Six impossible things

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How it gets said #1: Word choice and phrasing

The second aspect of dialog, after “what people are talking about,” is how they talk about it. This is where the technical aspects of dialog begin to come into play: word choice, phrasing, idiom, syntax, and punctuation. That’s enough that it’s going to take me more than […]

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What gets said

There are three things to consider when writing dialog: what is said, how it is said, and what the people in the conversation are doing while something is being said. Of the three, the one that seems to get the least attention in most how-to-write books is […]

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Dialog in general

Dialog is the little black dress of fiction. Almost every story includes some, and it’s not uncommon to find dialog occupying a large chunk of important scenes. Sometimes the entire scene, or even the whole story, is done in dialog (and I’m not counting plays or screenwriting). […]

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More In the Middle

Back in July, I talked about Messing Around With Post-Its when I was three chapter into the novel, and came up with a plan for the next two or three chapters. This is an update on how that worked, and why. As a refresher, I had arranged […]

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Nonlinear process

I’ve been thinking a lot about process lately, which is common when I’m in the middle of a book. It’s especially understandable this time, because this book isn’t working the way my process usually goes. Normally, I’m very much a linear writer. I start with Chapter One […]

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Actions speak loudly

The term “action,” like many terms in writing, covers a lot of ground. Some is obvious: a chase scene is action; so is a boxing match, a brawl, a battle, a gunfight. The scene where one guy is clinging to the railroad trestle and the other guy […]

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Managing subplots?

“How do you manage your subplots?” somebody asked me a while back. “How do you decide when and where to put in a subplot scene, and how long to wait between them?” Apparently, her novel had about eight different subplots, and she was worried about going two […]

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Deteriorating quality…or not

The other day, I was talking books with a non-writer acquaintance who eventually got around to the perennial complaint about how Mr. Long-Time Professional Writer’s work has gone horribly downhill, paired with a certain amount of bewilderment as to how an experienced professional could ever make so […]

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Temporary difficulties

As with all updates, this one hasn’t gone as smoothly as I’d have liked. We know (and are attempting to fix) the problem with the site not allowing comments and the “404” error when you click the “Home” button. If people find any other errors or problems, […]

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Keeping Moving

One of the things I remember from my high school physics class is Newton’s First Law of Motion, also called the law of inertia: “An object in motion tends to remain in motion; an object at rest tends to remain at rest.” It applies to a lot […]

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