with her can be sent via her e-mail address at the bottom of this post. Please give her a warm welcome.

Sylvie Grayson was born in British Columbia, Canada. She has lived most of her life in that province in spots ranging from Vancouver Island on the coast to the North Peace River country and the Kootenays in the beautiful interior. She spent a one year sojourn in Tokyo Japan.
She has been an English language instructor, a nightclub manager, an auto shop bookkeeper and many other professions. She found her niche at university and completed a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and a Doctorate f Law. Now she works part time as the owner of a small company, and writes when she can.
She is a wife and mother and still loves to travel, having recently completed a trip to Singapore, Thailand, Viet Nam and Hong Kong. The east is still calling. She lives on the Pacific coast with her husband on a small patch of land near the ocean that they call home. She prefers her stories to be full of tension and attraction and writes romantic suspense and fantasy. Her next release is Suspended Animation, out this fall of a hockey player who gets pulled home to deal with a family crisis only to find the business is broke and a young woman claims they owe her money.

You can reach Sylvie at sylviegraysonauthor@gmail.com

ONE LINE FRIDAY


In honour of the fallen mounties in Moncton, New Brunswick,

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His heart heavy at the news, he dropped the flag to half-mast before sending a prayer to a God that seemed not to hear, “Please, Lord, forgive him, for he know not what he has done.”

My own prayers are with the families of the lost. I wish we as humans would learn to use our brains for peace, instead of slowly destroying everything that’s good in our world.

God bless.

Saturday 7th June – Programme of Events


A great opportunity to pick up advice from the pros

romance festival

Saturday 7th June is our professional development day for authors. There are several streams of activity happening on Saturday, with different activities happening on different forums.

Schedules for all streams can be found below.

Please note that all times are British Summer Time.

Stream one: Join us on Twitter

  • 2pm – YA #ScriptDoctor Hour
    Ask the editor about your manuscripts and get their tips
    Follow #ScriptDoctor to take part
    Emily Thomas (HotKey) & Anna Baggaley (Mira UK
  • 3pm – Digital #ScriptDoctor Hour
    Ask the editor about your manuscripts and get their tips
    Follow #ScriptDoctor to take part
    With Charlotte Ledger (HarperImpulse) & Lucy Gilmore  (Carina)
  • 4pm – Women’s fiction #ScriptDoctor
    Ask the editor about your manuscripts and get their tips
    Follow #ScriptDoctor to take part
    With Kimberley Young (HarperFiction) & Sally Williamson (MIRA)
  • 4pm – advice and tips for new authors
    Twitter Q&A with Orna Ross, author and founder of Alliance of Independent…

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WRITING PROCESS BLOG TOUR


I’m so excited, I’ve been asked to join a blog hop, my first one!! One of the ladies I’ve met online through the Yahoo group, Romance Critique Group
was kind enough to invite me to take part in this great opportunity.

My post will be HERE next week, June 9, so please come and check it out. My sponsor, Claire Gem, has hers up today, here’s the link,

She’s an amazing writer and a very funny lady.

On another topic, My German Shepherd, Annie, who I wrote about last week, is doing much better than expected. She’s learning to play with another shepherd without attacking which is wonderful news. I can’t wait for her to come back home, 🙂

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Eight tips on using dialogue tags


Ylva Publishing

1038123_people_seriesIn our last post on writing tips, we gave general advice on how to write good dialogue. Today, we want to blog about so-called dialogue tags.

A dialogue tag is a verb such as “said” or “asked.” The function of a dialogue tag is to let the reader know who’s speaking. If used correctly, dialogue tags are a good thing because they avoid confusion, so here’s some advice on how to use dialogue tags:

1) Avoid “creative” dialogue tags

Some writers become overly creative when it comes to dialogue tags. They seem to think that “said” is boring, so they use a plethora of tags such as whined, admitted, yelled, grumbled, etc. Please don’t do that.

“Said” and “asked” (and the occasional “shouted” or “whispered”) are actually the best verbs to use in a dialogue tag. Readers’ minds skip over it, while other tags pull the readers’ attention away from the dialogue and become a…

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ONE LINE FRIDAY


It’s been a much better week for me. I’ve had some positive feedback on my WIP. My dog, who is away at ‘Be good or else’ school, is doing well, settling in better than expected.

I read a couple of wonderful books from two of my favourite authors, Sarah Mayberry, and Kelly Hunter. They’re from the Montana Born Brides series. I highly recommend them.

On the local front, the strawberries are ripening,

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The roses are blooming,

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And summer is here, 🙂

My pick for One line friday follows this theme, here it is,

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Excitement coursed through his veins, the war between man and nature never more clear to him as fate rushed up to meet him, and he laughed.

Okay gang, your turn. Show me what you’ve got.