Tag, You’re It: How to #Write Spectacular #Dialogue Using This #Trend

Dialogue is a way for characters to react and communicate in a story.  It can also be a method to move a story along by adding action rather than paragraph after paragraph of details.  Placing tags before or after the quoted text reveals who is saying what – like “he said” or “she replied”.  Seems cut and dry, right? With emphasis on the dry, these tags don’t give the dialogue much pizazz.

According to Whitney Hemsath, it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.  Her delightful post sheds light on a trend that can take a writer’s dialogue from ok to spectacular. Read below.

Photo: Morgue file (diannehope)

Whitney Hemsath

In writing, there are trends. Some people like the trends, others don’t, but knowing the trends and what following them (or not) says about you as a writer can make the difference between getting traditionally published or not.
One trend is in regards to dialogue tags. There used to be a time when people wanted variety, not just “he said” and “she said.” So more authors would use phrases like “she questioned” “he commanded” “she responded” “he replied” “she barked” “he stated”. However, these days professionals look at all those words as signs of amateur writing. The current trend is to only use “said” and “asked” (and maybe an occasional “whisper” or “shout” if the volume they are using is important to note and is otherwise unclear from context.)
The reasoning behind this is that words like “said” and “asked” become invisible to a reader. They are merely…

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11 Steps for #Writing the Perfect Scene

Ever have a great scene in your head, but when you write it all down, it seems flat?  I’ve certainly been there.  It can be frustrating to visualize everything, and even come up with a bunch of eloquent words that do absolutely nothing for the story.

A writer can show and tell all they want.  But when a story feels dull, chances are the book will be placed on a shelf or table to collect dust.  I certainly don’t want that.  So I enlisted the trusty assistance of Google to help me figure out how to improve my scene.

Lucky enough, I found Continue reading “11 Steps for #Writing the Perfect Scene”

#Diversity in #Writing

Diversity in a story makes it more realistic.  If you look at our world, you will see people from all walks of life.  Backgrounds and experiences just as similar and different as the sun is to the moon.

Also, the depth of a character’s makeup can be a learning experience for the reader.  At the very least, a cause to research and evolve so that what is foreign is now familiar.

Photo: Sharon Drummond Before You Even Knew You Wanted Them via photopin (license)


Diversity of characters, in my opinion, is one of the most important aspects of a story. I don’t just mean making your characters have distinct personalities. I’m talking race, gender, religion, sexuality, and much more.

Regardless of whether or not most stories are about straight white people (they are, at least the ones that get super popular), it is still important to have diversity.

The way I see it, good, well-researched diversity has two effects: it shows those people who identify with the character that they are not alone, and it educates those of us who have not experienced life the way the character and other people like the character have.

Now, there is something to say for not having diverse writing. I’ve seen people complain about how they always imagined their characters one way and then get upset when people suggest they make their stories more diverse. The response…

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#Editing??? I Don’t Need No Stinking Editing

Gotta love the double negatives in the title.  Especially in reference to the header image. 🙂

I for one, need editing. Without it how good could a work be? Unless, we’re like the guy from the Limitless movie, writers need editing and editors.

Grammatical errors, plot holes, and the like can turn off a reader. It’s like getting your mouth set for the popsicle in the freezer only to find your spouse ate it already. I don’t know of anyone who gets excited about Continue reading “#Editing??? I Don’t Need No Stinking Editing”

#Quirks and Isms to Get Into the #Writing Zone

Are there certain things that you “have to” do to get into the writing zone?  Like sitting in front of a mirror naked chanting 3 times, dress up in a quirky costume, or bungee jumping off a nearby bridge?  Sure, these may be extreme, but most of us have something to motivate our creativity.

On most occasions, I’ll listen to a specific genre of music to set whatever mood I need for the scene I’m about to write.  Other times I have sat in my car at a park or somewhere scenic to get the job done. Something about the privacy and quiet of the car sparks my creativity.  Plus it gives me an opportunity to observe people and nature happening.  Every now and then I’ll get a crazy look from a passerby as I’m typing away with smoke coming from my ears. 🙂

What do you do to get your creative juices going?

Language: Active and Passive Voice

You’re absolutely right!  It’s easy to slip into passive voice without thinking about it.  From time to time I’ll use Hemingway App to help point out the errors.

Let it come from the heart

There are many things that we often unconsciously do when we are writing. The more that we write, the more that we get to practice and hone our skills. Writing more also helps us to spot those regular patterns in our writing that could probably do with a bit of ironing out. One of the things I often notice about my own writing is that I often begin sentences in the same way, or with the same words, and so I try to vary them as much as possible. When this happens, I have to consider whether I am using the active or passive voice.

The theme on this blog for July is language. So far, we have thought about writing speech and whether to use the first, second or third person in our writing. Today, I want to look at active and passive voice.

This is about how you…

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Why you shouldn’t #edit as you go


I often write and edit as I go under the guise that I’ll be done with the writing process quicker.  But as mentioned, this can be time-consuming to the point of missing out on getting the story done.

A couple of months ago, I spent an entire day on one paragraph.   I wanted it to be perfect, but in the end I was frustrated, tired, and it still wasn’t to my liking.  After taking a step back, I made a highlighted note of what I really wanted from that part of the story and then moved on to the next piece.  It was hard to let it go, but to keep from hindering progress I had to do it.  I managed to get two chapters written the next day.

Photo: An insight into my process of content creation for the web via photopin (license)

The Writer's RX

Editing while writing is a common habit for many writers – and most of the time, it’s not an intentional or beneficial one. Even I’m doing right now, as I write this post. But the truth is, it’s not something I’m proud of, and it’s not something that really helps me much at all. Here’s why:

  1. You’re wasting your time. If you keep revisiting the same writing over and over again as you go, taking things out and putting things back in, you’re using up time that could be better spent … well, writing. You’re going to be coming back to this once you’ve finished the first draft, so why are you tripling up on unnecessary peeks and tweaks?
  2. You’re making it harder to effectively edit the finished product. When you edit as you go, you are spending so much time on each sentence, paragraph, chapter, etc. that you become too…

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