Tink...tink...tink...anyone out there? Hi! I'm Barbara Donlon Bradley - Author - editor and slightly crazy - ask anyone in my family. I hope to use this blog to talk about writing, editing and whatever pops in my head. Hope you enjoy.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Shameless Promoting again and a quick update

I wanted to make those of you who visit my blog aware that my laptop has gone into the shop and I am without - I have to borrow (steal) from family (son in particular) to get to the internet. Stupid video card went out - very grateful for my warranty but I feel lost without it. Just giving everyone fair warning that it will effect my writing time and internet time so my posts might be a little more sporadic.

I have been working on editing information on this blog. Blame it on being a past president for my local RWA chapter. Wanting to help other writers is in my blood. I love doing it but I can't seem to get those out as fast so I'm going to try something so there isn't a big gap between my posts. Once a week I'm going to post about random thoughts as well as continue with my writing down the bones series. We'll see how well I do at that.

Now to the shameless promoting. If you're one the erotic e-loop http://groups.yahoo.com/group/karendevinkaren/
I will be chatting tomorrow night, Nov 28th from 7 pm - 10 pm. I'll be talking about why I write paranormal. Posting info on my newest series and that kind of thing. Please come by and say hi if you can.

Barb:)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Writing Down the Bones: Dialogue and Tags

It's hard to talk about dialogue without talking about tags. The' he said' and 'she said' tag is the most simple one to use to make sure your reader knows whose talking.  There are others to use as well. There's the action tag - one of my favorites. It helps me combine several things at the same time.

Let me give you an example - this is from my WIP, book 7 of the Vespian Way:



Fridon walked to the medlab feeling paranoid. Was the doctor a clone too? Could he trust him with his theories?
“Fridon? What brings you here?”
“Thought I’d ask if you have found your mate yet?”
“No, and I’m worried. She has never been gone longer than a day and it had been several weeks. Anseri was very upset when her daughter disappeared when I first met Toki, but now. I don’t know. She’s not behaving properly.”
“So you have noticed it too.”
“Yes, why hasn’t she pushed to bring my sister home? Heather has been on that ship since Storm died when she should be here with family to help her cope.”
“One of the reasons I came to see you.”
“What do you need?”
“A way to tell if someone has been cloned.”
“That’s easy. What will take time is disguising the scanner so no one notices.” Kuarto turned to his computer screen. “Be glad I was one step ahead of you and have already been working on this.”
“Can you load it into this?” He pulled out the little device he had created.
“Yes.” Kuarto grinned. “And I can do it immediately.”

That is the rough draft - mostly dialogue with a few tags toward the end.

Now here is the same scene with the type of tags I like to use:


Fridon walked to the medlab feeling paranoid. Was the doctor a clone too? Could he trust him with his theories?
“Fridon? What brings you here?” Kuarto looked up from his work. Fridon wasn't one to sit in an office, he found the doctor working on the main computer of the center. Micali was on a break so Kuarto was the only one there.
“Thought I’d ask if you have found your mate yet?”
“No, and I’m worried. She has never been gone longer than a day and it had been several weeks.” He looked at the door before focusing  back on Fridon. “Anseri was very upset when her daughter disappeared when I first met Toki, but now? I don’t know. She’s not behaving properly.”
“So you have noticed it too.” Fridon noticed Kuarto seemed a little worried about who could be listening in.
"It's hard not to. She has forbade me from looking for Toki."
"What?" Fridon found that hard to believe.
“I don't understand why either and it raises more questions." Kuarto ran his fingers through his hair in frustration. "Why hasn’t she pushed to bring my sister home? Heather has been on that ship since Storm died when she should be here with family to help her cope.”
“One of the reasons I came to see you.” Time to see if the doctor was going to help him.
“What do you need?”
“A way to tell if someone has been cloned.”
“That’s easy. What will take time is disguising the scanner so no one notices.” Kuarto turned to his computer screen and pulled up data on detecting clones. “Be glad I was one step ahead of you and have already been working on this.”
“Can you load it into this?” He smiled as he pulled out the little device he had created. Kuarto was himself and feared the same thing he did.
“Yes.” Kuarto's fingers flew across the keys to start the download. “And I can do it immediately.”

I learned years ago that the action tag helps me make the scene more three dimensional.  It shows the characters moving about the scene as they talk. Helps the reader see where they are. Because of that I rarely use the he said and she said. There is nothing wrong with those tags.  Sometimes they are the only thing that works.
 
What I do see is new authors using the basic tags as well as the action tag. for example lets look at the last sentence in the scene - "Yes," said Kaurto as his fingers flew across the keys to start the download. Although there is nothing wrong with the previous sentence the 'said Kuarto' before the action slows down the sentence a little which can slow down the scene.

Tags are needed, but you can be creative in the way you use them. The idea is to make them invisible so your reader doesn't see them.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Writing Down the Bones: Dialogue and Foreshadowing

In that rough draft you wrote you didn't care if you repeated yourself a lot. You just wanted to get the story to paper. Now, though, that part is done and you need to start looking at every word, the dialogue the description, the scene.

Here's an example:

"I like that dress." Mary stared at the dress on the manikin in the display window.
"I like it too," said Susie.
"Wonder if my bank account will like it as much as I do."
"You gonna', like, find out?"

There is an awful lot of likes in that section. Overall it tells what you want but it definitely needs to be reworded.  

Here it is rewritten:
"Isn't that a pretty dress." Mary stared at the black gown on the manikin in the display window. Wouldn't she look good in that.
"Nice," said Susie. "But you always had good taste."
"Yeah, good taste but no money. Not anymore. Wonder if my bank account will like it as much as I do."
"There is only one way to find out." Susie grabbed her friend by the hand and pulled her into the store.

I only kept one of those likes in that section and added more description to support my dialogue.


There are a lot of little things you need to look for with dialogue. If you have them talking about what drink they are ordering it should only be a line or two. If it takes them a half of page to get that order in and there is nothing else going on in your dialogue then your reader is going to think this is very important to the plot when it's not.

Just like the scene above. If that dress isn't important to the story then why would I want to have it in my book? Now if later I show her wearing the dress  it would make sense to have this scene. This scene of her buying the dress is foreshadowing the later scene and it gives you key information. One she is conscious of money. Might be the type of person who doesn't spend it frivolously. She might be on a tight budget and knows something like this could set her back. Perhaps she came from money and now has to live on a budget. And I can work this back into the later scene hen she wears the dress.

Here's what I mean:
Mary brushed her hands down her gown. A year ago she would have bought this dress and put it in her closet, not thinking about how much it cost, but that was before she cut ties with her father.  After he demanded she marry the man he chose for her or lose the money he had she learned how to live without. Better to be poor and free than rich and trapped.

Now the first scene makes perfect sense. You get a hint of what type of character she was before and then the second scene reinforces it.

More later ...


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Writing Down the Bones: Does the scene move the plot along?

So your bones are there, begging to be fleshed out and dressed.You work through your scenes and find one you just love. It has all the right elements, just enough description and dialogue. You're so proud of it you could just burst but...

You read it and realize that this perfect scene doesn't help move your plot. What to do?

Your desire is to leave it there, after all you worked hard on it and it deserves to be read but no matter how wonderful that scene is you have to be strong. Take a deep breath and decide if you can edit it so it does help your plot or cut it. I know that hurts. No one wants to destroy something they worked so hard at but you need to be clinical when you look at a scene. If you don't, someone else will, and that can hurt a whole lot more.

Every word should move you to the goal. Character development, subplots, they still need to take your reader to the climax of your book.