Christmas Eavesdropping

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Notes from the Field During the holidays, it's hard to concentrate on a story. But it's not hard to BE a writer. As you go to gatherings of friends and families, one thing you can do is EAVESDROP! In your story, you want dialogue to sound natural. One way to study dialogue is to just listen ...

Dialogue: Make Each Character Unique

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Dialogue, what characters say, is an important element in any story. DH, a reader here, is puzzled how to switch from one character to another. Here's an example she gave: “Hey Danielle! Come check out this new book I got!” says Viola. “Okay just a sec.” says Danielle. See, what I'm asking? I need to know what ways ...

Fiction Techniques for Nonfiction

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All those fiction techniques you've spent time mastering -- dialogue, description, setting, mood, scenes, characterization, and plot -- are equally useful in writing nonfiction. Yes, there is more leeway in nonfiction than in the last twenty-five years, but publishers still value creative nonfiction or fiction written with fiction techniques. For example, I have a new ...

Imperfect Dialogue: Making Characters Sound Real

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I’ve been reading manuscripts lately and one thing keeps jumping out at me: dialogue that is too perfect. It’s grammatically correct, perfectly punctuated. And totally unreal. Characters don’t talk that way. Kid-characters, especially, in the midst of an exciting bowling tournament or soccer or other sports games do NOT talk in complete sentences. Use Sentence Fragments for ...