Dialogue versus Talking Heads – Part 2

by Karen McCullough

For Part 1, click HERE:

Karen_McCullough_2015_200Here are five questions to ask yourself when you’re editing your own dialogue:

1. Is it boring?

What’s boring? How about this:

“Hi, Helen,” Joe said. “How are you doing today?”
“I’m just fine,” Helen replied. “How are you?”
“Great. How’s your daughter?” Joe continued.
“She’s fine, too. How’s your sister?”

Are you snoozing yet?

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Filed under Craft of Writing, Guest Blogger, My Blog, Observations

A Novel Writers Workshop Member a Finalist in the Clive Cussler Contest!

by Ken Barnett

Ken's SkeletonsBack in March, on a pure whim, I entered my self-published novel, Skeletons of Weavers Needle in the Clive Cussler Collectors Society Adventure Writers Competition for 2016.

With the contest not closing until the end of June and semi-finalists not being announced until late July, I actually pretty much forgot about it.

On July 20th I received notification that my novel was among the ten semi-finalists, selected by a judging panel of thirteen authors. Well, needless to say, that got my attention. Then, last Sunday, I received an e-mail advising me that Skeletons was among the three finalists for the $1,000.00 first prize and possible publishing considerations! Continue reading

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Dialogue versus Talking Heads – Part 1

by Karen McCullough

Karen_McCullough_2015_200How your characters communicate can make or break a story. Even if the plot is strong enough to carry it, good dialogue can increase your reader’s enjoyment of a story, while bad dialogue can bounce her out of it.

Thought experiment: Consider the interactions between Han Solo and Princess Leia in the original Star Wars movie trilogy, then compare those with the interactions between Anakin and Padme in the prequel series. Which pair is more memorable?

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Memoir Seminar

debby-johnson-new-header2Want to write your story?

Attend Debby Johnson’s  2 hour seminar for tips on discovering your own unique story.


September 17th  6pm – 8pm

March Field

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Filed under Events, My Blog

Poor Lady . . .

In my Spam folder this morning, I found a desperate plea from a Mrs. Julian in the UK, who’s dying and wants to share her vast wealth with me. You see, as she explained, she has no children, and she has cancer of the lug.

Of course I immediately wrote back and expressed how sorry I felt for her and anyone who has that tragic disease.

I haven’t heard back from her yet. But since I was so sympathetic, I’m sure she’ll get right back to me with instructions on how to make a deposit in her bank for shipping expenses, transfer fees, or whatever it is to get my money.

And I’ll be sure to do that. Cancer of the lug is a horrible disease and she deserves all the sympathy she can get.

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Practice, Practice, Practice

MarisSoule 600by Maris Soule

I’ve been watching the Olympics, and I realized there are a lot of similarities between a successful athlete and a successful writer. Athletes who want to compete at the highest level practice. Most do this daily or almost daily. They don’t let illness stop them or family events. Because they want to improve, they find and hire coaches they know will take them to the next level. They watch videos of past performances to learn from their mistakes and find ways to improve. When they compete, they present themselves in the best way possible, either through their grooming or their uniforms or their attitudes. They do everything they can to look like and be winners.

Writers who want to succeed must do the same things. Simply wanting to write a book and have it published is not enough.

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Want To Interest an Agent?

Meetup new banner600


Have you wondered if you should attend a writers conference? How do you pitch to an agent or publisher’s rep? If you’ve ever considered signing up for a conference and pitching session, you’ll want to attend our next meeting.

One of our members, Ken Barnett, has just returned from the Las Vegas Writers Conference where he pitched to several agents. He’ll share his experiences, and, he has some exciting secrets and news to share.

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Nervous Mom

Nessie 800Near the end of last year, my son’s neighbor heard her dogs barking, and when she tried to bring them in, she caught them chasing an orange kitten about three to four months old. She managed to get the traumatized kitten onto her screened porch and kept it there about six weeks with little human contact. At least she fed the kitten and kept the dogs away.

My son and his wife heard the story, so they adopted the kitten. When they brought her home, she scrambled for a hiding place under the spare room bed and stayed there another two weeks. They named her Nessie, after the Loch Ness monster that stays hidden.

When Nessie finally started venturing out, my son’s other cat pounced on her, traumatizing her further. It wasn’t a good situation for the kitten, so they talked about the best solution. I thought about taking her, but I had doubts.

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What a Headache . . .

Theatrical masks

Oscar Wilde said he took out a comma in the morning and put it back in the afternoon.

Long before I devoted endless hours going back over and over what I’d written, I laughed at that quote.

No longer.

I’d recently completed another chapter in my wip and begun another, but something nagged at me.

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Multi-Author Book Signing

What a fun, busy day eight authors and I had last Saturday. We held a book signing event at Bob’s Big Boy, Calimesa, CA, and offered our books and donated prizes for the drawings, which began at 4:15pm.
We felt so important as the public checked our books and asked about them. We offered a variety of genres, including my With Full Malice - about a deadly vigilante society in SoCal. Some had romance, fantasy, romance, and a couple had their autobiographies. Most of us sold some books, and we all enjoyed the day. Bob's Big Boy's food platters were beyond what I'd expected.
Thank, everyone, for making it such a special day.
Brenda Signing 2Signing 3



Filed under Events, My Blog