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Archive for the ‘Writing Tips’ Category

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BLOG TOUR: Beyond the Book—Tips for Writers with Traci Sanders


Writers—Here You Go!

Today I am sharing space at 4writersandreaders with indie author and publisher Traci Sanders. Sanders has written a fantastic new series that will help even the seasoned pro write it better. Here, in her own words, is Traci…

TIP 165: Watch your tone

This tip, and many others on grammar and writing, can be found in Before You Publish: Tips on grammar, writing, and editing.

Before You Publish: Tips on grammar, writing, and editing (Write It Right Book 1)

You can think of this as a reference guide, rather than a book you need to read from cover to cover. It will become your new go-to-guide for all things writing, grammar, and editing. The tips are easy to follow and explained in simple terms that anyone can understand and put to use right away.

Growing up, do you remember your parents telling you, “It wasn’t what you said, it was how you said it”? I do.

I hated hearing that, but I must admit now that it’s true … especially in writing, because tone cannot be automatically detected in text.

I’ll bet most of you haven’t put much thought into this with your writing. In all honesty, I didn’t either—until I learned a better way.

I won’t get into all the mechanics of writing dialogue just yet. This tip is going to help you establish tone in writing dialogue.

Have you ever read a line such as this in a story?: “Not a word of this to anyone,” she whispered.

Well, until we got to “she whispered,” we had no inclination of the tone of voice this character used. As readers, we had to create the tone in our heads, and then we realized at the end of the sentence, we were wrong.

We know the character didn’t shout the words because there is no exclamation point. So maybe we thought he/she simply declared this statement in a regular voice, or perhaps he/she was angry and said it through gritted teeth. We had no way of knowing for sure until we saw the word whispered.

Therefore, to convey true tone without making the reader guess how the words are meant to sound, the author needs to indicate a change in voice before the character speaks.

Here are a few examples of ways to establish intonation before dialogue:

Okay: “Don’t touch my phone,” the boy’s mom warned through gritted teeth.

Better: The boy’s mom gritted her teeth and said, “Don’t touch my phone.”

Okay: “Don’t leave me,” she begged.

Better: Her voice trembled as she begged, “Don’t leave me.”

Okay: “Stacey, look at the abs on that guy. His girlfriend is one lucky woman,” Laura whispered to her best friend as they sat at the table in the library.

Well, darn. We had to wait until three-fourths of the way through this sentence to find out that Laura didn’t say the words loud enough for anyone but Stacey to hear, and learn that the two girls were in a library.

Better: As they sat at the library table, Laura leaned into Stacey and whispered, “Girl, look at the abs on that guy. His girlfriend is one lucky woman.”

Okay: “You never let me do anything. I hate you,” he mumbled to his mom under his breath.

Better: In a voice only he could hear, Jamie mumbled, “You never let me do anything. I hate you.” You would have set the scene with the mom before this sentence. It doesn’t always have to be part of the dialogue.

So, now you know another trick to help you write dialogue that keeps your story moving along without readers having to go back and reread the sentence once they realize they used the wrong tone.

For more tips on writing compelling dialogue, I highly recommend you all check out this book. It’s a fun, quick guide that provides a wealth of information.

Traci Sanders

Award-winning author of parenting, children’s, and romance titles

http://amzn.to/2cYUdKM

~Reviews keep authors writing~

Traci Sanders is a multi-genre, multi-award-winning author of ten published titles, with contributions to three anthologies. An avid blogger and supporter of Indie authors, she writes parenting, children’s, romance and nonfiction guides.

Sanders’s ultimate goal is to provide great stories and quality content for dedicated readers, whether through her own writing or editing works by other authors.

Traci Sanders is giving away two prizes during this tour:

  • ONE unsigned paperback copy of Before You Publish– Volume I 
  • ONE unsigned paperback copy of Beyond The Book –Volume II 

To enter, all you have to do is email Traci a proof of purchase of a digital copy of either of these two books during the tour.

She will draw TWO winners total, at the end of the tour.

Please email your proof of purchase (can be a screenshot) to tsanderspublishing@yahoo.com

GOOD LUCK!

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

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Write a Spring Haiku & Get the Kids Writing Too!


Celebrating International Haiku Poetry Day!

As I wandered out into the garden with my trusty camera early this morning, much to my surprise, an icy blanket at the edge of the rock garden had melted and a family of opening jonquils greeted me with their smiles. Being the first blooms of the season, they simply made my day and inspired me to write “A Spring Concerto,”  a haiku (Japanese-inspired, non-rhyming three-line: 5-7-5 syllable poem).

A Spring Concerto
HAIKU by Bette A. Stevens

Jonquils awaken

Shaking their heads in wonder

A spring concerto

Personally, I love designing  posters to go with my poems and often use photos I have taken. As a former teacher (now retired) in grades four through eight, I know that kids of all ages love writing poetry and they enjoy illustrating their poems too. It’s simple and it’s so much fun to tell a story in the three short lines of Haiku. Of course, you can write as many stanzas as you wish. Today’s a perfect day for you to give it a try.

Get out your pen, get outdoors in nature, get inspired…and get the kids writing haiku too!

~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author/illustrator

(Haiku: m)

haiku

noun hai·ku \ˈhī-(ˌ)kü\

plural

haiku

  1. :  an unrhymed verse form of Japanese origin having three lines containing usually five, seven, and five syllables respectively; also :  a poem in this form usually having a seasonal reference — compare tanka

 

Discover more about how to write haiku and other poetry:

Find out more about International Haiku Poetry Day

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How to Characterize Love in Your Writing


GREAT TIPS & RESOURCE LINKS…
Happy Love Month & Happy Writing! ~Bette A. Stevens http://www.4writersandreaders.com

WordDreams...

valentineI posted this last year, but it’s worth repeating: How do we characterize love in your writing?

Because, if you’re a writer, you must. It doesn’t have to be sex but it has to take readers that direction, right to the edge of the cliff. Yes, you can leave the lurid details out, but let readers peek over the edge.

How do you do that? Start with a few decisions:

  • Is it platonic?
  • Is it unrequited?
  • Is there conflict?
  • Is it lust disguised as love?
  • Is it serial love? Or one-of-a-kind?
  • Is it kinky or traditional?
  • Does love bring joy or sadness–or misery?
  • Is the manifestation of love baby-ish or mature–goo-goo eyes and saccharin words or Paris vacations?
  • Is love verbal or silent?
  • Is this love constructive or destructive? Flowery or brutal?
  • what part does the spiritual play in the emotion–or is it uninvolved?
  • Is it a subplot or a…

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10 Tips For Editing Your Short Story


Don’t miss these great writing/editing tips! ~ Bette A. Stevens, Maine author/illustrator http://www.4writersandreaders.com

A Writer's Path

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by Writer in Wedges

So you have written your short story and cannot wait to release it into the world. But before doing that, it is important to take some extra time to make sure your story is properly edited, despite the fact that editing is nowhere near as fun as writing.

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Are you Book Club ready?


AUTHORS: Don’t miss this! ~ Bette A. Stevens, Maine author http://www.4writersandreaders.com

Myths of the Mirror

book-club

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have your book selected by a book club?

Well, yeah.

The main thing that makes a book “book club ready” is the presence of questions that invite discussion. For each of my books, I have 10 questions that I compiled specifically around the themes, characters, and reader experience of the book.

Book club questions (also called Discussion Guides) are common in many academic books and are often located at the ends of chapters or in the back matter. When it comes to general fiction, placing your book club questions in the back matter is the best way to get them noticed, but not the only way. You can also direct readers to your website where a separate page or pretty pdf is linked to your book’s info.

At the end of this post is a list of potential book club questions that you can customize…

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36 KILLER WRITING TIPS FROM STEPHEN KING (10 min read)


computer-screenStephen King’s On Writing is one of the best books out there on the craft of writing.   If you are a writer and don’t own it, it is well worth the investment. Written by Millionaire’s D…

Source: 36 KILLER WRITING TIPS FROM STEPHEN KING (10 min read)

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Have Fun Writing Haiku & Get the Kids Writing Too!


Write a Halloween Haiku & Get the Kids Writing Too!

black-cat-halloween-haiku-bas-2016Midnight—my fabulous furry feline—inspired me to write BLACK CAT, a Halloween haiku (Haiku: a Japanese-inspired three-line: 5-7-5 syllable poetry form) and design a poster to go with the poem. Kids love illustrating their poetry.

What’s inspiring you this Halloween?
Brainstorm your list and get writing.
Have fun—don’t forget to get the kids writing too!

Here are some writer’s tricks (literary devices found in every writer’s toolbox) I used to create BLACK CAT. These tools can set a mood— they make writing and reading memorable and fun.  Check them out and see if you can discover where I used them in my poem.

Read on to find out more about these literary devices.

Black cat waits, watches…
Stalking tricksters in their web.
Spiders are her treats!

Three Writer’s Tricks (Literary devices) used in writing poetry and prose

Assonance
Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in nearby words.

Consonance
Another literary device used by writers and poets is consonance. It is the repetition of the final consonant sounds, usually in the more important words or in the accented syllables.

Alliteration
You put your alliteration tool to work when words that start with the same sound are used close together in a phrase or sentence. The sound is usually a consonant and the words don’t have to always be right next to one another.

Finding “just the right words”
Abundant resources are available in print as well as through online searches. Listed below are the two resources I had readily available in the classroom for my students (Grades 4-8). Paperbacks are inexpensive enough to have multiple copies available, and in my opinion, they are indispensable.

  • The Scholastic Rhyming Dictionary by Sue Young
  • Webster’s Thesaurus for Students by Merriam-Webster

                        Happy Writing and Reading Haiku

                                    & Happy Halloween!

                     ~ Bette A. Stevens, Maine author/illustrator

 

  • Find out more about how to write haiku and other poetry at Reference.Com

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