Writing Dialogue

Dialogue

I think my dialogue is a bit lackluster. It’s not terrible. But it doesn’t zig. It doesn’t zag. Also, all of my characters sound pretty bland and similar. I know this isn’t the best. Each character should sound unique and have their own flavor. I’ve decided that I’m not going to let this observation slow me down. I’ll continue to write and focus on my word count for now. I can insert the vanilla dialogue as I go. Subsequently, I will work it again when I go back to edit and revise. In the meantime, I’m always reading. I’ll pay closer attention to what good dialogue looks like in the books I enjoy and glean some tips.

Oh hey? I got 1,000 words down today. My narrative is back on track. I’m headed to the gym after work and then holiday shopping. I see fast food in my future. I don’t have time for food prep today.

Taking A Writing Class

I was tinkering with the idea of taking a creative writing class next semester – a full university class in the spring semester. Lucky for me, the class was overbooked and the professor was not keen on letting me register. This worked out for the best. The price tag for taking a university class as a non-matriculated student would have been very high. Plus, I haven’t been in a college class in over a decade. I wasn’t sure if I could handle the commitment given my work schedule.

I am eager to learn though and have found a great compromise solution. I’ve signed up for two adult learning classes which are relatively cheap: Creative Writing 101 and World Building for Speculative and Genre Fiction. Each of these classes meets once per week in the evening and do not overlap. They run four weeks starting next month. The instructors are local authors. It sounds like a great opportunity to learn and network. I’m looking forward to starting!

Scene Writing the Hard Way

writing

I’ve read about 101 “how to write a novel for nitwits” books over the last few years. I’m a taurus. I make long term plans. One of the best tips has been on scene writing. Before I start a scene, I create a simple bulleted list – not even complete sentences – of ten things I want to happen in that scene. The list is roughly in chronological order. This fast brainstorming goes a long way to helping keep my thoughts focused. It helps me get the word count out! This technique is easy using Scrivener notecards / corkboard.

Scrivener

I brainstorm the notecard list on the right first. Then I let the list guide what I write in the scene. This technique is working well for me. Let me know your writing tips!

Chapter One


Today was a good day.

  • Reformatted old computer to factory settings.
  • Wrapped work holiday gifts. 
  • Got the Christmas cards out. 
  • Cut my hair. 
  • Did two loads of laundry.
  • Wrote 1638 words and finished chapter 1 of my book!

I was a writing machine today. I put some ambient accoustic music on my phone, plugged in my headphones, and typed away. And I think it’s good! Really good. I’m getting to know my characters better. I even had a dream about them.

My book project is really just a creative experiment. The journey is more important than the destination.  

Going Postal

We have a post lamp in our front yard. For years we had a green light therein on a photosensitive switch. It came on at night and went off at dawn. The bulb died a month ago, and I replaced it. The new light bulb is just a drab boring white light. Today, Dr. P noticed that the top of the shade was hanging loose. He texted me on his way to work. I went to look headed to work. The two screws which held the cap in place are gone. You can kinda see in the pic the little nub which is where they attach on each side. Who would take our screws? Would a critter have been able to unscrew two fasteners? Why would a critter want to get inside a light fixture? It’s difficult to tell if the screws fell because there is a foot of snow on the ground. So weird.

Why I Deleted My Facebook

Today is my one month anniversary facebook-free. It feels great! When I woke up on November 9, 2016, I knew it was time to give it the heave-ho. After the first week, I didn’t think about it much. I moved all of my social networking to twitter. There, it seems so much easier to customize what you see – to surround yourself with love, light, art, and creativity. If there is something I want to talk about for more than 140 characters, I do it here on my blog. There are a few folks I miss terribly who are not on twitter. I stay in touch with them via email. It’s not the same dynamic. But that’s just the way it has to be. For me, facebook had become a cesspool of hate, lies, ugly shares, and people whom I cared about acting like assholes. I’d like to think that I am a strong enough person to ignore something I see flickering on a computer screen. That I can separate text on a screen from a person who casually clicked a share button. That I can disallow ugliness from impacting my feelings about a real flesh-and-blood person whom I care about. But I can’t. I had to turn off the screen. I didn’t want to let the hate in. The beauty and harmony of my life is too important to me.

Someday I know academics will write tomes about the 2016 American presidential election. I don’t need to be a political scientist to tell you now that it ripped apart some very important, long standing social networks that I was a part of. Friendships fell apart. Family members blocked one another. Blood feuds were launched. Many podcasts pulled the plug. Not all of these things were political or related to the election. A dark cloud descended over facebook in the last year or so which the election helped turn it into a boiling cauldron of hate. I know facebook is just a tool. The humans are the problem. I get that. Perhaps I don’t need to see that deeply into some people’s psyche. I’ve got enough dark corners of my own.

The good news is that I am getting a ton of shit done! More free time is always a bonus. Social networking of all sorts can be a distraction. Keeping things simple on twitter seems to work for me. I had been spending way too much time on facebook and allowing that time sink to inhibit me from achieving some other goals. In the last thirty days I’ve attended two art and craft fairs – for the first time! – where I sold some of my creations. I have changed up my fitness regimen and have joined a gym where I swim laps two days per week. I’ve also finished my book outline and have finally gotten some words down on paper. Getting my book off the ground was my resolutions for 2016. Making some progress by December is a good thing, right? I am feeling great, re-energized. Onward and upward.

My Stones

I don’t think I’m spending enough time telling you about my kidney health! On April 1st of this year, I took an ambulance ride to the ER with a kidney stone. No, it was not an April Fools Joke. After a very painful few weeks and some unmentionable surgical procedures, I am right as rain. Since that time I have sworn off some naughty foods and haven’t taken one antacid. Popping tums like candy was one of my very bad kidney stone behaviors. The most important life change is drinking way more liquid than any person should have to. I have two very large water flasks at work that I force myself to finish each day. At home, I have the same flask that I push myself to fill and down right after dinner. Keeping the kidneys flushed with water is the best preventative measure. Stones can’t form if their microscopic kernels are continuously being washed away. Unfortunately this keeps me running to the bathroom more than a pregnant woman, and I am often getting up at night. There is no pain like kidney stone pain. I’m willing the make the trade-off. Now, I honestly get a twinge of fear if I don’t have that full “just guzzled a lot of water” feeling all day long.