Due to a major family emergency, I'm going on hiatus with this blog.
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Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Note: I'm dealing with a family medical emergency so the list is short this week. The final link, however, is a goldmine of great articles.
RHYTHM IN WRITING:
THE FOUR MOST COMMON MISTAKES EDITORS SEE:
PROMOTION: PODCASTING 101
PUBLISHING TERMS: SELL IN, SELL THROUGH, AND EARN OUT
CAUSE AND EFFECT IN WRITING:
GREAT LIST 'O LINKS:
Monday, February 7, 2011
QUESTION: I have trouble trying to figure out when to begin and end paragraphs and when to have dialogue included in the paragraph and when to have it stand on its own as an independent paragraph.
Unlike nonfiction, there are no hard and fast rules for paragraphing in fiction. Much of this is the writer's choice which is informed by experience as well as their need to emphasize certain things or break between actions.
And, surprisingly, some choices are as much visual as mental. Most readers, these days, don't like long paragraphs so many writers paragraph more frequently than did past writers.
Here are some good rules of thumb, though.
When you start with narrative followed by dialogue, the narrative should be about the person who will speak.
Adam studied the book's page then glanced back up at his friend. "Pete, we have a problem here."
If the narrative was about Pete, Adam's line would be in a new paragraph.
Pete watched his friend anxiously as he read the rule book.
"Pete, we have a problem here."
If you have a long bit of narrative, it's usually a good stylistic choice to paragraph before the character's lines. This breaks up the lines visually, and it also emphasizes the dialogue.
When you are writing a long speech by a character, you paragraph to emphasize subject, changes in subject, and the rhythm of the scene.
If you aren't sure about any of the above, read the dialogue aloud as the character would speak it. Notice when you have natural pauses. That's a good place for a paragraph break.
Dialogue shouldn't be too long, though. Break it up with a bit of narrative like
Adam shook his head in disgust and continued,
Or have other characters react or comment.
"I can't believe Pete said that. It doesn't sound like him."
For straight narrative with no dialogue, you should paragraph when the action shifts to another character.
Pete tripped but caught himself before falling flat on his face.
Behind him, the sound of Adam's running feet moved toward him, then his friend stopped at his side.
On the whole issue of paragraphing, don't be too uptight about it.
As long as the reader is clear about what is happening and the page isn't covered by long paragraphs, he won't even notice when you paragraph.
Posted by Marilynn Byerly at 10:41 AM
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
POLISHING THAT PROSE:
THIRTEEN WAYS TO BEGIN A NOVEL:
PUBLISHING TERMS: RETURNS
SAVING ON WRITER EXPENSES:
ARE BLOG TOURS WORTH THE TROUBLE?
FOLLOWING UP ON THAT SUBMISSION:
WRITING A GOOD TRANSITION:
THE SUBJECT OF A SENTENCE CAN BE MORE COMPLICATED AND TALENTED THAN YOU THINK:
HOW NOT TO WRITE THE FIRST SCENE:
STARTING A BOOK BLOG:
EBOOK FORMAT AND READER PRIMER:
KNOW WHEN YOUR CRITIQUE GROUP DOESN'T FIT:
HORROR MARKET RESOURCE:
CLUES YOU WANT YOUR DETECTIVE TO MISS:
DEALING WITH REJECTION AND THE BAD CRITIQUE:
WEBSITE STATS, HOW TO GET THEM AND WHAT THEY MEAN:
WHAT HAPPENS TO YOUR ONLINE SITES WHEN YOU DIE:
STAYING SAFE ONLINE AND PROTECTING YOUR SOCIAL NETWORK SITES:
IS WRITING ANY EASIER AFTER THAT FIRST OR SECOND NOVEL?
WHAT IS FORENSIC LINGUISTICS?
DIFFERENT TYPES OF PROMOTION:
GIVING YOUR CHARACTER MORE THAN ONE IMPORTANT CHOICE:
THE DREADED SYNOPSIS:
THE AUTHOR AND AGENCY AGREEMENT:
ADJECTIVES, TOO MANY OR TOO LITTLE ARE BOTH BAD:
FIVE WRITING RULES YOU SHOULD BREAK:
Marilynn's Workshop Schedule
Writing in the Moment, Cancelled
How to get your voice, viewpoint, and craft so perfect that you disappear and your story comes alive. Lots of worksheets.
The Blurb: Mother of All Promotions Cancelled
A blurb is the pithy description of your novel in a query letter, the short "elevator pitch" used at a writer's conference, the log line for online promotion, and the all important back cover copy for a published novel. Without a great blurb, a novel won't be noticed by agents and editors.
Marilynn Byerly--creator of a blurb system used by university publishing courses, publishers, and many authors-- will show you how to create that perfect blurb for your novel. The course will include a number of worksheets and in-class blurb analysis.
Posted by Marilynn Byerly at 2:14 PM