Dialogue and You

Many writers don’t understand how dialogue works in screenplays, novels or TV

How many of you are blogging to just pontificate?

Tonight I want to talk to the writers out there who are struggling with dialogue.

If you have not been introduced to the concept of the SFD allow me to ‘splain’ it to you.

The first thing you write is the ‘Shitty First Draft.’  Own it!

I wrote Under Roswell four years ago and just recently re-wrote it.  Writing over 30 novels since that one, I have learned a thing or two.  There is no reason in the world that book should now not be a real contender in the science fiction genre.  Before the re-write oh hell yes.

When you write something and cannot find fault with it, you are blissfully ignorant and that might be ok.

Firstly, when you write you need to create a character or characters that your readers will either hate or love.  They must relate to them or your story will go nowhere.  We do this through dialogue and by that I mean dialogue that ‘shows’ the story.

Dialogue is really about action, not backstory or characterization.

“Lexy you soppy bitch! You have been doing this same stupid drunk bullshit for years now.  Your life is spiraling down the tube and when you hit bottom, you will have pissed off all of your friends including me. When the hell will you learn to take responsibility for your actions and stop blaming everyone else?”

That dialogue tells you plenty, very cleverly I might add.  You the reader will read on because I have not said this:

“You know Paul, your friend has this drinking problem which has been going on forever.  Her car ends up with new dents every day, and she blames people hitting it in the parking lots.  She is constantly out of money calling on all of her friends for handouts.”

“Dave your right, do you realize that she has pissed off most of her friends that she had years ago?  Now when they see her number pop up they just ignore it.  You can’t blame them, really.”

“No, of course, you can’t blame them for Christ’ sake, nobody wants to listen to some drunk drone on about how she is a victim and have you got a few extra dollars they can borrow just to see them through to they find another job?”


Shit, those three bits of dialogue brought me down and I am creating it. How many books have you set down because of crap like that?

We feel sorry for Lexy but we can identify with her and can relate to the person who is frustrated with her trying to give her a jolt or perhaps is going to haul her sorry ass into some recovery program.  In the last exchange between Dave and Paul, we get bored rather quickly and depressed as these two guys are just jacking their jaws about their drunk friend.

Dialogue should be dynamic, moving fluid and action-filled.

When Dave confronted Lexy after tossing the bottle of scotch out the window, Lexy cried when she heard the glass bottle shattering on the street below.  She had sold blood to buy it, and he foolishly tossed it away!

Dave cares for her and is trying to make an impact.  We see her desperation when we learn she sold blood to buy scotch.

This subject may hit too close to home for some and for that reason, such a story might be of interest to those who are dealing with addicted loved ones.

That brings up the next point…Emotions.

I don’t give a flip how intellectual you are or what your IQ might be.  Your characters have to resonate with your readers and using large words that only a few might know is not the way to get there.  I am guilty of this to some extent, as I write science fiction.  In my latest novel which I am working on, I reference a Pulsar.  My audience will know what that is but, some of you reading this blog might not.

As a writer, you must connect with your audience and that means know who that audience is.  My science fiction audience I can use larger words with because they will most probably have that latitude in their vocabulary, and will not be slowed.

If I am writing for YA, I would probably guard against overly large words.  Writing for a 7th-grade education is probably one of the toughest things I do as a writer.  I am updating this blog, weeks after I wrote it, as I learned something else about this topic.

Some write for a third-grade education.  Huh?  Is that smart?  Do we want to make it too easy for our readers?  Personally, I think it is a sad statement that in order to sell our works we must keep it to a third-grade reading level.

One professor teaches that your readers are smarter than you are. “Cough … Bullshit!”

Some of my audience is smarter than I am, but…  I know, not humble…sorry I am not humble.

A smart writer knows who their audience is and writes for them.  Romance writers, for example, do what?  They put lots of emotion into their ‘dialogue.’  Why?  A large percentage of romance readers are who? Not men.  Erotica is probably men, a pure knight on the white horse coming to scale the castle walls and take on the kings men…that is going to be ladies.  Just the facts ma’am.

Yes dammit, we want to make you cry, or laugh.

So how does dialogue work with many characters?

Each character must have its own voice.  What do I mean when I say that?

Lexy is a person who took to drinking for whatever reason and now is near the bottom of the barrel. What happened to her that she did that?  Perhaps she lost someone important to her.

If we make the reader care about Lexy, then we have the emotional investment.  We also have to realize who the audience is and tailor the story for them.

For argument’s sake, if she were a street person who managed to be at the right place at the right time and found Mr. Right.  Yes, the pretty woman saga.  They are living high having a great old time until an old boyfriend finds her.  “Does he realize where you come from?  You better play this right you still owe me money.”

“I am not asking him for money Joey.  Look, what we had didn’t work out, I fucked so many people for you… now just let me be.  I have a shot at a life!”

“Bitch, you might clean up pretty, but you’re still trash from the south side.  You will always be trash, but you are my trash, and don’t ever forget it!”

Now we suddenly care about her.  We see that she is trying to pull herself out of the hole she has been in.  We want her and the rich guy to hit it off, and we love happy endings.

How will Joey play into this?

Each character has their own voice and they also have their own vocabulary.  I was at a seminar where we were told to actually do a Myers Briggs profile on each character and keep it handy so your Joey’s and Lexy’s and whoever is consistent not only with their vocabulary but their personality traits.

We can have Dave and Paul take Joey out and skin him alive but since this is a blog about ‘dialogue’ I will leave you the reader to come up with an ending.
“let me know how it turns out..” 🙂

Depending on what you are writing, whether it is for film or novels will depend not only on the amount of dialogue you write but, the kind as well.

I like internal conflict, science fiction type stories and I like naughty stories.  I write for the intellectual and I write for those readers who would like to bring some fantasy to life through my words.

If I were writing a screenplay, my dialogue would be different from that of a novel.  My story would be more action for the eyes and fewer words for the ears.

Instead of, “You know you want me.  You know you want to feel my flesh under your hands.  I don’t know why you enjoy treating me like that but when you do it just makes me so …fucking horny I can’t stand it.”

“You like it because you know you are going to get your reward.  You know I am going to fuck you so hard that you will scream for me to stop, and then you will beg for more!  What will you do for me? Will you submit to my ways?”

Instead of that, I would have this half-naked guy standing in a dimly lit room, with his foot on a chair.  The smoke from his cigarette would curl up past his chiseled chin.  His shirt would be unbuttoned and we could detect a bulge in his pants.  He might be holding a small leather paddle or possibly one of those lovely floggers that they sell at Adam & Eve.

As she walks into the room, she pauses to see him standing there.  The camera pans up from her ruby red high heels, up past her long legs to her short skirt.

The dialogue would now be something like this. “So you heard that I have been naughty?”

The rest would be action.

Who is your audience?

What kind of writer are you?

Give your audience or readers the credit they deserve in figuring out where you are going with the story.  Many of you still have your mind stuck in that last scene, don’t you?.

Read Nudist of Shangri-La if you want a naughty little romp with Judy dealing with her demons.

Screenwriting is about 80% writing for the visual effects, and 20 for us to hear or the audience to hear.

I think it would be fun to write a screenplay or even for a film.  Which are you? Are you a novelist or are you a visual person? I like the idea of film as that tends to be created more off the lot, or on location. I like the idea of filming on location and writing for that. Can you imagine the work that went into Lord of the Rings?

I have over 30 novels under my belt and have several projects in the works as I type this blog for you.  I think it important to give back to the writing community and that is why I do this blog.

Here I share my successes and failures.  I also try to educate you by telling you what I did to fix the screw-ups.

If you wish to contribute in any way, might I suggest that you share this blog with your readers, who you know might appreciate what I am writing?  That accomplishes three things.

  • You are paying it forward by assisting your followers or writers.
  • You are getting something out of it.
  • You are assisting me in getting some more followers so I have a valid reason to spend my time casting these pearls out upon the winds.

I have a day job and I write.  My goal is to have one of my novels, just one, go viral.

Many of you have already read my work and I do appreciate it.  Those checks that come in from Amazon around the world are the thing that keeps me pushing forward.  Running the analytics, I look at what is selling and what is not.  I then try to figure out why?

Under Roswell had lackluster performance, and I did not understand why until I read it again.

I had made many of the mistakes that rookie writers make.  I rewrote it from the ground up.  The story and the plot were too predictable, so I added a computer that has a loose screw, and is not exactly of good character.  This Robot can and does get into the heads of those around it, and has them do things that it can feel.  For instance, it had a couple make love where the computer could sense both of their orgasms at the same time!

‘It is an alien computer so our understanding of how computers work is not what the aliens created.’

Nothing like a little AI in the bedroom…LOL

As always I love feedback, comments and so on.

I truly am here to assist other writers so don’t be afraid to stop by and say hello.

Much love people.  It is late and I need to get up in the morning.  I have more to say on Dialogue at a future date.  If you find this interesting, please let me know.

Chow!

Interview with AuthorTWScott

Are we on the same page?

Hello… I hope you are doing well.

One of my followers wrote and asked me some questions.

How do you take an idea, to a published novel, that people will wait in line to buy?” 

I tell people all the time to write for the passion of writing, not for fame and fortune, as the latter is a road fraught with frustration and disappointment.  Since I started this journey, I have taken learning this craft to heart.

Years ago I used to play golf.  I sucked at it. However; business executives complete many business deals on those green stretches of land.  Needing to be ‘acceptable,’ I had to get my average score, 100 or lower.

Put another way, I had to be less sucky.  It didn’t hurt for them to win, but I needed to at least be a contender.

Finding a pro, I spent hours learning the game, body mechanics and so forth, until I identified my weak points, and I had a target.  Once I had an aim to shoot for (in this case my five iron), I went to a ‘par-three’ course and only used the five iron.  I drove, pitched and putted, with that five iron until it went from my worst club to one I was not afraid of using.

I take the craft of writing, painting, playing the guitar, and what have you, with that same raw determination.

I feel like a broken record when I say the following.  The novels I have written were fishing expeditions to see who bought what.

I enjoy writing, but after reading what I have over the years; I thought to make money with this talent was not a bad idea.  How?  How do you turn a passion into dollars?  I would argue that you follow the path I have been on.  Supply to the customer what they want.

E.L. James, author of 50 shades is worth 80 million. In this modern-day, what author does that and how?

I read her books as if taking apart a watch, which I must put back together.  What could I learn from her books?  Why are people buying them?

One of my twitter followers described herself in her bio as a “cyber slut.”

“What the hell, why does she do that?” I researched her, to find that she models on a webcam for men (or women) who will pay to watch her.

There is a somewhat darker side to this which I hesitate to mention.  Some people will pay per minute, to have the model watch them… perform…  I find this disturbing on the #metoo level of disturbing but… I am not judging them. I don’t understand that behavior but again…deny who you are, and your behavior can skew from your programming.

“Did I say programming…?  Another blog for another day but, yes I did…”

That is an underbelly of the internet I was unaware of but, it was also a story.  A story I wrote called Cyber Subs.  Cyber from the world of the internet, and Subs from the world of BDSM. (50 shades stuff)

Yes, that novel sells well, and it sells in the UK more than any other place.  “Why?”  If you folks know, give me a hint.  I suspect that it has something to do with our Puritan heritage, but I might be all wet.

The material sells it but, why the UK more than the US?  That is still a mystery.  That novel has been pirated, and you can find it on web sites in countries, which I cannot make heads or tails of the language.

Lesson One…

Always write under a pen name as your neighbors and friends might take objection to what you write.  You need to keep your private life, separate from your writing life until you are E.L.JAMES rich, then you hire security guards.  With that kind of money, your family will be in your back pocket…LOL, Those that still judge you, or who are jealous of you and speak poorly of you, are toxic, and you don’t need them in your life. True with me, your mileage might vary.

My passion is Science fiction.  Knowing physics and science, I can write a story that people will want to read.  My best-selling novel is The Saga of the Starduster.  That novel sells well around the world.  I incorporate modern-day issues, as our characters cannot have it too easy, or everything is lovely.  That is boring.  They must have challenges to overcome, and they must have flaws. It is also a wonderful way to “arc” your characters and your story.

*Of all the books you have written which one do you like the most within each style? 

Knowing I do not stay away from controversial subjects, in fact, I gravitate toward them in my writing, my favorite novel is a book about falling in love with another woman.

Donna lost her husband at a young age and withdraws from life and hides her emotions.  She conceals them behind her work as a tough bitch English professor until fate plays a role.  Diamond Joe is by far my favorite novel, of the over thirty on the market today. If you can handle two women loving each other, I recommend reading that one.  I am working on the cover art, so I will also offer it in paperback shortly.

Saga of the Starduster is wonderful in the science fiction genre, and I love Kelly McGuire in my action genre as Presidential Assassins.  While Diamond Joe is YA, the rest are Adult reads.

Many of you have discovered others that I thought were wonderful including The Girl Nextdoor. With well over 30 novels and that number grows quarterly you have plenty of choices to choose from.

*How many books have you written?

Well over 30, I am not even sure at this point.  When assessing who you are, “enlightenment” figuring out your gifts, and your shortcomings are paramount to growing as a human.  One of my gifts is, I write fast.  In the literary world, I am known as a pantster. Literally, it means I write by the seat of my pants.  I can do this as I write fast.  Those that are much more pragmatic, or dogmatic in their writing might be known as plotters, which means, they might want to use a program like Scrivener to keep their thoughts together as they write.

*Do you have a literary agent? 

No, I have spoken with several, and I have friends that are agents.  From the query letter process to a contract is a long road, again fraught with peril.

There are people in this trade who we call predators.  These people cannot make it as writers, so they use their craft to “assist others” for pay.  ‘Those who can do, those who can’t teach.’  I would remember that adage as I sought to purchase help. If they are worth their salt, why are they trying to earn money from you?

While I paint this picture with a broad brush, even the most skeptical among you know that there is more truth to that statement than fiction.

  • With an agent, it is all about “who they know.”
  • Do they know an editor that will take a chance on your work?
  • Does this editor know a publisher that when refined, will buy your manuscript?
  • Who have they published before?
  • An author should never have to pay anyone to get their work published. That rule is one worth remembering.

Not all that offer to assist you for money are predators but, buyer beware. The horror stories I have heard could fill a large book about what not to do.

Why do we call them predators?

They have us at a disadvantage.  Sitting through my first critique session I was coy knowing what to expect.  Other writers want to prove their prowess by ripping your shit apart. Not all, but many.  Especially if you are successful, they want to prove to themselves that they are better than you are.

(Think I am wrong?  I found a typo in Robert Mckee’s book Story. For a few seconds, it thrilled me, and then I was ashamed of myself for feeling that way.  We all do it.)

I know this about human nature.  On a return flight from California, I saw under me hundreds of wind turbines.  Creating a short story in my head called Tipping Point, that evening I wrote a ten thousand word short story in about three hours, created the cover art in another hour and published it that night before I went to bed.

I gave it away on Kindle unlimited for the value of the story, not the literary genius.  Yes, I did the basic edits but, not the fine detail one might do before submitting to an agent or publisher.

Many of you read it, and nobody said too much.  It was a lunchtime read.  I got some science geeks that read it, picking my story apart on the scientific claims, but nobody said anything about the literary constructs.

(Yes, the wind is a product of weather and from the sun, mostly, the jetstream is not, science geek people.)

I handed it to my cohorts in that format, not touching it.  Days later, they all looked like the cat that ate the canary as they approached the table waiting to pounce.  I knew what was coming but, this was a learning process, not so much for me, but for them.

Critique partners must be synergistic!

Creating a group of people who you can trust and work with takes time to build those relations.

One of them scolded me for publishing something so crude.  Another did not like so much of it, the paper was red.  FFS!… I chuckled to myself as this was not unexpected.  Drawing the ire of one, pleased me as the writing evoked emotions which all of your writing should, unless you are not writing fiction.

One of the others upon leaving the table said and I quote…”I thought they were far too nice!”

This was what I hoped for.  This person allowed their feelings to be exposed, and this is what needed addressing.

During this process, you do not want to tear down your fellow writers, but build them up. I always look for what they did correctly before I even think about making suggestions which I think would be helpful.  This is what any of your fellow readers, critiques etc. should be doing.  This is what you should do when you assist a fellow writer.

A few of them were not in the “how shitty is this?” camp, and offered some salient advice.  These people earned my respect that day.  Since then, the rest have but, it has been a procedure.  One advised me that the story deserved to be more than a short story.  Now you can read Earths Tipping Point on Kindle Unlimited for Free and it is almost 100,000 words if memory serves. Enjoy it!

Now, back to the main question of predators, we as the creators of our story don’t have the objectivity we need to discern our trash from our treasure. If we wrote it, then it is gold.  We know with the help of this person, we will be on the NYT bestseller list.  PFFFT!   Don’t fall for it.

Folks, I did not need the humbling by my friends at that table, what I needed was honesty.  I know that my work could use a fresh perspective, and that is why I offer you the reader the ability to communicate with me through the website, or this blog.

*Do you do your own marketing? 

Yes, I had to teach myself everything about it which, again if you read the first part of this response you know that it was from trial and error.  Social media is a critical part, and that is something you should be all over when you first think you want to write.

Marketing involves much more than social media.  They did not ask about cover art, and that is a subject tied to marketing and needs to be addressed, as it is paramount, your cover is of a quality that will sell your work.

*Are you self-publishing through Amazon or anyone else?

Yes, Amazon gets the bulk of my business, but I also do business with Smashwords.  Smashwords will upload your work to multiple different vendors including Apple, Barnes & Noble and the list goes on.  Smashwords is a booger bear to work with. Their interface (meaning your book formatting) must be perfect, and that can be tough.

The process is arduous, and their method of allowing your work into their “premium catalog” adds to the difficulty.  If I were them I would spend the money and time to fix their “meat grinder” as Draft to Digital has.  If you want to capture the market share, your interface must be easy to use, while friendly to the non-programmer. Amazon and Draft to Digital understand this.

We are writers, not programmers.  This again sets us up as targets for the predators out there who know how to format your novel to pass by the meat-grinder. I am a capitalist, but I don’t want to pay for services that I can do with a little time and patience.

I now use a program called Vellum, which by far is the best way to create and format your manuscript. Vellum only works on MAC which makes it an expensive proposition if you are a PC person like me.  I now own two Macs and several PC’s.

*Who does your editing?

Editors charge around $30 an hour, and there are several kinds of editors from line editing to compositional editing.  You could drop over $1000 to get a professional editor.  I would ask for references before I plunked down that kind of money.

There are multiple respectable tools on the market, starting with the grammar checker built into word.  From there, I like Grammarly, and there is also a tool called ProWritingAid.

Nothing makes up for talent, and that you must gain from doing, and learning.  If your passion is writing, then prepare to be humbled as you forge your way through the valleys of despair and rejection, while looking for that one good phrase to encourage you to push forth.

Yes, that is a golf analogy…One good shot keeps you returning for more humbling, again and again. 

I try to get friends and family to read my work and comment.  Realizing they are not editors and might fancy themselves as grammar Nazis, there is a fine line between proper punctuation and your voice.  I would rather hang a participle than lose my voice.

*Are any of your books on audio?

Not yet.  If I find someone who can read well, with plenty of inflection, I might try to work a deal with them.  I know a lady who does voice work, and she and I are friends.  “It is not what you know but who.  Connections in this industry are vital.”

*Did you get your ISBN numbers on your own? 

No, they are expensive through Bowker.  Amazon and Smashwords will provide them, but there is a hitch.  Well, there are multiple hitches.  Smashwords will give you an ISBN that is only good on the Smashwords distribution channels.  Amazon will just provide you with one when you offer a paperback.  Again that ISBN number is only viable through Amazon sales.

*If I remember you have three types of books – what are they and which do you like the best?

  • Science fiction
  • Action Romance
  • Adult, or what I affectionately call, Naughty Nighties

https://www.AuthorTWScott.com will take you to what they are, and where to find them.

I love them all but, the naughty novels are the most fun to create.  Science fiction is the most difficult to write but, the most satisfying, as I love to use my physics and scientific prowess to make sure that what I am putting forth, is not the “flux capacitor,” but actual science that might work.  As you know, some Science facts of today, started out in the minds of science fiction writers like myself.  The Geosynchronous Satellite is one.

*When you refer to the masses – who are they? Whose lives do you desire to touch?  

The masses are those of us who still read, vs. sitting in the front of screens while having their minds ripped from them through the dissemination of garbage, which impedes the thinking centers of the brain.  Even in my naughtiest of novels, I speak of enlightenment.  Who is that person looking back at you from that mirror?  Do you know him or her? Together, we explore that in story format.

I can write adult novels because we are all sexual beings, and we all have those desires that need to be sated.  Those that deny them, are the people are in danger of doing something terrible such as pedophilia or accosting Page Boys. Vows of celibacy, in my humble opinion, are setting them up for deviant behavior.  Some cultures deny human sexuality to where bestiality is ok, but acknowledging who and what you are is not. They created us to procreate, period. Our brains are wired for it, and to deny it is foolish.

One young lady was telling me she only dated Christian men…  “Why?”  Because they don’t think that way…!  “Where do you think little Christians come from?”  

Hormones and other chemicals like endorphins drive us. Those that read my novels learn many things about themselves while enjoying a story that takes them to another galaxy, or perhaps a stranger’s bedroom, or possibly over their lover’s lap. With a fair warning and a free percentage of the novel for their perusal, I offer no apologies.

The masses are your audience which each writer must identify.  Who are you writing for?  We have an idea who E. L. James is writing for but, how about Clive Cussler?  What about Agatha Christie or even Hemmingway?

If Hemmingway or even Shakespeare were to start out today, in this world of competition you and I have, would we ever learn of them? I would offer to you that there are many great writers out there, languishing in the millions of novels on Amazon that will never be discovered because they don’t understand marketing.

These same authors might also sit in slush piles waiting for an agents twelve-year-old to put down the smartphone long enough to read the query letter.

While some agents troll Amazon, and other e-sites looking for the next new voice, their inboxes are engulfed with query letters, and pitches from teenagers, to senior citizens who now have the time to write. It is neither a good nor a bad thing; it is a fact. You must stand out from the rest.  ‘How,’ is the question…

*What type of feedback do you desire from your readers? 

Honesty… If there are clear flaws, I would love them to contact me via the contact page on the website which many do, and visit with me.  In Diamond Joe, for instance, I had some severe age discrepancies I had to deal with.  Feedback is paramount to making any writer a better one.

I know an author who would not alter their work as they loved it.  The agent said, “next.”

The Saga of the Starduster had its first review which was one star.  Reading what the person wrote, it became clear he or she never read it.  They were, in fact, flaming it, as it offered too much competition for something they were writing.  Very sad!  The next review was five stars, and it looked like something I might have instigated, but I did not. I have far too much integrity for that.  Since it is still my number one seller years later, speaks to its validity as a contender in the field of science fiction, I think we can assume what I have stated is correct.

I would never pay attention to anyone who posted a review under a pseudonym. I would also never flame another writer’s work, no matter how bad it is.  I offer the reader a large part of the novel to read for free before they buy it.  If it were as bad as he or she alluded to, why would they buy it after reading 20% for free?

In the About the Author, after the Epilogue, I ask people to consider leaving a review if they liked it.  Contact me via the website if you hated it and tell me why.  While we never stop learning, we must strive to improve what we do.

*Do you have a group of people that support you in your writing – to read your drafts, to make suggestions, to encourage you when in doubt or feeling good at what you have written?

Yes, there is a group, but I did not always have that.  The feedback from readers was all I had to nudge me in the right direction.  Forging alliances with fellow writers has been the single most important step I have made regarding the craft of writing.

This is a two-way street.  Many forget about this, which is the downfall of so many groups.  We think about our needs first, and in such a group it is the needs of the many. When I assist other writers with their projects, it is not only gratifying on a personal level but strangely enough; I see things they are doing I also do but don’t see it in my work.

While this is a two-way street, I love the group, the writers and I enjoy our time together.  I also blog about things like this to reach the writing community around the globe.  A rising tide lifts all boats or ships, and that is something I find worthy of my time, talents and energies.

If there is enough interest, I will write about character arcs in a future blog.  You need to let me know if that is something that interests you, as these blogs take hours to produce.

My novels are inexpensive. If you are of the mind to, read them.  Feedback is critical to the process.  I have a day job, not rich from sales but I am humbled that many of you purchase my novels and read them.

-TW

Critique-How, Why and are you Qualified?

Is your ego ready for this?

As a writer of over 32 novels and counting, I have not had the benefit of a critique partner, or group.

Grammarly and other artificial intelligence can only take you so far in the creative process.  Typos and other grammatical errors are inconsequential if your story sucks.

The problems are many, but mainly we writers are a solitary bunch.  Many days, if it were not for my business, I would speak with no one. My characters and stories become my life, as I am confident, do many of yours.  We sit here in solitary with the keyboard making its little clicking sounds as, “our music.”  That is ok to me, and probably many of you too.

“Is it really ok?”

First, we must recognize that we are social creatures and are meant to be that way to keep from being maladjusted in this world of other social beings.  Some of us live out in the country, and I envy you!

If you are reading this, you have the internet. With that tool, you no longer need to be an island all on your own.  We, you and I share a bond, the many do not share.  We share the passion for creating things with our minds.  We create realms, and people, and are very much like God him or herself. Yes, I did it; I assigned God a position in life by anthropomorphizing God as a being, like us.

With this internet and access to this blog and others like you, we, you and I can share stories or ideas.  You and I can, in fact, offer constructive criticism on your WIP.

When starting, your ego might be fragile, and it is ok to ask your partner to go a little easy.  I have stated in previous blogs, for the person offering the criticism to look for the good stuff and mention it, before you deliver the crushing reality of what they are doing wrong, “in your opinion.”

Allow me to emphasize that opinion part.

I sent a story out to my critique group which is comprised of all types of people.  The nerd among them who I respect, and care about, tore the story apart as the science in his “opinion” sucked.  The story was a romance based around weak science much like the flux capacitor. The science was, in fact, a focal point only to build the story.

In most romances, the characters are the focal point and the “event” is the supporting trope.

The others in the group loved the story.

As you think of your audience, you should also consider what they tell you from their viewpoint. As my mother used to say, “Consider the source.”

We will be talking much more about this in the future, as I very much like to pay it forward, to other writers out there.  “Yes, that means you!”

Along with this subject, I will be spending much more time writing about all aspects of writing.  Why?

As I learn, one of the best ways to cementing that knowledge is to “teach” it.  Why not teach you, my followers, if that sort of thing is of value to you.

As we move into the holiday season, many of you will have some time, and I pray that you use it to spend with family and friends.  We writers need to divest ourselves of the computer every now and then and live.  I know what I am asking because I would much rather spend time with my characters and you, then family.  Truthful I know, but it is what it is.

What can you do?

  • If you are not already a follower of me here, do that.
  • Offer some opinions on my writing here, if nothing else.
  • The novel I let the group read is Tipping Point, and it is free on Kindle Unlimited. Read it and give me some feedback before I re-write it.

Currently, I am teaching myself more about Dialogue, and I will be sharing what I learn with you here, as again, I am a firm believer in paying it forward.  Dialogue is the most essential part of your fiction, and if you blow it, you are wasting your time.

If you have a subject that interests you, let us know here in the comments.

Share this with your friends and followers as we strive to perfect our craft.

Much Love and Happy Holidays!  -TW

Should you be writing your book instead of a blog?

If I ask you to go build an airport, where would you start?

 

• What is your passion?
• When you write, what is it that stirs up your juices?
• Is what you have to say worthy to be read?
• Is your diatribe worth my time?
• If you are writing a novel, why?

I launched a young lady on a path towards a career in writing this weekend. She has a job that is far from disinteresting, and in fact, she has a story to tell. She was trying to figure out the details.
When a child is confronted with cleaning up his room, he or she generally looks at the job as insurmountable especially if “everything” is out of place. Writing as in life if we were correctly raised we learned to break the impossible task into small bites. Much like project management.

If I ask you to go build an airport, where would you start?

In writing, we can analyze ourselves into paralysis. One “author,” wrote that she writes one sentence properly and will not go to the next until it is perfect. “Paralysis.”

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” Go….

Obviously, I am not going to steal that. I wrote it to make a point.
When I start a novel, I have an idea I want to pursue. Whether it is time travel or discovering a derelict spacecraft hidden away for eons, I start with just a thought.
I keep the first page which I label a manifest in which I put notes of who is who and where and so forth as the story progresses.

Some people storyboard their books which is ok if that is how you write. My point to her and to you is that there is no right or wrong way as long as the final “deliverable” is a book worth reading.
People had been giving this girl so much advice. So much so that not one word is on paper or virtual paper.
“The cold air cut through her clothes like a knife as she left the terminal headed to the shuttle. Caroline had no idea that the winters in St Paul could be so bitterly cold! “
• Who is Caroline?
• What is she doing in Minnesota in the winter time?
• Why does she not expect the weather to be so extreme?
• Where did she fly in from?
• Why is she there?
• What does she look like?
• What exactly is she wearing?

In less than three minutes I have created the opening line to a book, and I have also asked some pretty fundamental questions. We must address these and others in some future paragraphs or pages or chapters.

Take any project in bite-size pieces, stop and ask some pretty essential questions and consider your audience. Who are they?

Don’t worry about punctuation or spelling or participles when you are creative. You can always edit it later when you have the characters all playing together.

Hope that this answers some questions and helps those that want to write and not know how to get started.

One word after another is a good start.

Blogs are a great place to explore ideas and get to know others. If they follow you something about you interests them. Blogs are an excellent way to seek advice from those that follow you but, be careful about that.

Blogs are an excellent way to market your work and to practice your craft.

Don’t let blogging or marketing get in the way of your novel. The creative process is not one that can be regulated as many writers try to do.

Much Love…-TW

The Long and Winding Road…Do you need GPS?

Do you need a map or is your compass all you need?

I love road trips. I don’t know about you, but with me, I am never in a hurry. Hurry equals anxiety which I don’t need. What does a road trip look like for you?

I have a rough idea of where I need to end up around dark thirty. I don’t like driving at night, so I try to be situated in the vicinity of where I will spend the night before evening tea.
The road less traveled generally interests me as that is where you will find the small shops that time has almost forgotten. Since the box stores had all but killed the mom and pop shops, I look for them when I travel. Once there you will usually find “Mom and Pop!”

Those brave souls that dare to fight the box stores or the mega marts are a dying breed. I search them out and try hard to purchase something from them. Yes, it is usually overpriced, and of course, if it is food, it is probably not as fresh as I could get off the main drag. Still, the moms and pops have a story to tell.
Usually, if you are at a mega-mart, you will not find the stories there as their bosses will not be happy if they take a moment to chat. I do chat. I will learn their name, and try to learn something about them. Before I go, it is my goal to leave them with a smile.

Those that might be with me are amazed at how those people’s demeanor change when I am working magic on them. It is my magic, and no it is not witchcraft. I like names. I try to put a personality with a name, and I can only do that if I engage them. You have no doubt been somewhere in some line and the person checking folks out is surly or truculent while watching the clock until their break or time to go home. Folks that is depressing.
Those folks I try a little harder to leave a smile on them. Smiles are contagious you see. If I can get him or her to smile the next person in line might catch their smile and just maybe it will find its way to others who need one.
When you toss a pebble in a pond of water, the waves radiate away from it until the energy from the stone has dissipated entirely. If you can make an impact on the person behind the counter just how many others will see that impact and they themselves might be impacted?
That is the brilliance of comedians. Bob Hope, one of the all-time greats, sacrificed much of his life touring with the USO bringing joy and happiness to soldiers who were often in harm’s way or in grim situations. Before comedians became activist, they were delightful to watch. Now they spread hate and discontent.
The road we are on often has a fork.
Just like a smile is contagious so is hate. During the Christmas season when things are crazy how many times have you seen shoppers take out their frustrations on the person behind the counter?
That too gets passed down the line.
The twists and turns in life often take us by surprise, and that is ok. It is how we handle those revelations which define our character or who we are.
Yes, the long and winding road is a metaphor for life, and sometimes we need a GPS.
“Make a legal U-turn when possible!”
What does it take for you to realize that the path your on is not the right one?
My life often is fraught with “recalculating.”
As an author, our lives are different than most. We spend a lot of time alone with our thoughts. If we are inspired at three in the morning, we get up and write. A fun story for us may not be a best seller. Just maybe people don’t really want to read about the things that delight us.
“Veer right in 100 yards.”
Authors must be marketing gurus if they don’t have an agent. Even if they do have one, who is your agent? Do they know what they are talking about?
My novels are selling worldwide, and that makes me happy. I still have a day job because the royalty payments are just like those few good shots in golf that keep you coming back for more frustration.

  • Robyn Williams did a brilliant skit on golf which I still remember. The truth is you get a few good shots that keep you coming back to the course to do it again and again. Why do it?
    • I enjoy the outing.
    • I enjoy the fresh air and comradery with friends and business associates.
    • More business is transacted on the golf course than the boardroom.
    • Writing is that way too, I enjoy what I do.
    • I enjoy telling a story.
    • I love reading what I wrote and making it better.
    • I love the art of marketing what I write. What do I need to say about this story that will have people willing to download it?

Price is a small factor in the general scheme of things.

When the next release of 50 shades or Harry Potter were released, people did not care that it was $15, or whatever the price was. They had to know what happened next!

My Hole In time series was like that on Kindle Unlimited. Free with Prime and people read it and seemed to enjoy it. Would they have read it if it were not free?

Until I hit that magical place where the GPS tells me that I have reached my destination, I will continue to plug away. Thankfully I love what I write so at least one person will be thrilled when the next book is finished.
What about you? Where are you headed? Where does your road lead? Are you happy with your life? Are you an aspiring writer or artist? Perhaps you are a musician. What in your life makes you look forward to tomorrow?
I invite you to saddle up and ride with me as I travel the road less traveled. I might in fact cut across an open prairie, find a comfortable place and camp out under the stars.

Our ancestors did this, can you?
When I think of what their life was like without a smartphone or phone for that matter. To be isolated on a thousand acres of land where a trip to the store was an all-day affair. Can you imagine?

What if families actually talked with one another without the aid of facebook or SMS?

Much Love -TW

Come Away With Me…

Yes, it is that easy to take a trip to another galaxy and never leave your comfy reading place!

I love Norah Jones, well I love her music… I have no idea what kind of person she is but if her music is any indication of her soul, I would love to know her.

I was thinking of this as I was working on a new novel this evening.

While music resonates with my soul and who I am, my words, thoughts, and imagery are what I offer to you the reader.

As I take you on that mountaintop in Under Roswell or that fantasy in deep space or under the ocean, I invite you to come away with me.

Together we shall travel the depths of the oceans or the skies miles above them.  We can learn some secrets of the universe or what lies beneath the sea in Ghost Signal from Colorado Springs.

So come away with me through these novels that I have created.

I try not to let the news of the day affect me or my creative style, but it often does.  I see it time and time again as I witness the sheer lunacy of those in charge and the crazies out there rebelling in destructive ways.  Movies and novels are a form of escapism, so I offer you a pathway out of the trials and tribulation of life or your particular rut.  Come away with me through my words as we travel together saving a race of beings from their short-sightedness.  Might we learn something from them that we can use in our world?  Come away, and let’s find out!

I received an e-mail asking me if I really meant it when I signed my writings with “Much Love?”

“Of course I do!”

The followers here on WordPress and of course twitter and most importantly the base of readers building worldwide… They have come away with me.  What about you?

Out of thirty novels, certainly, you can find one that interests you.  Take a journey with me through Scotland in the Girl Nextdoor. This book is full of magic!

Discover that all life has meaning in the Hole in Time series.

Come away with me as we learn that love comes in many shapes and sizes.  Diamond Joe is probably my most romantic novel where part of me is in that book. I love reading it again and again as I found parts of myself, my soul within those words. I have put it back on sale through the spring for less than a cup of coffee from Starbucks.

Come away with me and listen to the seabirds calling to you too.  There is magic in their cries, can you hear it?  Come, lets listen together…

From adventure to Sci-Fi to something slightly tawdry I have tried my hand at it.  I did it to attract the many different readers out there that might want to come away with me for a bit.  Most of the comments from readers are food for my soul, and I much appreciate them and you.

As time permits, do Come Away with Me… I won’t sing you a song but, I will tell you a bedtime story, or I will entertain you on a rainy day where a comfy chair and hot tea awaits you on our journey to somewhere.

If you are so moved, please invite your readers or friends to come away with us, as we discover what lies behind that wormhole, or perhaps through that door.

Much Love -TW

Feeding your Characters, Part II

What sparks your creative juices?

 

Waves of Emotions, Does the Moon Affect them like the Tides of the oceans?

Many of you know that I have been dealing with the loss of a close friend who recently passed.  The things in life that we take for granted, the smile, knowing look, the chuckle that you caused,  and that voice on the other end of the line that you come to know as your lifeline to reality, those are precious… When those are gone, and you are left alone…the tides roll.

As one who has always “adopted” older friends it has been my privilege to know and care for many that have since passed. Each and every one unique and precious and missed.  Two of the last three I was asked to do their Eulogy, which if you have never done, try and get through it without becoming a basket case in front of countless people.  It is not easy.

The more you care, the more it hurts, and the harder it is.

Spending days writing it I finally had to remove anything in it that would trigger me, and then it was still a challenge.

Today I was dealing with their family trying to be of some assistance, and it brought back the pain all over again.  Facing the “residual” of a friend trying to assess some monetary value to it as to assist their survivors is just miserable!

The “things” the treasures that charmed them and we are now relegated to boxes of stuff waiting for an estate sale.

I often go to antique malls looking for trinkets that “charm” me but more often than not I look for things that might inspire a story.

From strange tools to old tchotchkes that someone treasured a long time ago interests me.  I once bought an ancient relic that looked like it belonged to some tribe in some dark jungle as I thought if I could imbue it with magical properties it might make a story.  Who knows.

I sift through old black and white photos of people who have long since passed that have found their way to the antique malls and make up little stories about them as I hold their picture in my hand.  If the story sounds good, I buy the image, and he or she becomes a character in a novel.

Many of you can relate to the loss of a loved one.  You know that the waves are real and sometimes they can bury you.  I keep some memento of them around me as they were important to me for decades.

How do you deal with loss?

Stuff cannot replace them.

The things we find in antique malls are just effects that meant something to someone long ago.

On multiple occasions, I have purchased boxes of “things” on eBay.  This one box I bought the person who sold it took care to wrap each individual thing in tissue.  There were old lenses from glasses.  There was a model of an old delta airplane. There was a marionette that is probably from the thirties. There were some timeworn cufflinks, a watch and just basically a drawer of someone’s stuff that was put into a box and sold. There was even a broken glass figurine of a toucan. Where did that come from and how it did come to be in that drawer and how did it get broken.

I got the box and looked at each and every little thing including the old glasses.  This was the residual of a life. The old airplane they probably got when they flew.  The little marionette might have been passed down to them from a grandparent.  The watch was old and well-worn but, it too told a story.

I carefully wrapped the stuff back up and stored it away for a future day when I need an idea.  Those trinkets will live again in some story and by them becoming part of one of my novels, the previous owner in some small way will also live again through my words.

If you are a writer, go visit antique malls.  Spend time looking at the trinkets on display, and if something sparks a thought,, you know what to do.

Some things I snap a picture of as I have no desire to haul some piece of furniture home but….I found an article that I will tell you about.

In this old downtown store, there was this small desk that belonged in a classroom from eons ago. The chair was in front, and the actual desk with the writing surface that lifted and a place to store crayons and such were underneath the writing surface.

This was designed very differently in that the chair in front of the person who used the surface of the desk was contingent on the person sitting in the chair not moving the desk.  It was, in fact, a piss poor design to get the maximum amount of students in one small space but…Wow!

I immediately thought of “Good Night John Boy!”

Many of us go into such places looking for something to charm us to purchase it.  I look for fodder for stories.  I never know what will “trigger or spark” an idea.

Search “box of crap” on eBay and see what comes up.  I used to challenge people to pick up an item and write a story about it.  I would have a box of stuff and tell them to reach in and grab something without looking.  Take it back to their desk and write.

To you my pretties, feed your characters.  Find an item and write something on your blog, and tell me about it.

 

Much Love -TW