Thursday, March 17, 2011

Mike's rule of the day

Hey all you people out there in the blogosphere,

     Why did nobody warn me that a rule a day was a bad idea? Now I have to think up rules because I don't want to use the standard, show don't tell, ground your POV, use adverbs sparingly, etc. so, this is going to get harder as the days become weeks and weeks become months, etc. Who is supposed to be watching me? Sheesh.

     Okay here goes.

2.) Attribute dialog with an action, a thought or an observation.

     I know Stephen King and many others say to use 'he said/she said'. But why pass up an opportunity to show the reader something about the characters mood or motivation or even that he/she is lying. Now, this takes a little more work. But, what the hell, you got someplace to go? You're a writer and a strange gravitational constant keeps pulling you to your writing station. Even on the rare occasions when you reach escape velocity, you think about writing, talk about writing, talk about your WIP. You complain that life keeps intruding on your writing time. You are a writer.

     Okay, here's how it works. If you are in the speaking characters head, give us a thought. Or an action and a thought.

      Devin pursed his lips to keep from smiling. Damned if she wasn't the cutest thing in the universe when she pouted. "I really hate it when you do that. You think you can get me to cave with your sad doe eyes."

     If you are not in the speaking characters head, you're stuck with an observation or action.

     The slightest crinkle of a grin crept up Claudia's face to her eyes as she slumped and turned away. " Well, if you won't do it for my sad face," She glanced at him over her shoulder. " how about my fantastic behind?"

      So, not that difficult and you need not do such involved description. Probably the attribution should not be longer than the actual dialog most of the time.

     He kicked the door. "...
     Damn, her breath stunk. "...
     Vicki stroked the cat;s head. ".....
     Marne pulled the dog's tail. "....

     Still not convinced it can work? Click the 'Mike's Stories tab at the top of the page and read 'The Knights of Naclurita.' Not a 'he said' or 'she said' or anything like it in there.

     Give it a try for a page or two, you can always change it.

     Let me know how it works for you.

     And, Happy St. Patrick's Day, have a green beer for me.



  1. Let's see if this comment posts. I commented yesterday and it disappeared! Anyway, what I said yesterday was, you guys rock (more or less. It was more cleverly put yesterday, of course.)

  2. Hi Shannon & Betsy,

    Glad you found us.

    Imagine my surprise at Betsy having a blog titled, 'SEX SCENES At STARBUCKS'

  3. Yes I agree with that, I try to illustrate my dialogue with action too :O)

  4. We, as Mike's crit partners, have attempted many times to convince him to use a he said, she said now and then.

    So far we have failed. Not one anywhere in his books. He pulls it off quite nicely actually.