Author, Barbara Studham


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Writing Tips: Dialogue

What a wonderful addition to narrative!

Hearing accents

Hearing accents

I love characters in books who talk too much. Despite their annoying chatter, they advance the storyline. Fiction requires dialogue. Without it, the story would read as boring. Now comes the “however.”

However, as most people do not speak perfect English, a writer needs to adapt to the accent/ class/tone/logic of the character who is speaking. A simple example: no English cockney character would speak in an affluent manner, unless that person had deliberately changed his style; in which case, that scenario should be added to the storyline.

Writing Tips: Dialogue

Look, for a moment, at the following characters. One says, “Yesterday, I called on you, but you appeared not to be at home.” The other replies with, “That’s strange. I know I was in.” Two different class of characters: the first completes his sentence with “at home”; the second leaves the preposition “in” hanging. If both characters were considered of the same class they would either say, “Yesterday, I called on you, but you weren’t in.” with the reply being “That’s strange. I know I was in.” Alternatively, the first would say, “Yesterday, I called on you, but you appeared not to be at home.” with the reply, “That’s strange. I assure you, I was home all day.”

Speaking styles reveal all. Amazingly, from how the character speaks, the reader can tell where he is from; his mode of upbringing; his class status; his principles; his personality, and his attitude. Invariably, readers are less drawn to a character by what he does, and more by what he says, and the way he speaks.

That is why authors should read books. Dissecting other authors’ work is part of being a good writer. It helps to avoid obvious mistakes when writing a manuscript. It also helps to learn how a character’s personality is revealed through their dialogue.

Keep Writing!

 


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More Writing Tips

Keep your manuscript professional

Two posts ago, I offered some handy writing tips which were well received, so I am offering more. I wish I could say the following list was compiled by me, but I received it years ago from someone whose name I cannot remember. Nevertheless, that does not change its importance to writers who want their manuscripts to appear professionally written.

Periods in abbreviations.

  • There are no periods between the letters in acronyms such as CBC, HIV, AA; nor in countries/provinces/states (US, UK, ON, BC)
  • There are no periods following: Mr Mrs Dr PhD but after Prof. there is a period.
  • There are no periods following measurement abbreviations: km m cm ft in
  • Use periods between abbreviations such as a.m. and p.m. and a.k.a.; also use between initials of a person’s name, such as W.C. Fields, W.H. Auden, or J.R.R. Tolkien, with no spaces between the initials.

Hope this helps you as much as it did me. Don’t forget to file this info somewhere close to your fingertips while writing. In the meantime, why not check out the first in my seaside series ebooks: Under the Shanklin Sky: only .99 cents (usd) and available from your Amazon or the following links. The second in the series: The Faring Foxglove, and the third: The Bathing Beauty, are also available. Please watch for my next three in the Series: A Hint of Spring, The Spitting Image, and Mann Overboard, coming soon in 2017.

Under The Shanklin Sky

Under The Shanklin Sky

Genre: Fiction/Adventure. Title: Under the Shanklin Sky

Milly Mullan is a retiree from London with delightful childhood memories of holidays spent at the scenic seaside town of Shanklin, located on the Isle of Wight. As an adult, she intended to vacation there often, but, with a successful career as an interior designer to oversee, and hubby being top chef at a popular up-scale London restaurant, time to holiday was denied them. Not until retired, did Milly return to Shanklin, by which time Harry had died from health complications. Their daughter, Rosie, had grown up and married. Still, Milly has only one regret: losing touch with a young boy, Jonathan, she had met when only ten-years old during one of her Shanklin vacations. When retired, her hope to see him again absorbed her thoughts until, one day, while tending her balcony flowers; she found a valuable silver fob watch in a flowerpot. Determined to find its owner, she begins a search and finally locates her lost love, but is it Jonathan? To find out, join Milly—Under the Shanklin Sky.

The first in the seaside series, Under the Shanklin Sky is available at your Amazon and the following links:

http://www.amazon.com/author/barbarastudham

https://www.kobo.com

http://www.barnesandnoble.com


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Handy Writing Tips!

Getting it Right!

Writing is fun … punctuation and grammar, not so much. When I wrote my first manuscript, I admit, my punctuation was poor, and I struggled with corrections. Then, an author shared a page of writing tips with me, and I learned a lot. Unfortunately, I cannot remember the source of the following tips, but hope they help you as much as they did me.

Using numbers in a manuscript:

  • Numerals from 99 and under are spelled out (twelve days, fourteen pounds)
  • Numerals from 100 and up are spelled numerically (100 days, 500 pounds)
  • Numerals of 1,000 and up are spelled numerically, with comma inserted (1,250)
  • Numerals of 1 million and up are spelled with both numerals and text (1.2 million)
  • Always spell out the word “percent” (52.5 percent). Do not use the symbol unless the section or entire book contains many statistics.

These tips are especially pertinent if you forward your manuscript to a publisher as they expect perfection. It is equally important if you self-publish as errors reflect on your ability as an author. I will share more tips over the coming weeks, so stay tuned.

My ebooks:

In the meantime, why not check out my ebook, titled, The Look of a Twelve-Year-Old: only .99 cents (USD), and available from your Amazon, the following links, and many other ebook distributors.

The Look of a Twelve-Year Old

The Look of a Twelve-Year-Old

Fiction:  The Look of a Twelve-Year-Old

Meet Claire Peters. From seemingly innocent youngster to evil conniver, she takes you on her journey from lowly Saturday Girl working at The Glass Stiletto located in small town Heatherly, to executive for a leading company: SLATES Inc. of London. While working at The Glass Stiletto, she set her sights on winning the Stiletto Award for achieving the highest annual sales. But, a nasty rival bent on defeating her, stood in the way. Refusing to be deterred from reaching her goal, Claire took drastic action against her opponent. From there, Claire Peters joined the ranks of executives but on the way to the top, lost track of who she was and what she hoped to achieve. Many years later, recently fired from her executive position at SLATES Inc, she traded common sense for the sake of bloody revenge against the team responsible for her dismissal.

Available now from:

http://www.amazon.com/author/barbarastudham

https://www.kobo.com

http://www.barnesandnoble.com

Other fine ebook distributors