Do you write effective dialog?

Do you like DIY (do it yourself) instructions?

Give me a step-by-step diagram and I’m good.
An email in my inbox, from Janice Hardy from Fiction University, caught my attention. It was part of a How They Do It Series.
Good conversation, and snappy dialog draws us in whether it’s in a movie or in a book. A good comeback, in one-to-one conversation, invokes an emotional response. Sometimes we laugh and sometimes we get mad but we don’t forget the comment.

Something Worth Saying: Writing Effective Dialogue

By Joyce Scarbrough, @JoyceScarbrough 
Read the 5 tips from Ms. Scarbrough. In her first tip she reminds us that dialogue isn’t how people talk in real life.
“Leave out the banalities.
Dialogue isn’t supposed to mimic real conversations. It’s supposed to make them a lot more interesting. Readers don’t want to wade through all the niceties and chit chat people normally engage in to get to the meat of the conversation.”
To read the rest of her insight and tips click on Something Worth Saying: Writing Effective Dialogue.
Practice makes perfect, or at least improvement. In the comments section write a piece (50-150 words) using just dialog to tell what’s happening.

Here’s mine:

“Waiting long?” Mitch asks, staring straight ahead, his eyes on the road.

“I wasn’t waiting.”

“Looked like waiting to me.” He lifted one eyebrow, a smirk played on his lips.

“Well, I wasn’t,” I said, trying not to sound ungrateful. “I was just deciding which way to walk when you stopped.”

“O kay.” His voice rich with sarcasm as he drew out the word. 

“Can I borrow your phone?” I changed the subject. 

Mitch handed me his mobile. “Not sure you’ll get a signal out here.”

“Shit.” I dropped the phone back on the console. He was right.

“Where to?”

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Learn how to write emotional scenes

Want to make your readers feel?

Head over and read how Rylan Lanz explains the…

Make Your Readers Cry: Writing Emotional Scenes.

My excerpt might not make you cry but I hope it makes you smile.
“Thanks,” I said, “I’m lucky you came along.”
I pushed the wet hair from my eyes and looked into his. That crooked grin stopped my heart. I cleared my throat not trusting myself to say anything else, afraid I’d sound like a blubbering idiot.
“Glad to help. Here.” Mitch said, “Not sure how clean it is but I guess it’s better than nothing.”
I took the small towel he offered. Our fingers touched and thoughts of that strong hand wiping the rain from my body sent shivers down my spine.
“T t thanks,” I stammered. God I sounded like a simpering teenager.
Mitch turned the heat up and pulled back on to the highway. I dabbed at my hair with the dirty towel covered in grime and the smell of man. This was one towel I had no intention of returning.  

Give a try at writing something emotional and post it in the comments section. (50-150 words)

I love comments, almost as much as I love clicks, so after you pass this on to your Facebook and Twitter pals remember to tell me what you think. If you’re not already, please follow me @jeancogdell on Twitter or jean.cogdell on Facebook!

Are you ready for a revealing challenge?

This is a daring blog challenge.

Why? Because, to those who accept, are willing to reveal some part of our writing that’s not yet ready for prime time.
It’s called the 777 Challenge. Thanks to Lucy Mitchell over at Blondewritemore  for the nomination.
The rules are simple:
  • Go to page 7 of your WIP
  • Scroll down to line 7
  • Share the next 7 sentences in a blog post.
  • After the excerpt tag 7 other writers to continue the challenge.
Here I go:
When she reached her bedroom, Alissa couldn’t find the books from the odd bus. For once the floor was clean and clear. She shuffled through things stacked on the bookshelf, nothing new. All she found were old books, and a couple that were overdue from the town library. On hands and knees, head under her bed, she heard the door open.
“Mom, they’re not here. I left them in the floor by my bed, but now they’re gone.”
“Alissa, I don’t have time for games.”
Here are my nominations:

Can’t wait to read your excerpts.

I love comments, almost as much as I love clicks, so after you pass this on to your Facebook and Twitter pals remember to tell me what you think.
If you’re not already, please follow me @jeancogdell on Twitter or jean.cogdell on Facebook!


How to Add a Little Humor to Your Story

I think all writing at some point can use a little comic relief. Think when your cooking that special meal and nothing is going right. Come to think of it something always funny happens in the kitchen.

Comic relief is a way to release tension. Think Die Hard movies. Bruce Willis and his wise cracks during a crisis.

Or how about an intense love scene? Think romantic comedies. Harry met Sally.

Funny or ridiculous situations and our human response can ease the pace in our writing. And take the pressure off of the reader.

Weave a running gag throughout the story, and lead the reader down the proverbial path. I mean who doesn’t love a quirky character.

I’m not good at writing humor. So, I’m gonna work on that some today.

If you’d like to add more humor to your writing, head over and read Darcy Pattison’s post 5 More Ways to Add Humor,  at Fiction Notes.


Do you add humor to your writing for a little comic relief?

If so tell us how you manage to get the timing right.

Take a paragraph you’ve written and see if it would benefit from a little humor. Or rewrite the paragraph from a humorous viewpoint.

Writing Exercise: One paragraph, any subject or WIP (50 – 150 words) Paste your’s in the comments section.

After you comment share with your Facebook and Twitter pals, and don’t forget to
follow me @jeancogdell on Twitter or jean.cogdell on Facebook!

My attempt at writing a paragraph with humor:

I trembled as the cold rain-soaked my shirt. No umbrella and no coat. I just lost my scout status. After a few minutes of walking, a red Ford pickup added mud to my waterlogged shoes as he pulled to a stop. Wet hair plastered to my skull and mascara streaked down my face was not how I wanted to meet the office hunk. Mitch worked in the mail room. All the girls loved his Elvis grin and smoky eyes. My dreams of getting his attention did not include looking like a drowned rat. When his passenger door popped open and he asked if I needed a lift, I wanted to disappear. Since my silent plea for a bolt of lightning drop from the sky failed. I muttered a weak thanks and climbed in.