Tag Archives: dialogue

#WordUse Series:
Words I Never Want to See in Your Novel. Please.

When I get to the end of an edit, I generally make a list of the author’s “favorite” words and phrases—words he or she used over and over without realizing it. It’s quite instructive. Usually they are words like so and well used at the beginning of sentences of dialogue. Often it’s amazing (and you know how I feel about that!). Smirk shows up […]

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#WordUse Series:
You Keep Using That Word. I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means.

I admit I’m sometimes out of the loop. (Or behind the curve. Or whatever.) I don’t watch television and it’s only me up here in the swanky second-floor office in the pink house with the blue door, so whole fads pass me by. Whole memes pass me by. But I am up on my word usage, kids. And Your […]

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#WordUse Series:
All Their Wars Are Merry and All Their Songs Are Sad*

Words—and the way they are pronounced—can be such funny things. And people are often passionately attached to their own interpretation, even if they’re … well … wrong. (Like the pronunciation of Van Gogh. Look it up; you may be surprised.) The Irishman and I have done some pleasant business with a company called Celtic Marble […]

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#WordUse Series:
Amazing, My Dear Watson

The word amazing is still way, way overused these days. She’s an amazing mother. That movie was amazing. It’s amazing that you can get up and do that every day. That clothing store is amazing. (A clothing store? Really? These are examples ripped from your editor’s own life and I assure you a clothing store […]

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Short Saturday: The Art of the (Fiction) Con

Here’s a great article from author Elizabeth Sims about internal dialogue. (In most cases I would call it inner monologue, but that’s neither here nor there; I’ve written about it before.) I particularly got a kick out of Sims’s pointing out pitfalls— Making a character’s inner voice into a sarcastic wisecracker who won’t shut up. […]

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Confabulation, Confirmation, and Connotation

Not long ago I posted a photograph of the Irishman and my (er, his? our?) cat on Facebook with this caption: Just now, in the man cave. And a friend of mine remarked that she wasn’t fond of the term man cave. It was just a little banter among friends, but I was intrigued. I […]

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Go On, I Dare You! (Sound Familiar?)

Somewhere around the early seventies, I was regaling a hugely motivated friend with some wild story pertaining to my recent life experience. She said, “You know what drives me crazy about you? You dissipate all this talent talking out stories over the kitchen table. I want you to stat writing it down. Go on. I […]

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Short Saturday: Yes. This. (Hyperbole.)

I love slang but am less enamored of hyperbole, especially the kind that makes you sound like a thirteen-year-old (unless you’re writing fictional dialogue for young teens, in which instance go for it). In fact, I’m on record when it comes to the use of amazing, the patron saint of hyperbole, which is so overused […]

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Snicker, Sputter, and Snarl

I got a second pass from one of my authors not too long ago, with a little note: “I’ve tried really hard to remove all the he-saids and she-saids. I may have missed some.” I opened the manuscript and saw a lot of sputtereds and demandeds and grimaceds. Wait … what? I lay my head […]

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Short Saturday: Things Left Unspoken

I’m currently in the middle of an edit of a story in which the protagonist has a very big secret to keep. (Or, perhaps, to reveal, but I can’t tell you any more than that.) I’ll tell you this: it makes for some interesting character development. That’s the theme of this piece published at Writer […]

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