Characterization Through Dialogue

This is something that I see debated often and probably will continue to be a topic of discussion; I think because there isn’t any one right answer. Odd characters are fun to write so writers like to create them. And odd character often speak in odd ways. Or if you’re trying to portray a certain group or character by their/the character’s speech pattern, trying to make them stand out, dialogue is one way to do that.

But as K.M. Weiland notes in the post below, if you use slang, or even odd speech ticks, I agree, that a little goes a long way. Part of the reason for this is you don’t want the reader to stop and have to really look at a word(s) to try and interpret what you’re trying to say. Text should flow easily through the readers mind. An odd word here and there probably isn’t an issue, but if you make the reader stop too often, they may decide they need to unload the dishwasher instead of continuing to read your book!

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Authors need to get the nuances of slang in dialogue right, because smart readers will always recognize phony speech patterns.

Source: Slang in Dialogue: Use It Sparingly – Helping Writers Become Authors

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How To Get Libraries To Buy Your Book

Rebecca Langley lays out a specific list of to-do tasks to try and get your book into libraries. It’s not for the marketing faint of heart, but if you can get in, libraries are all over this country.

Getting into your local library is probably easier than what she describes. Knowing your librarians and finding out what they might be looking for for their patrons is helpful. Just ask. Rebecca is right, it’s all about getting patrons in the door.

She doesn’t mention audio books. Having your book as an audio book is also another plus. Findaway voices is a new service that puts your audio book on multiple formats (including audible).

And look at that list of reviewers (Library Journal, Kirkus, PW, Booklist…) early in your writing process. Many free reviews require the book 3 months before publication. You can send them an ARC (advanced reader copy), so that is helpful. But you’ll have to plan ahead. I know once your book is done, you really want to get it out, but getting your book reviewed by a few of these companies can go a long way in selling more books. I know I wish I had done this for a couple of my books.

And speaking of reviews, you’ll want a decent number (10-20+?) of reviews on Amazon before you do any marketing. Librarians look at Amazon too.

Best of luck!

Stay safe!
Christine

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Library books have a longer shelf life than in bookstores, and they get more action, because there’s no financial risk for the inquisitive reader.

Source: How To Get Libraries To Buy Your Book

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11 Secrets to Writing an Effective Character Description 

I haven’t posted in a while. I think covid is having more of an effect on me than I thought. There are a few things in my life that I’m having trouble doing – blogging is one of them. Unfortunately, exercising is another, along with a desire to write. But I saw this post and thought I’d share Rebecca McClanahan’s thoughts on character development. It’s an old post, but I don’t think character development has changed that much. Rebecca makes some good points.

Hope you’re writing life is fairing better than mine in these strange times.

Take care!

Christine
(p.s. I would change one word in the Carole Stivers quote – I would use critique vs criticism. I don’t think criticizing a work in progress is helpful to anyone.)

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11 secrets to keep in mind as you breathe life into your characters through effective character description, including physical and emotional description.

Source: 11 Secrets to Writing an Effective Character Description – Writer’s Digest

The Comprehensive Guide to Finding, Hiring, and Working with an Editor 

Chantel Hamilton is an editor and guest writer on Jane Hamilton’s blog. Her post is a comprehensive discussion about book editing that I would recommend reading if you have any questions about editing. The only thing I disagree with is she says that other writers can not help you with your writing. I think maybe what she meant was other writers shouldn’t be asked to edit your manuscript.

Other writers can definitely help you with your writing. That called a critique group and critique groups can be very beneficial. But in a critique group, your fellow writers aren’t editing, per se. They may catch punctuation and grammar items but they are looking at your piece for the more obvious things: “This sentence confused me.”  “Above you have him in the hallway, now he appears in the bathroom. How did he get there?”  “Who is saying this?” “You changed POV here.” And they help keep you writing and praise you when you do something they enjoy – which is always nice :).

Granted, these are all things an editor may tell you, but an editor will go through your piece in more detail than a fellow writer. Editors also have a view of your whole piece in their mind. When they are reading chapter 10, they may think “Didn’t the author say this in chapter 2?” They may have to go back and confirm that, but even copyediting is not looking at just what is in the page in front of them; it’s keeping the whole piece in their mind to some degree.

And a writer might be able to edit your book, but most would not want to, even if you paid them. It takes a lot of time and effort to do that and most writers want to spend that time and effort editing (revision) their own stuff. Editors may also be writers (as I am), but an editor wants to edit. It’s their job, and if they are good, they enjoy it. And as Chantel mentions, editors have had training in the “rules” and are very familiar with the standard style guides (Chicago Manual of Style – CMS – and the Associated Press style guide – AP – are the two most common, though there are others).

Note: Even though Chantel defines 4 different types of editing, make sure you understand your editor’s definition of the type of edit they think (or you think) you need. There is some variation out there for these definitions. As long as you both understand what is going to happen, then you should be good to go.

p.s. I think most editors will do a sample copyedit for you for free. It won’t be a long edit, but enough to allow you to compare different editor’s styles. I recommend it when trying to whittle down your editor prospects.

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This post explains four critical types of book editing, why you need an editor, how to choose one, and what your editor can and cannot do.

Source: The Comprehensive Guide to Finding, Hiring, and Working with an Editor | Jane Friedman

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Pricing your ebook at a discount: Why do it, when, and how to promote 

By Flash Alexander via Pixabay

Here are some suggestions about how to price your ebook and why it might be a good idea to have an occasional sale!

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There are a number of benefits to pricing your ebook at a discount or for free. If you’re aiming to attract new readers and ultimately increase sales, here’s what to do…

Source: Pricing your ebook at a discount: Why do it, when, and how to promote | For Authors | The Fussy Librarian

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12 Ways to Be an Invisible Writer 

Are you an “invisible writer”?

What does it mean to be invisible as you write? Or more accurately, as the post notes, what does it mean to be invisible as you edit. Don’t worry about these 12 things as your creating your story. It is something to look at once you’re done with your first draft, during the rewrite process. Actually, farther in on the rewrite process.

When I’m editing a client’s manuscript, this is something I see fairly often and a surefire thing to diminish the reader experience. I get push-back sometimes when I make suggests to change some of these things, and I can’t make someone make a manuscript change that they don’t want to make. I know sometimes it feels like you have to explain everything to the reader – to make sure they understand – but most times being less obvious is better. (Like, less is more.) Readers like to figure things out on their own. I know I do.

Of course, It’s easier to see when I haven’t written the piece myself. Harder for me to see in my own writing – which is another reason to always have someone else edit your story, someone who knows what to look for such as an editor or another writer.

Take a look at Tim Storms 12 things…

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Once the author becomes visible, the enchantment of the story dissolves. These 12 things can ruin the illusion for the reader. Become an invisible writer.

Source: 12 Ways to Be an Invisible Writer | Craft Articles

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How and Why to Write Your Back-Cover Synopsis Early 

Tim Storm gives some good examples of the ever-difficult back cover blurb for fiction and deconstructs them.

I heard someone say once, write 5-10 different version of the same blurb, then narrow down from there. I agree. Narrow down to 3-4 and share with people you know who read. Ask them, “Which one would make you want to pick up this book?”

I have never done this step early, but I do agree that, just like writing your elevator pitch early, it will help you focus as you write. Or when you’re editing, it will help you know what you can cut.

Thanks Tim!

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The back-cover synopsis lays out the book’s premise and piques reader interest. Here’s how and why you should write one early and often.

Source: How and Why to Write Your Back-Cover Synopsis Early | Craft Articles

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Your Writing Community 

from mythic scribes

In Jane Friedman’s blog, Susan DeFreitas writes a guest post on the advantages of a writing community to spur your writing and support you when you need it most. I think even more so, a writing community makes you a better writer, especially if you’re able to connect with a critique group of good writers. Remember, you’ll only be as good as the best writer in your group, so choose your group wisely.

Do your critique members have a published book(s)? How well does that book(s) do in the reviews? Of course, your critique mates don’t all have to be published authors, but someone who has made it through the whole process (traditional or self-publishing, it matters not) will know more about the craft than someone who hasn’t.

And you’ll always learn something by reading and commenting on someone else’s work, in addition to reading the comments of other on that same piece.

And if you join a group that doesn’t seem to be working for you, politely bow out. You’ll be doing everyone a favor. No one does good work if they don’t want to be somewhere.

But where to find a critique group?

Ask around, of course. Look on facebook in your area. Join online writing groups and ask if anyone has an opening in their critique group. Ask on Linkedin writers groups. Ask at writing conferences (when those are a thing again – Ug!). I’m sure there are Instagram writers groups too, though I’m not on Instagram so I have no clue. I know you can find writers on twitter. Most of my writing friends are on twitter. I would suggest looking for a group that is writing in your genre, but maybe that is obvious.

Take a look at Susan’s post and she what wisdom she has to share.

Hang in there, everyone!

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Don’t feel like you have to go it alone—others are on the same journey, ready to offer encouragement and applaud your hard-earned victories.

Source: Developing a Writing Practice, Part 2: Community | Jane Friedman 

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