Book Blogger Tip Tuesday #28

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Reward yourself for reaching daily goals, it’ll help incentivize yourself to keep reaching them, but don’t just reward yourself for the sake of it, discipline yourself to be a better worker.

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Book Blogger Tip Thursday #27

Money

If you are not already published, understand that while you are aiming to be, it is hard (extremely so), so you still need a job rather than waiting to become a millionaire to pay the water bill.

 

Writing: Dialogue

Introduction

Unless your entire cast of characters is made up of mutes or fish, you’re going to encounter dialogue. Sometimes it’s hard to write normal flowing conversations between the puppets we control. Nothing is natural when it’s already planned and written. But enough flimsy philosophical thoughts let’s talk talking.

Back to the basics

The easiest way to make your dialogue come to life is by learning how to grammatically write dialogue. So here are a few rules to remember:
a) Use a new indented line every time you have a new speaker
b) Always use speech marks before and after dialogue – (this is with the exception of when a character is speaking for a very long time across multiple paragraphs. Use an opening speech mark for each new paragraph and only use a closing speech mark at the end.

Making it flow

You need to understand one thing, people usually don’t speak to each other in full sentences. Characters are human (even if they are really ten-foot aliens) and thus, they lie, they hide things and are difficult in conversation. Including a bit of that personality into their dialogue adds conflict and interest to your story.

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Adding description

Picture the last time you had a conversation: most likely you weren’t just standing nose to nose with your conversing partner, talking in robotic monotone. So why should your characters? People move and express themselves and it’s important to show that. The constant repetition of ‘he said, she said’ is monotonous and boring, you need to spice up your dialogue with description and movement. Having stilted, short sentences between characters, continuously for two pages is the easiest way to make a reader’s eyes wander. You need variety, short and to the point sentences, amongst long proses as well as description in between.

Conclusion

It’s all about practice and even finding examples of great dialogue in everyday life. So, keep writing and keep listening (without seeming too creepy). Good luck Xx

Further Reading

How to write dialogue: 7 steps for great conversation

I’m Back!!!…Hopefully

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I last wrote a writing update on the 9th May. And this one will not be a great follow up as it will be short. In my last writing update I said I had completely got rid of my manuscript. And quite frankly I’ve gotten rid of everything else. I became quite a hermit for the last two months.

I have done NOTHING but plan my new novel. I have also written the first 35’000 words. Its…going to be looooong. Currently the estimated final word count is 302’243. It certainly feels like it will be that long.

But I don’t want to talk about that right now. I want to look to the future of everything else. Getting back into blogging, Twitter and Instagram is harder than expected. I’m a creature of routine and as it stands, writing is currently my only routine.

So I’m going to be a bit slow into writing poetry and flash fiction. But I have big plans for writing advice given I’ve essentially reinvented everything I do when I plan, write and record it.

But anyway, this is me putting my toe back in the pool of WordPress and hopefully I’ll be able to write something more substantial next week!

Planning: Snowflake Method

Introduction

Every book starts somewhere, usually as a bundle of nonsense in a writer’s head, but at some point, those words need to be put down on a page and a plan needs to be formed. Now, I know a lot of people may want to write without a plan, I know I was once one of these people because, of course, I already know everything that’ll happen in my story.
…No…no you don’t.
Story ideas sometimes don’t pan out as you envisioned, you will drop ideas and bring in new ones throughout because you didn’t think it through properly. Writing out a plan will help at least remind you of where you are going.
The planning technique I use is the snowflake method, which is essentially expanding and branching out from one sentence into a whole plan (like a snowflake).

Step 1: One sentence Summary
Write your elevator pitch, preferably less than 15 words which sums up your entire story.

Step 2: Expand into five sentences
Now expand that one sentence into five, covering the following story beats:

Sentence 1: Explain the setting and introduce the lead characters
Sentence 2: Explain the first quarter of the book, up to the first disaster, where the hero commits to the story
Sentence 3: Explain the second quarter of the book, up to the second disaster, where the hero changes his mode of operations
Sentence 4: Explain the third quarter of the book, up to the third disaster, which forces the hero to commit to the ending
Sentence 5: Explain the fourth quarter of the book, where the hero has the final confrontation, and either wins or loses or both

Step 3: Expand once more
For each of those sentences, expand them into a paragraph totaling about a page long, it doesn’t need to be completely detailed just yet.

Step 4: Starting to work on the characters
Now you have a good idea about your plot, we need to start work on your characters. Start putting down the basic for each of your major characters:
• The character’s name
• A one-sentence summary of the character’s storyline
• The character’s motivation (Abstract)
• The character’s goal (Concrete)
• The character’s conflict
• The character’s epiphany

If at this point (or any point) you realise you need to revise over your plot outline to fit into your characters’ storylines better, you should do now. Better do it now while planning than later in edits.

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Step 5: Expand on your characters
Write up a one-page description of each major characters and half a page on any character you consider relevant to do so for, these should be from the POV of the characters to show what they are going through and how they change.

Step 6: Take a break and come back
Take a week and let the plan rest. Now you have a clearer idea of where your characters are going you should now be able to write a longer plot synopsis hopefully around 4 pages long. Expand each paragraph into just less than a page essentially and it gives you a chance to fix any little things and work out any plot holes.

Step 7: Expand, expand and expand again
Go back to your characters and make character charts, you can easily find these online, but most importantly know how your characters will have changed from the start to the end of your story. Make sure everything is as long as it needs to be, and you’ve explained everything as fully as possible.

Step 8: Write out your scenes
You know where it’s going now, and this is when I like to write out the scenes that are going to take place, but this depends on how you write, a list of scenes maybe a waste of time if you work well enough from a synopsis.

Conclusion

By now you should have a fully-fledged plan, now all you need to do is write a first draft. Good luck Xx

Further Reading
https://www.storyplanner.com/story/plan/snowflake-method-outline

The Snowflake Method For Designing A Novel

A 3-minute Guide To The Snowflake Method By Randy Ingermanson

Writing: How To Use the Snowflake Technique to Write A Novel