In the Company of Writers: A Guide to Writing Realistic Dialogue.

companyofwritersDialogue can be one of the hardest things to learn in writing. You express much with prose, but to make your characters come alive, they have to talk, and making your characters stand out from each other can be done easily when they speak.

Some things to keep in mind when writing dialogue:

  1. Speech patterns: How do your characters talk? Accents? There are countries where a person’s social status is determined by their accent.
  2. What genre is the story? Fantasy stories, especially high-fantasy may have a more formal feel to the dialogue.
  3. If it’s a historical novel use speech patterns and language attributed to that era. Research is highly recommended for these novels.

This online article has good examples of dialogue problems.

https://blog.oup.com/2017/02/how-to-write-dialogue/

Stiff dialogue can be another problem. Long winded conversations can bore a reader especially when the dialogue is either retelling what the reader already knows or is explaining a situation. Known as “Well You Know Bob”, it’s easy to make this mistake.

http://authorkristenlamb.com/2013/12/do-you-have-as-you-know-bob-syndrome-how-writers-can-butcher-dialogue-how-to-fix-it/

In the same area is dialogue that gives too much away. This is a particular problem when the writer is working on a mystery of some kind. In reality these conversations would never be spoken as most of what is in these long speeches could easily be written or shown in the story.

http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/there-are-no-rules/keep-it-simple-keys-to-realistic-dialogue-part-i

Dialogue tags are meant to only distinguish who is saying what. If you have only two characters in your scene you can get away with pronouns (especially if they are m/f) or by occasionally mentioning the character’s name. Your dialogue tags should NEVER get in the way of the dialogue, or pull a reader out of the story.  If6

http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/there-are-no-rules/keep-it-simple-keys-to-realistic-dialogue-part-ii

Here are other great links on writing dialogue:

http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2011/07/05/25-things-you-should-know-about-dialogue/

http://www.nownovel.com/blog/fantastic-dialogue-writing-advice/

http://www.nownovel.com/blog/how-to-write-dialogue-tips/

Nail Art: The Art of Dry Brushing.

I went to ceramics with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law for about a year back when Sithboy was a baby. It was my one night to get out and I loved it. Ask me how many dragons I painted. Too many, and until recently I never thought I’d use the dry brush technique again. Who would have thought my ceramic classes would come in handy outside the class.

I was wrong.

CyberGothGrunge

CyberGoth Grunge

I call this design Cyber Goth Grunge. Done with three colours, it was probably the easiest first attempt of a nail art design I’ve done so far.

Application:

-clear basecoat

– 2 coats Essie’s Pretty Edgy

-let dry

 

cggpaint

[l-r] Pretty Edgy, Blanc, 7th Inning Stretch

Here’s where the fun begins. Starting with Essie’s Blanc, I scraped off as much polish on the rim of the bottle as I could. Two or three scrapes at least. I dragged the brush across the polished nail from top to end until I was satisfied with the amount. For this design, think less is more. I then used OPI’s 7th Inning Stretch (which is a nice dark, blue shimmer) the same way as the white. The good thing about this, the two design colours will dry quickly so you don’t have to worry about one colour running into the other. Finish it off with a topcoat and you’re all set! This is by far the easiest nail art I’ve done so far. I did add some neon pink on one, but it changed the overall ambiance of the design so I kept to the three colours. I’ve seen some videos where they’ve used for or more and it still looks good.

A Wiccan Journey: Sigils

symbols-of-the-four-elements-800pxAs a Wiccan, you learn there are many ways to cast a spell. All involve raising energy, direction/focus and intent, but simpler ways such as herbalism and crystals can introduce a beginner to a larger world.  Another simple way to create magic is with the use of sigils.

(https://www.howtopronounce.com/sigil/)

I’d heard of sigils a while back, but as I was too caught up in crystal work, I didn’t want to split my focus on two separate projects. Simply put, a sigil by definition is “a sign or image supposedly having magical power” [Dictionary.com, http://www.dictionary.com/browse/sigil]. It can be as small as a two letter word or a rudimentary drawing; the power with sigils lies in the focus and intent in which it was made.

Sigils are a very personal and are unique to the person who creates them. The image represents the goal and/or desire of its creator and is infused with the user’s personal energy.  Some use it in place of incantations or phrases. Because sigils are so personal there is no one way to create them, but the one thing they all have in common is the resulting image is unique to the creator. I have found a couple sites where you can ‘borrow’ an already made image but I feel this detracts from the intent. These pre-made sigils are however, good to use for examples if you are new to learning and creating them.

You can etch your sigil onto anything you wish to infuse with power; a candle, on paper, or if you are very creative, you could create an amulet and keep the sigil on you at all time. Infuse protection herbs with the power of a sigil by placing a small quantity of herbs on one drawn on parchment (this would be a good spell with moon magic).

Creating a sigil is simple. Focus on your intent and write that intent down. You’re your statement or word strong; no wishes or hopes. It must be focused. Cross out the vowels and then remove any duplicate consonants. Here the creation of sigils can vary. Traditionally, you would combine the letters unto an icon (see examples in the links below), but there are several techniques for the final step, including an online site that uses vector charts. A sigil can be as detailed or as simple as you want. There is no wrong way to create one.

This site uses a vector chart and numbers.

http://sigilscribe.me/

The Rose Cross Sigil creator

https://wisdomsdoor.com/wb/hwb-sigil.php

For more information, I’ve included several links that will give you more insight into the practise and creation of sigils.

https://sacredhandscoven.wordpress.com/2014/08/05/witches-tools-sigil-magick-in-witchcraft/

https://www.paganspath.com/magik/sigil.htm

This link contains colour coordination with sigils.

https://goddesshasyourback.com/2014/04/13/how-to-make-your-own-personal-sigils/

Movie Night: Suicide Squad.

SuicideSquadIMBd Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1386697/

Rating: PG-13

Synopsis:  A secret government agency recruits some of the most dangerous incarcerated super-villains to form a defensive task force. Their first mission: save the world from the apocalypse.

Review:  I was skeptical about watching this movie. I’d heard it didn’t get very many favorable reviews (bloated cast) and something about the majority of Leto’s scenes cut out, but Husband picked it up and there was nothing on television.

I have to admit, I liked this movie.

Now I’m not a DC fan, and I think they do better on the small screen (The Flash, Arrow, Gotham, etc) and I think they’ve rebooted Superman and Batman more times than Marvel has rebooted The Hulk, but this movie didn’t make me reach for my tablet half way through to start playing Candy Crush. It took a bit to get started; explaining who each character was (for those who don’t read the comic), but unlike other movies I’ve seen it didn’t get bogged down with extra detail and explanation.  Once the action started it didn’t stop and the villain didn’t suffer from what I call ‘Terminator Syndrome’ (where the villain keeps coming back after we think he/she is dead). I was a bit confused as to why the joker was even in this movie, as he served no point other than being back story and a failed rescue attempt. A large cast ensemble can work; and it does in this movie. Each member of the squad was useful and served a bigger purpose. IF they make a sequel, I’d watch it. I might even pay money to see it at the movies. There was one plot hole that Husband caught, but other than that, I think he liked it too.

 

4 out of 5

Of Writers and Prose: Do All Stories Need Romance?

Quill-And-Ink-Line-Art-300pxI once had a beta ask me when two characters were ‘getting together’. It caught me by surprise because I had no plans for any romance to take place between these two, and I didn’t think I’d written anything to suggest there would be. Naturally, I started playing around with the idea that maybe a romance should happen. After all, romance is a big seller and there’s nothing wrong with a little nookie every now and then, right?

Uh . . . maybe?

Look, I have nothing against romance (I used to DEVOUR Harlequin novels), but I don’t/can’t/won’t write it (I’ve tried), and I HATE it when it’s forced on characters simply to make a sale. Romance in a non-romantic story needs to be organic; a secondary element that doesn’t overshadow the plot. Is the main character in your crime drama falling for a suspect? That’s an awesome tension-builder and can cause conflict between them, but you need to remember why he/she is there – a crime. I’m not a fan of any romance in zombie/end-of-world scenarios either, at least not during the mayhem that reigns supreme in the first few weeks/months of said apocalypse (don’t get me started on the whole Carol/Daryl thing). For me, the idea that life as we know is on the verge of going bye-bye is NOT a good time to hit that ol’ charm button for another survivor. Would YOU be thinking sex during an apocalypse?

I’m not saying it’s a bad idea, just realise that if romantic feelings do occur between your characters, make it valid and not something you think will let you sell more books or list your book in more categories. Allow them to flirt a little or look longingly when they don’t think the other is looking. Better yet, if they do end up getting close, have them in a platonic relationship. Two people who become good friends is just as good as plausible as romance. As a matter of fact, it might be a breath of fresh air.

A Darke Kind of Beauty: Summer colours and shades.

It’s that time of year, folks. Time to pick out my colour palette for the summer. Now I’m IN LOVE with Kat von D products and I love her eye shadow quads and I’m finding I love quite a few of her products.

I wore the plum quad all spring with Kat von D’s Everlasting Liquid Lipstick “Berlin” (a warm rose tone). I don’t go over-board like you see on some of those tutorials on YouTube. This is how I do it for work. I haven’t done anything for an evening out, probably a darker or more purple for the eyes and a more red lipstick.

‘SAGE’ – Kat von D eyeshadow quad.

I plan on using Kat’s SAGE for summer because I LOVE the green in this.

I’m unsure about a colour for my lips. I did some research and found the main seven (yes, seven) colours for summer 2017 are as follows:

 

-cherry red

-dusty pink

-deep plum (personally, I’d wear that in winter)

-fuchsia pink

-a punchy red (think tropical punch fruit drink)

-rosey pink

– bright orange (they’re calling it an ‘electric’ orange)

-wine

– and a clear gloss.

That’s a wide range of colour for just about any skin tone. Not too sure about the orange thought, at least not on me. I like reds, so I’m torn between a cherry and a punchy. I’ll have to compare the colours with the eye shadow pallet and see what I like. Sephora has an app that lets me ‘test’ the colours, but nothing is as good as putting it on.

Writing Update: May 26th, 2017.

writingupdateOne thing I never hear from fellow writers is, they never run out of ideas. As it is with me. If you look at all the WIPs I have, you could say I’m working on six at any given time. That doesn’t include scripts either.

WIP Novel #1: EarthenStone

I haven’t worked on this story since last month, so no update for it.

WIP Novel #2: Survival Rules (plaque/zombie)

No update.

WIP Novel #3: Cashe (cyberpunk)

No update.

WIP Novel #4: Untitled Alternate Reality

No update.

WIP Novel #5: Arlington Creed, Detective (Steampunk)

No update.

WIP Novel #6: Down Finnegan’s Hollow (Thriller)

Oh yeah, all over this one again. I haven’t touched it since my little incident with the bus stop sign, but it’s one of two that is complete (the other is my Gothic story that I put on hold because I’m not sure what to do with it). I’ve been working a lot the last month at ‘job that pays’, so I’m only able to revise a few pages at a time. I’ve also come up with a more plausible ‘death’ element. I’m also trying to make it more creepy. I want the reader’s mind to play tricks on them when the put the book down, or maybe jump a little when they hear a strange sound. I’m half way through the manuscript. If I keep working on it, two pages per day (as that seems to be all I have time for) I could have this revised by the end of June. I’ll have to go over it once more, to make sure the old ‘death element’ is not mentioned and that the new plot idea merges with the rest of the story. I’d be looking at the end of September as a deadline for both revisions.

Not even looking at my scripts. I am so behind on those.

Blogs:

I’m getting better with my blog post. I have idea’s marked out for the rest of the year. I don’t try to push myself. If I don’t have an idea, I won’t force it. I just let that post go and hope I can find something else to write about. I missed a few last month, but I think I got them all done for May and June looks pretty complete too.

How about you? How has your writing been progressing? Anything exciting you want to spill?

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