A tip a day to keep the rejections away
Let’s call this a marathon…of words. I’m going to post one writing tip a day to help you become a better writer. Some of them you may already know. It all depends on how far along you are as a writer.
What are my qualifications? For several years, I’ve written the monthly Pet Vet column for the Post Bulletin newspaper. I’ve had articles published in RunMinnesota, DVM360 journal, and The Wagazine. I’m in a wonderful critique group that meets weekly to tell me everything I’ve done wrong.
Save yourself some time by learning from my mistakes.
Abbreviations are as follows:
MS = manuscript
CP = critique partner
WIP = work in progress
MILE TWO = DIALOGUE TAGS
I’ve got three rules to discuss concerning dialogue tags. This is based on reading, editing, and deep meditation on the subject.
First—it’s all about LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION.
Don’t wait until the very end of a long paragraph of dialogue to tell me who is speaking. Don’t make me (the reader) wonder, wait, or skip ahead to find out. Put the dialogue tag right at the very first logical break (where you would insert a comma or a period).
“I love the way your hair blows in the wind, the way your eyes sparkle in the moonlight, the way your perfume does an excellent job of covering up the smell of your farts. We never should’ve had beans for dinner, but I love you anyway,” crooned Fabio.
Now you know why I don’t write romance novels.
Here’s the revision:
“I love the way your hair blows in the wind,” crooned Fabio, “the way your eyes sparkle in the moonlight…”
Second dialogue reminder: GIVE ME A DIALOGUE TAG OR A PHYSICAL CUE, BUT DON’T BOTHER ME WITH BOTH
Another classy example:
“Supper was awesome,” Ernie said as he burped.
And the suggested revision:
“Supper was awesome.” Ernie burped.
The next rule is simple, yet complicated: THE KEY TO DIALOGUE TAGS IS NOT TOO MANY…AND NOT TOO FEW.
Add enough that the reader always knows who is talking, but not so many that it slows the flow. But I can’t give you a proper example for this. Good critique partners (CPs) will point this out to you.
That’s it—your quickie tip for the day!See you tomorrow for Mile 3!