Writing Dialogue

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Although I write a lot of different types of writing, if I were honest, sometimes I would willingly forego all prose and simply spend all my time writing dialogue. Writing a good conversation that holds the reader’s interest and advances the story at the same time without becoming exposition is a genuine talent and writers often confess to struggling with it. So here are a few tips.

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The Writing Path Not Taken

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At the heady heights of the Twilight movies success and as The Hunger Games movie was beginning to grip everyone as well, a friend suggested that I should attempt to write a similar series of books. Young adult for all intents and purposes but with mainstream crossover potential and, most importantly, with film adaptation in the forefront of my mind.

Perhaps for those who aren’t writers, it seems that writing a successful book series that becomes a successful movie series is as simple as having the idea and seeing it through. But knowing what will strike a chord with young adult readers and Hollywood producers at any given moment is almost impossible – I’m still trying to figure it out.

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Book Review: The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

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The Bell Jar is very readable prose but, boy, does it tackle a difficult to read topic. Esther is a young woman who seems to have it all but struggles with mental health issues. It’s well known that this novel is based on Sylvia Plath’s own experiences and she originally published it under a pseudonym to protect the people in her life she had done little to disguise in the book.

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Screen Scene: No Easy Deaths

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This is a scene from the pilot episode of Raising Kane, a television show I wrote a dozen episodes of (never produced) before I switched my focus to novels. The Kane family, represented in this scene by Jolie (one of the daughters) and Francesca (the grandmother), are at the wake after the funeral of Jonas Kane (the father), murdered by someone as yet unknown.

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The Ideas Generator

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I’ve posted previously on when inspiration comes to me and how I turn it into an idea for what to write about. But I know some writers still struggle when it comes to brainstorming for the next great story.

As I was trying to sleep one night (which is when almost all good ideas strike), I had an idea for how to generate ideas. It’s a seven-step process that can be applied to a lot of stories already out there, which is why I think it will work for developing new stories.

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Book Review: Big Brother by Lionel Shriver

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I chose to read Big Brother by Lionel Shriver entirely based on having read We Need To Talk About Kevin (which I won’t say I enjoyed – the subject matter makes that impossible – but which was well written and extremely powerful).

Big Brother is the story of Pandora, an average woman who has fallen into a business that she doesn’t have a passion for. When she hears her New York-based brother, Edison, has fallen on hard times, she invites him to stay with her, her husband and two stepchildren in Iowa. But when she meets him at the airport, she almost doesn’t recognise him because he weighs 200 pounds more than when she last saw him. And so begins Lionel Shriver’s commentary on a weighty issue. Continue reading

Tips on Getting Published from Someone Who Has Never Been Published

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When I was studying for my Master’s degree in writing (between 2004 and 2007), each week we were expected to listen to a lecture, read accompanying materials and prepare approximately 500 words in response to a question or discussion point. In week 11 of The Writerly Self (don’t ask, I can’t remember what the subject was about), we were asked to provide advice to our fellow students on getting published and the following was what I came up with.  Continue reading