Education

Writing Resource: 8 Tips on Dialogue

Dialogue is an integral part of any novel. Here are eight ways to upgrade your dialogue and avoid some newbie pitfalls.

Improving Dialogue

  1. Every conversation should move the plot forward. No empty fillers, please.
  2. Pick a punctuation style and stick to it. If you are going to query a major publisher, you may want to use Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS). Regardless of what you choose to use, consistency is key. For example: if you use an en-dash when a character is cut off in a conversation, do it every time. 
  3. People rarely use each others’ names in conversation after an initial greeting.

    Here is an example of overuse:
    “Heya, Eric.”
    “Hello, Nora.”

    “Eric, how has your summer been so far?”
    “Well, Nora, it has been rather busy. I’m ready to slow down for a bit.”
    “I totally understand, Eric. I have been busy too.”

    Besides the fact that the dialogue is a yawn fest, people don’t naturally use one another’s names that much when talking. I makes your characters sound like game show hosts. “Yes, Vanna.” (more…)

MLA Formatting Quick Reference

Last night a received an avalanche of emails from my beloved students trying to format their papers. Now, some of this is because they have given themselves “permission to forget” between papers, but that is another issue. So here is my quick reference, for you and my lovlies:

Font, Font Size, Spacing, and the dreaded Widow/Orphan Control

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Writing: Symbolism of Flowers

Adding Depth to Writing and Understanding

I am currently preparing to teach The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Before I begin the unit, I spend some time going over the symbolism of flowers (and colors), since Fitzgerald beautifully threads this information through his novels. I tell my students that this will help them understand the literature with more depth. If you are a writer, why not go for that added layer of meaning?

Commence with the Wooing (fanning self) FLOWERS Symbolism

Then, I address the boys and say, “Gentlemen, take special care with this information. I am helping you woo women. Giving a girl flowers is one thing, choosing specific flowers and being able to tell your intended why–is priceless.” [insert girls giggling and sounds of agreement here]

Older Meanings Rock!

I have gathered the meanings and symbolism over the years and compiled them on this list. Most of the meanings listed are from older texts, especially from the Victorian Era, thus some of the meanings have changed in recent years (I blame the florists), but I stick with the older meanings.

Downloadable PDF: FLOWERS Symbolism

 

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