Monday, July 22, 2013

Writing Effective Dialogue

Flat Dialogue - What is this beast and how do we kill it?
I’ve heard people talk about ‘flat dialogue’ and thought back to several books that stood out. Recently, I was asked to read a book for someone who advertised the book with great energy and finesse and really sold the book to me. The plot sounded promising, the character details appeared good, and the setup started well. I was anxious to get into the nitty-gritty.
It didn’t take long for me to become bored and annoyed with the dialogue; and there was a lot of it. This writer had an opportunity to bring this book to life, but instead brought it to a dead stop by virtue of flat dialogue.
Realistic dialogue is one of the most powerful tools a writer has. Nothing pulls a reader out of the story faster than bad dialogue.
What does flat dialogue mean? Here are a few tips to help correct the problem.
·         Unable to determine which sex is speaking – Men and women don’t speak the same, so you can’t write their dialogue the same. You have study the sexes, learn their mannerisms, learn their details. And above all, know your character. Is he shrewd, cunning, reserved; is she feminine, a tomboy, strong, weak? Show it through their dialogue.

·         Writing a transcription of a conversation – Unessential dialogue - remove it. Become aware of how people talk, their expressions, and their natural speech patterns. Read something from Larry Jeff McMurtry for samples of great dialogue writing. Also, tap into Stephen King’s On Writing to learn some good tips.

·         Feeding too much information and important facts instead of letting the story unfold naturally – Use dialogue to show the story, not as filler information. Again, natural conversation can do wonders to say was would otherwise become fluff and filler.

·         Writing only conversation – People are real and seldom stand still while talking. They are physical and conversations need to be broken up by some description. Make your character pick up a cup of coffee, walk across the room, peek out a window behind a blind, cough; anything that would break up straight conversation.

·         Overdoing dialogue tags – Stick to the tried and true, “he said” “she said”. Adjectives are not always necessary if you’ve written the dialogue right to begin with. Use them sparingly.
When writing a natural conversation, you will find that you write with a certain indirectness. The dialogue will leave some questions to things we don’t want to hit head on. This is good for the readers. It draws them in, makes them eavesdroppers, gives them mysteries to solve, suspicions to confirm.
Here are some great resources:
Do you have any techniques that you’ve found helpful? Or a source that you’ve used to help perfect your dialogue building? Leave a comment and share it with the rest of us! We’d love to hear it.
Thanks for stopping in.
Until next time, I wish you all the best in your writing success.
Dee Ann

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Fellow Author - Free Book Giveaway!

Hello everyone. This week I have the pleasure of sharing with you the talent and creativity of author, Roy Huff. His novel, the first book in his Everville series, Everville: The First Pillar, is out and he's agreed to allow me to hold a raffle for a free Kindle eBook right here for all of you.
Click on the entry form at the bottom of the page to enter!
Don’t have a kindle?  Not a problem!  Download the free Kindle app to your smart phone or PC!
Contest ends August 13, 2013 at midnight. You must have a valid non-Kindle email address. The winner will be sent a free Kindle eBook directly from Amazon. In order to enter you must reside in a country that allows Kindle downloads.
About the book:
Everville: The First Pillar is Amazon’s #1 international epic fantasy bestseller!

This is the first installment in the remarkable Everville series which combines elements of epic fantasy and young adult fiction in a form that nearly anyone will enjoy reading, young or old.
Owen Sage is the emblematic college freshman at Easton Falls University. With all the worries about his first year in college, he was not prepared for what would happen next. His way of life was flipped upside down when he mysteriously crossed into another dimension, into the beautiful land of Everville. His excitement was abruptly halted when he discovered that there was a darkness forged against both the natural world, which he knew well, and the new land which he discovered, Everville. He must devise a plan to save both worlds while joining forces with the race of Fron and The Keepers, whom both harbor hidden secrets he must learn in order to gain power over the evil that dwells in The Other In Between. With a race against time to save both worlds, his short time at Easton Falls did not quite prepare him for the evil, dark forces he must fight in order to conquer The Other In Between.
Can’t wait to for the raffle to end to read it?  Click here to purchase it now!

About the Author:

Roy Huff is a man of many interests including but not limited to science, traveling, movies, the outdoors, and of course writing teen and young adult fantasy fiction. He holds five degrees in four separate disciplines including liberal arts, history, secondary science education, and geoscience. Roy Huff’s background includes work in art, history, education, business, real-estate, economics, geoscience, and satellite meteorology. He was born on the East Coast but has spent more than half his life in Hawaii, where he currently resides and writes his epic fantasy sagas.

Also, be sure to stay tuned for details on the upcoming second book in the series Everville: The City of Worms, expected to be released in late summer!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

How Do You Self Publish?

As most of you know, I decided to indie publish my novel THECONSEQUENTIAL ELEMENT. I attempted to go through the traditional channels, and actually was accepted by an agent and a publisher, but ultimately chose to go the indie route instead. There are several reasons for this long and thought-out decision; one being that I didn’t like the contract… at all. The traditional contract that was presented to me was very much like the standard traditional contact offered to many new authors. The biggest drawbacks were the giving up of my rights, and making little money. This is my first novel. I’m sure there are going to be mistakes, the writing – though good - may not be up to top professional standards just yet, and there is still much for me to learn. Though I have no doubt about my abilities as a writer, and I know that I will reach the top standards of the pros, but because of my desire to learn the craft to the best of my ability, I decided to go the indie route. I want to learn the ropes on both sides. I will seek the traditional route in the future with other novels, but for now I feel confident that I’ve made the right decision for me.

With that said, it has afforded me a great deal of learned experience in the entire process of writing and getting published for fiction writers. (Like that plug for this blog, huh? Pretty slick, don’t you think?)

What Do You Do When the Book is Completed?
Well, if you’ve chosen to go the indie route, and you are positively, absolutely, undoubtedly sure that your book is to the best it can be, and you want to publish to Amazon Kindle, then you go to Amazon’s KindleDirect Publishing and Get Started. 

You’ll be able to:
* Enter product details
* Upload and preview book content
* Confirm publishing rights
* Enter pricing and royalty information

That’s it! Sounds simple, right? 

Make Sure Your Book is Properly Formatted

Filling out the information is a breeze, no kidding. The hard part was making sure the book was properly formatted. You will spend a good amount of time on this. You will read and re-read your work numerous times, review it in the Reviewer for layout, submit it, then realize you forgot to thank someone, or you didn’t do your dedication page, or you forgot a chapter header. Whatever, you will need to take it down and fix it, and then resubmit. Each time you submit, you go into a Review status. It can take up to 24 hours for the review to be completed and you go live. So try to have all your ducks in a row before you submit.

You’ll also have to have your cover art complete. This is separate from your interior and will require different skills. If you have your own cover art, you can upload it to the site. You will be able to review this also before submitting to go live. If you don’t have a cover yet, you can design one on this site. They have numerous templates to choose from, and from what I saw, it seemed pretty easy to do. I designed my own cover so I utilized the upload service.

Little Notes of Interest

Before you hit Save and Publish, you’ll want to make sure you’ve checked a few things, like;
* Layout and design of the interior: are you going to have a copyright page, dedication page, acknowledgements page, a poem or blurb related to the story, and/or a table of contents page as front copy? If so, look around to see what the order of those pages should be. Mine is in the order mentioned here.

 * Are you going to have any back copy? A photo? Check out this link to see how it’s done. People will know shoddy work.

 * Keywords: when they say you have up to five keywords you can choose, they don’t mean individual words. You can use a stream of words, such as; Action & Adventure, International Thriller, Rare Earth Elements, Discoveries, Mystery & Suspense. Often, people are not aware of this and choose single words that help little in placing them efficiently among the genres.

Do You Want a Hard Copy?

I wanted to make my book available in hard copy so I chose to use Createspace. It was easy enough, but I did have some trouble with my cover art. Like I said, I created my cover myself, so the specs were off from what Createspace required. I submitted it, got rejected, and resubmitted 6 times before it was finally accepted, and even then they had to tweak it a little for me. I just ordered the hard copy to proof. Once I receive it in the mail and provide my go-ahead, then my book will be live to buy as a hard copy. And it will be linked through Amazon so customers can order it there, as well.

This is the current position of my journey thus far. As new things occur I will be happy to share. Tell me about your trek through the indie published world. What worked for you? What didn’t?

Be sure to check back in a week or so when I will be discussing marketing techniques. I’m trying a few out and will let you know how they’re working for me.

Until then, I wish you all the best on your own special journeys.

Dee Ann

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Story Behind The Novel

The Consequential Element began as a way for me to bring an issue to light for friends and family that I felt was important: China’s current near-monopoly of rare earth elements and the fact that the United States is 100% reliant on their importation of these elements.
What are Rare Earth Elements?
Rare earth elements play an important role in our everyday lives, as well as in the military’s use for the security of our country. With the way the world seems to be heading at present, I felt that the focus of health care and other mainstream issues – though very important – should be shifted slightly to include this either little known or often unspoken fact.
As I started writing what was first meant to be a non-fiction book, characters began to tell the story and I soon found myself wrapped up in their lives. One in particular is Danielle (Danni) Montgomery. An amazing individual who has suffered much, but wears her battle scars proudly as a victor and not a victim. She became a woman I admired and I felt honored to tell her story.
Though the book refers to the intended main issue, it is only a part of the true nature of this novel. There are mysteries to unravel, discoveries to be found, and lessons to be learned. In the end, we all will take a little something away with us.
Do you know something about the issues discussed? Have you read The Consequential Element? What are some of the discoveries you’ve found? How about lessons learned?