IMPORTANT UPDATE:

Due to the murder of my family and the resulting court cases, police investigations, and FBI investigations, I no longer have time to daily update this website.

Likewise ALL novel, short story, and article writing projects are on hiatus.

All book releases, book signings, workshops, and convention appearances for 2015 (and unknown amount of time after) are on hold while the murder investigation of my family is ongoing.

Writing advice for the worldbuilding, character creation, and other writing how to articles are on hold.

From now on, the bulk of updates here will be about the investigation into the murder of my family.

No, NOT just THIS author website, not JUST the EelKat pename, not just self published books: ALL 15 (fifteen) of my penames are on hiatus, that includes traditional published books as well, newspaper reporting jobs, editing jobs, my work for Harlequin Romance Novels, my work for Disney... EVERYTHING is on hiatus. Every publishing house I work for, every series I write, every penname I write under: they are ALL on hiatus, ALL projects.

There is NOTHING being published under ANY penname, not for ANY series, not for ANY publisher, from 2015 onward. EVERYTHING is on hold due to the murder of my family. I do not know when or even if, any of the projects will be restarted or finished.

Yes, BOTH the magazines I owned are indefinitely shut down because of this as well, with no plans for either magazine to return. The publishing house I own is also closed to submissions from now on, we will no longer be publishing anything. It is unlikely we will reopen the publishing house either.

All book signing tours, workshops, letures, PAX events, ComicCon events, carnival/festival/state fair/car show events are also canceled. I will not be attending ANY of them. If a venue still has my name listed as a guest/speaker/etc it is because they've not yet removed it. I WILL NOT be there, no matter where it is! 

EVERYTHING, EVERYWHERE, IS CANCELED!

The ONLY thing continuing from this point on, is THIS website, where I'll post updates on the murder investigation, hopefully every week, but, you know how it is when 10 members of your family are beheaded, it's kind of difficult to have a schedule for anything anymore.







Writing Dialogue, Monologuing Characters, & Preposition Abuse



Writing Dialogue, Monologuing Characters, Yelling Characters,  Preposition Abuse, and Other thoughts on writing character's speaking.

Writing Dialogue, Monologuing Characters, Yelling Characters,  Preposition Abuse, and Other thoughts on writing character's speaking.

(HELP!) Capitalization in dialogue? Exclamation points? Neither?





>>>(HELP!) Capitalization in dialogue? Exclamation points? Neither?

>>>I'm writing an intense scene currently where someone is screaming. First, I typed it with exclamation points in the dialogue, but it looked wrong. It also didn't seem to capture how intense the screaming was. So I replaced it so that it was all in capitalization, but that seemed *worse* somehow. It looked cheesy.

>>>Any advice on what I should do, or if I should avoid capitalization/exclamation points in dialogue?

I’m going to show you HOW to use all caps CORRECTLY, in writing. Pay attention to how I write this post. SEE if you can pick up on what the CORRECT use of all cap words is.

Grammar rules specify you use an exclamation mark to show shock or surprise and NOT yelling or screaming. It is used ONLY with the exclamation tag. The first word after is capitalized as an exclamation point ends the dialogue like a period or question mark.

For example, THIS is correct:


  • * “Oh my god!” She exclaimed when she saw the mess they had made.

Meaning THESE are incorrect:


  • * “Oh my god!” She screamed...

  • * “Oh my god!” She yelled...

  • * “Oh my god!” She shouted...

Also, never use multiple exclamation points.

Thus THIS is incorrect:


  • * “Oh my god!!!!” She screamed...

And ALWAYS spell out the entire word. NEVER use acronyms or text speech when writing dialogue.

THIS is incorrect, even though the use of the exclamation point IS correct:


  • * “OMG!” She exclaimed...

All caps in literature are utilized to emphasize 4 or fewer words in a sentence to show that word is more important that the rest. (See my examples above throughout this post). In dialogue it is used to show that the character ACCENTED a word while speaking. Similar to how a comma is used, to show that they paused briefly while speaking BECAUSE they wanted the other character to pay attention to that one word. It tells the reader to pause and focus on the word, but to not pause as long as one would for a comma. All caps are never used to show the character as shouting, screaming, or otherwise raising their voice.

For example, THIS is correct:


  • * “Pay attention to THIS word here,” the teacher said to her student as she pointed to the misspelled word in their essay. “What is wrong with it?”

The use of all caps to indicating yelling was invented by Yahoo for their Yahoo Messenger chat rooms in 1997. It did not exist in published media prior to this. If you submit a manuscript to a publisher with this type of grammar errors, they will probably toss your manuscript in the trash. Not even bother sending you a rejection letter.

Publishers, as a general rule, don’t like to waste their time on writers who can be bothered to learn basic grammar rules. So, if you plan to pro publish, do be sure to edit things like that out.

The correct way to show that a character screamed is simply to use the appropriate tag and put it before the dialogue so that the reader knows ahead of time to think of the character yelling.

For example:


  •  * She saw the mess then yelled: “What did you two do, while I was gone?”

  •  * The child ran towards the street. Her mother screamed to her: “Get back here.”

Buy a high school textbook for “English Grammar & Composition” class, any grade 7 to 12 will do. After 7th grade most are close enough to the same that it doesn’t matter which grade level the book says it is. They contain the basic rules of grammar. Each chapter has exercises you can do to practice the grammar rules.

Best way to learn how to write, really is to buy high school Grammar & Composition text books. Do the exercises. 

It’s what I do. I do them daily. I go through 10 or 12 high school textbooks a year. Plus, I take classic literature (Poe, Wells, Dickens, etc.) and diagram 100 sentences a day from them. Been doing it for 40+ years. It keeps the grammar rules always fresh in my head. Keeps me constantly honing my skill. Practising my craft even when I’m not writing something to publish, so that I never get rusty.

I never went to school.

No child does in Gypsy culture. Something I’ve been trying to convince parents to change.

They just don’t see any reason to learn to read or write or do Maths or tell time or dates/calendars. They aren’t things we use in everyday life. They are horse, sheep, and poultry farmers. Grow all their own food. Make all their own cloths. No one has electricity or plumbing. Most don’t even have houses, just live in tents.

So, I was an adult before I learned the basics of grammar. I had to teach myself by buying high school textbooks.

When I started out, I drove to a local high school, told them I wanted to learn to read and write, but was too old for school. Asked them, did they have any old textbooks they were going to throw away that I could have?

They took me into the school library. They had a huge section of free books.

They said: “Bring your car up to that door over there, we’ll load it up, you can take them all. Students already took what they wanted.” They gave me over 300 textbooks for every topic and every grade imaginable and lots of novels. They told me they had adult education classes at night, they were free, come sign up. I did.

I got my GED a few months later. I was 37 years old.

Ever since, I made it a goal to buy a new grammar text book every month and complete the whole thing. I’ve done it ever since. Today, I’m not only one of the few Gypsies who can read and write, I’m one of the few to ever be published. But I wouldn’t be, if I hadn’t had the dedication to devote myself to learning grammar.

I think a lot of people, who grew up being able to go to school, take for granted, what a gift it is to not only be able to read and write but also to know good grammar. Devote yourself to learning and practising grammar rules. You’ll become a far better writer than you thought possible.


So, I was over on Reddit, you like I often am, and found this question. And answered it, like I do. However, the answer I initially gave was a simple generic answer. If you want to read my original answer unaltered, simply click on Reddit's embed feature links which Reddit provides for webmasters to be able to post their answers on their websites, while linking back to the original thread on Reddit (if you didn't know Reddit offered and encouraged the use of this feature, look for it in the "share" features underneath every post, comment, and reply on Reddit).

I am answering random questions today about world building, over on Reddit and decided to take my answers from there and expand upon them even further over here. So that's what this page is. Me rambling on about various aspects of world building techniques I use when writing the Quaraun series. The questions I am answering are embedded here. Clicking the link in the embedded question will take you to the original Reddit page where you can see the original answer along with other people's answers. If you wish to comment, you can do so on the Reddit page where a place to do so is provided.

In any case, as with all of my Reddit answers found on my site here, my original post on Reddit is much shorter then the article here.


Writing Dialogue, Monologuing Characters, & Preposition Abuse

I have a rather opinionated and long answer, but hopefully it'll help. I have a degree in Teaching High School English Literature & Grammar. I'm seeing some grammar issues in your posts here, which, probably are happening in your novel writing, and may be what is causing your character dialogue issues.

Question: Are you still in high school? If so, please focus on your grammar classes. If not, what grade did you get at graduation and is there a local community center, adult ed classes, GED center, where you can take grammar classes? You, do need them. You don't talk like a high schooler. Your vocabulary, you talk like someone in their 30s or 40s but you have grammar issues common with high schools. You have the vocabulary of someone very well read, someone who probably has a college degree in Maths or Sciences, but struggles with Grammar rules. If that makes sense.

And could I ask: Is it possible your native language is French? You're making a HUGE amount of grammar errors, but one is standing out. It's commonly referred to as "back handed double talk", and it's some VERY common with French speakers who have recently learned English. It involves a lot of subject-verb reversal, and putting words in the wrong order to such an extreme that the sentences become almost completely unreadable. And you don't appear to be aware that you are doing it.

For the most part, your grammar is good, but the parts that are in error, are unusual errors for native English speakers to make, but are very common from French to English speakers to make. Over explaining a thing is common in French to English speakers, because they are uncertain if they said the correct word, so they say the word, then describe what the word meant. It results in insanity loooooooooong sentences. 30 words. 40 words. 50 words. You haven't yet typed a 70 word sentence here at least.

For example:

This seems to be especially true for my experience due to the nature of the science fiction setting and plot as well as the type of characters and their levels of involvement being somewhat direct at times.

37 words to say:

"In my experience sci-fi characters can be quite direct."

9 words.

I get the impression based on your phraseology, grammar usage, and writing style, that you are quite well read in the classics, like Edgar Allan Poe, Robert Louis Stevenson, Charles Dickens, Benjamin Franklin, but don't read modern literature much. It almost looks like you originally spoke French and taught yourself English by reading classic literature.

Your OP is written in monologue format. A very outdated style that has not been seen in published novels since the mid-1800s. Seeing how most people write the same way they talk in conversations, I'm guessing you are someone who in a conversation, talks a lot, talks very fast, and is too focused on what you are saying to notice when or if the other person is talking. The thing that cues me into this is all the compound, run-on sentence, and a near complete lack of any use of punctuation. This is a typical speech and writing pattern of men who are tuned into Science. Men who like to analyze and study things and tend towards a very scientific outlook to everything in life. This makes them very good in Science, Math, and Technology, but often they struggle with Grammar.

When a person is prone to scientific thinking patterns, they tend to talk very fast, very long, and over other people, and they have a tendency to write exactly the same way they talk, so in their writing, often do not use periods or commas, because they only stop the writing in place where they stop talking, but because their brain is going very fast, they don't naturally stop talking here a period should be, thus they both talk and write in very long run-on sentences.

I think this is what you are doing.

And I think... this is the issue you are seeing in your dialogue in your novel.

None of this is a bad thing, it just means you have a very scientifically creative brain, which is a good thing and helps you envision your novel before you write it. But it can trip you up when writing, resulting in a higher than normal need for editing later on.

Here's what I think is happening and how I would go about fixing it. I think you are someone with a very active brain, that is always thinking, always pushing forward, sometimes so fast that you can't keep up. Before you've finished typing one sentence your brain is already thinking 3 sentences ahead, so you have to write fast to keep up. Without realizing it, you inadvertently start writing in a quai-shorthand fashion, where you stop using articles, periods, and commas. And you write an entire paragraph as though it were one 50 word long sentence. (Count the words of each sentence in your post and you'll see what I mean.) What should be 10 sentences, suddenly is one long monologued mess. And while you are in the flow of writing, you don't realize it is happening.

But then, when you go back to read what you wrote, then you see it. Then you realize: "Something ain't right here. How do I fix this?"

When I was in college a writing teacher (who was also a bestselling novelist) gave a bit of advice that I found helps, and perhaps will help you with this issue. What he said was this:

"When writing novels always follow the rule of 7. Have no more than 7 words per sentence. No more than 7 sentences per paragraph. No more than 7 paragraph per scene. No more than 7 scenes per chapter."

He said: "If your sentence has more than 7 words, you are using too many adverbs, adjectives, conjunctions, and prepositions."

This sentence for example has 41 words in it:

Many characters can either be explaining or reasoning with each other at length resulting in what on paper seems like a monologue or court argument but in reality they can be speaking as plainly or exaggerated as I to you.

If your characters in your novel, talk like THIS, it's easy to fix. Here, I'll fix it:

Many characters reason with each other at length. The text looks like a monologue or court argument. They are speaking as plainly as I am.

Sentence 1 = 8 words

Sentence 2 = 8 words

Sentence 3 = 8 words

You now have 3 sentences instead of 1, and a word count of 24 instead of 41. Simply by changing passive voice to active voice and correcting the grammar errors. And it can be cleaned up more.

As an example: One chapter I have found great difficulty with involves a non-criminal related closed door committee of people and the description of an event that occurred and why it happened. The details discussed provide some world building and character development as one disagrees with involvement while the another has hidden proof but does not wish to implicate the other publicly as it would potentially slow down their objectives. They do however need to convince the committee that the event occurred and could have been prevented so they can help push support for preventing future related events. In this case writing dialog last may have been difficult?

You are writing in what is known as "backhanded double talk", I'm not sure if you realize that. If your characters are doing the same thing, again, simply correcting the grammar errors will completely fix the problem. I'll fix this post and show you what I mean:

  • As an example 
  • Should be: For example (3 words becomes 2)
  • One chapter I have found great difficulty with involves a non-criminal related closed door committee of people and the description of an event that occurred and why it happened. 
  • Should be: I have difficulty with one chapter. It involves a non-criminal, closed-door committee. (30 words in 1 sentence becomes 12 words in 2 sentences.)
  • The details discussed provide some world building and character development as one disagrees with involvement while the another has hidden proof but does not wish to implicate the other publicly as it would potentially slow down their objectives. 
  • Should be: Worldbuilding and character development occur during the discussion. (38 words becomes 8 words.)
  • They do however need to convince the committee that the event occurred and could have been prevented so they can help push support for preventing future related events. 
  • Should be: 28 words completely removed.
  • In this case writing dialog last may have been difficult? 
  • Should be: ??? This sentence causes me to ask if English is your first language? I could translate it into proper Grammar, if I could figure out what it was you meant to say. It's like you put this sentence from your native language into Google translate, changed it to something, not English, then translated it to English from that. It's gibberish. It's literally words thrown at a dartboard and arranged however they landed, with no subject or verb and just does not convey any clear message at all.

On the other hand, part of me thinks your brain is just thinking so damn fast, that your hands can't keep up, and so, some of your sentences come out like this, because your brain has sped off ahead and your fingers in their rush to catch up, just typed whatever and kept on going. Again, this is VERY common with someone who has a Scientific mind you probably have a very high IQ, actually. This sort of writing error is common with high IQ people. It's fairly common for someone with an IQ over 135 to make these sorts of writing errors and very simply caused by their brain thinking too many thoughts at once and their fingers getting confused and typing bits and pieces of each thought at once.

I've seen this sort of error before. There's a guy I work with, everybody thinks he's kind of crazy, he's very eccentric, but OMG! You start tossing Math and Science equations at him and you can't keep up. His brain just goes woooosh, past you. He's been trying for years to become a police officer. So, he gets to the point of taking the State police exam, and they tell him, well, you gotta take an IQ test. He scores 148 on the IQ test and they tell him: "You're a frigging genius, we can't higher you." He's like: "What? Why?" And they explain to him, that because of the way his brain works, he wouldn't make a good cop, because he over thinks things, analyzes everything, and likely suffers from writing issues. They tell him, a lot of the job is writing up police reports, and people with a mind like his, can't sit down and write a 3 page report because over alizes the situation and end up turning in a 300 page essay instead of a 3 page report, because they over explain everything. Well, this guy, I've seen his writing. He writes a piece of a sentence, and ends it with the piece of another sentence... and there should have been 2 or 3 sentences in between that never got written, because his finger couldn't keep up with his brain.

Anyways, that's what the last sentence there reminded me of. I'm getting the impression you are like this guy. High IQ, Scientific, and thinks a lot.

End result 5 sentences totalling 109 words, is now 3 sentences totaling 22 words without changing the meaning.

This:

As an example: One chapter I have found great difficulty with involves a non-criminal related closed door committee of people and the description of an event that occurred and why it happened. The details discussed provide some world building and character development as one disagrees with involvement while the another has hidden proof but does not wish to implicate the other publicly as it would potentially slow down their objectives. They do however need to convince the committee that the event occurred and could have been prevented so they can help push support for preventing future related events. In this case writing dialog last may have been difficult?

Is now this:

For example: I have difficulty with one chapter. It involves a non-criminal, closed-door committee. Worldbuilding and character development occur during the discussion.

Can you see what I did?

If not, here's what I did:

  • All unnecessary exposition and irrelevant explanations have been removed.
  • Rarely is more than one preposition needed per sentence. I removed all unnecessary prepositional phrases.
  • A preposition must have an object. I removed all free standing, objectless prepositions.
  • Pre-position means place before. I removed all reversed prepositional phrases that ended instead of began, with a preposition.
  • I removed all back handed double talk.
  • to, the preposition and to, the infinitive are not the same; I've removed those as well.
  • A preposition is followed by a "noun". It is NEVER followed by a verb. I've removed these as well.
  • I added punctuation. Commas where you need to remind your brain to slow down and pause. Periods in places where you need to tell your brain to come to a full stop and take a deep breath. People who talk fast, often forget to pause or stop in their conversations and then do the same thing in their writing. A lot of grammar teachers calling "the New York conversation" because New Yorkers talk this way and often write this way.

Your biggest problem is you have absolutely no clue how, when, or where to use a preposition. You are literally tossing words on the page with no regards to where they should be. And it's killing your writing. It makes your writing style VERY difficult to read.

I think, if you were to brush up on how, when, and where to use prepositions, and simply just start using commas and periods, I think you'll find your writing dialogue is going to improve immensely.

These should help get you started, but definitely invest in a Grammar textbook (college) preferably one with a heavy use of diagramming sentences.

THIS is what a diagramed sentance looks like if you've never seen one:

http://www.k12reader.com/worksheet/sentence-diagramming-guide/view/

it's something you would have been taught in 5th grade, but most 5th graders think it is boring so ignore it, and then as adults wonder why they have trouble with grammar rules.

Instructions for how to diagram a sentence:

https://www.thoughtco.com/how-to-diagram-a-sentence-1856964 .

I HIGHLY recommend, you take the chapter that is causing you trouble, and diagram EVERY SINGLE sentence of it. If's what your editor is gonna do if you plan to publish. By the end of the day, I guarantee your characters will have stopped monologuing and will be speaking more clearly. Nothing cures writing problems, like digraming your entire novel as part of the editing process.

This app (free), may help you fix you character dialogue issues: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/store/p/sentence-diagrammer/9nblggh10hzs

But here's some help with prepositions, that should fix a lot of your characters' dialogue issues:

http://www.grammarbook.com/grammar/probPrep.asp

http://www.grammar-monster.com/lessons/prepositions.htm

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Category:English_prepositional_phrases

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Category:English_phrasal_prepositions

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_English_prepositions

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preposition_and_postposition

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Category:English_prepositions

https://www.englishclub.com/grammar/prepositions-rule.htm

https://www.englishclub.com/grammar/prepositions-rules.htm

http://grammar.yourdictionary.com/parts-of-speech/prepositions/rules-for-prepositions.html

I do break up as best I can with background information or minor events such as moving a character in a scene when actions are available but what I have found is that my writing tends to become at length to a point I feel may be excessive.

Yep. May be excessive.

You took 48 words to say: "My writing may be excessive." (5 words.)

And yes, I am aware of the fact that my post here, is ironic, as it is itself, excessive. But, hey, it takes one to know one, eh?

I have a problem being long winded and wordy in my writing (you've probably noticed). My drafts are a nightmare. They require so much editing. So much re-writing. So much removing excessive wordiness.

I completely understand when you say:

although my reddit style is of the slightly absurd variety, I can say that my normal writing style is not

I feel your pain.

Now...

Let's take something else into consideration.

All of what I have just said up to this point, are changes you would make if you wanted your novel writing in perfect English Grammar.

The question now becomes... but do you want it written in perfect English Grammar?

No one can answer that but you.

There is a market for long winded prose. And you are clearly very good at writing this style. It's a Literary market, so it's not as big as a genre fiction market. But it's out there, and it does like reading long winded fiction.

Anyone who is a fan of Edgar Allan Poe, LOVES 13 pages long sentences. That's not a joke. The Fall of House of Usher, contains a 13 page long sentence. Several hundred words in one single sentence.

Have you considered the possibility that, you don't NEED to change anything about your writing style?

I mean, I listed the things that need changing, because, well, you asked. But does changing your novel out of the style you wrote it in, and into perfect English Grammar actually improve the story or not?

If you have a character who monologues and rambles on, filling pages with text... well, that kind of says a lot about that character's personality. Their thought process. And you yourself said, the long monologue was important to character development.

The details discussed provide some world building and character development as one disagrees with involvement while the another has hidden proof but does not wish to implicate the other publicly as it would potentially slow down their objectives.

What I wished to accomplish was world building in a more interactive means involving the main characters instead of getting it from the narrator that just feeds background information. It is information expected to come from dialog within this setting and actually helps push the importance of what the event involved. I don't want to just say that a character described this and that. If the character has passion for or against what he/she is saying then they should do so right?

Here's a thought... have you considered reading stage play scripts?

A stage play has a paragraph of scene description on the first page, followed by dialogue, dialogue, dialogue, dialogue, dialogue, dialogue, dialogue, dialogue, dialogue, dialogue, dialogue, dialogue, dialogue, dialogue, dialogue, dialogue, dialogue, dialogue, dialogue, dialogue, dialogue, dialogue, dialogue, dialogue, dialogue, dialogue, dialogue, dialogue, dialogue, dialogue, dialogue, dialogue, dialogue, dialogue, dialogue, dialogue, dialogue, dialogue, dialogue, dialogue, dialogue, dialogue, dialogue, dialogue, dialogue, dialogue, dialogue, dialogue, dialogue, dialogue, dialogue, dialogue, dialogue, dialogue, dialogue, dialogue, and oh look, more dialogue.

Before I wrote novels, I started out writing stage play scripts. I LOVE live theatre, so that's where I started out. And it shows. A lot. When you read my published novels. The fact that I started out in theatre before novels sticks out like a sore thumb.

You want to know something about my novels? They are almost entirely dialogue. There is no narrator, because there are no descriptions. None outside of dialogue at least. Even when the dialogue stops, and some non-dialogue shows up, the non-dialogue is nothing but the internal thoughts of the character who just stopped talking. It's called "head hopping" and boy am I ever good at writing it.

If you start looking for it, you'll quickly find that most authors freak out and preach the evils of "head hopping" and say, no, no, no, no, no, don't EVER do that! No! Shame on any one who does! But does that stop me from writing it? Nope. Why? Because it fits the main character. He's a drug addict and he often is uncertain if he is in his own head or not. It's an unusual writing style, yes, and perhaps it should be avoided in most novels, but for the series in question, it works. It fits with the theme of the story, to have a non-traditional writing style going on.

The point is, it sounds to me, like you are writing in a very non-traditional style, and it also sounds like, you are only considering changing it because you are comparing what your text looks like when compared to other novels, right?

What I wished to accomplish was world building in a more interactive means involving the main characters instead of getting it from the narrator that just feeds background information. It is information expected to come from dialog within this setting and actually helps push the importance of what the event involved. I don't want to just say that a character described this and that. If the character has passion for or against what he/she is saying then they should do so right?

Charles Dickens once wrote a character who had a passion for watching ripples in the water...and then spent 24 pages of none stop one character dialogue as that character stood on a bridge and described every ripple in the water below.

Charles Dickens is considered one of the great classic writers whom all writers should strive to write like. This logic tells us that we should therefore all write characters who self-dialogue on their favourite things for 24 pages without interruption. Why then does no one do this? Because it's as boring to read someone gushing over a passion as it is to listen to a real life person doing it.

Thus you have long boring, dull blocks of dialogue like this:

"... and so that's when you add the half-cup of sugar. Did you ever notice how sugar looks like snow? Funny isn't it. How white it is. But you gotta keep stirring. Stirring constantly, so it doesn't stick and burn on the bottom of the pan. And by the way, you really should be using a copper bottom pan, you know the one made out of steal, that silver metal, with the copper coating on the bottom, that orange metal, and they usually have a black handle. So after you add the sugar see, next you add the frozen strawberries, which are small and red and got seeds in them. Did you know strawberries come from Florida. Florida had a deep freeze last week. It actually snowed, Can you believe it. It never snows in Florida. I'll bet the strawberry crops have all been destroyed. So after you add the strawberries you want to increase the heat and keep on stirring constantly. And be sure to use a wooden spoon. You know, the big, long handed, oak wood ones. Don't use one of those small, silver metal ones. It'll affect the taste...."


If one character in your novel is doing it, then this is a good opportunity to show this character as dry, dull, and boring. Having other character interrupt him saying "It's getting late" trying to drop hints, but him just continuing to talk and talk and talk and talk...


"... and so that's when you add the half-cup of sugar. Did you ever notice how sugar looks like snow? Funny isn't it. How white it is. But you gotta keep stirring. Stirring constantly, so it doesn't stick and burn on the bottom of the pan. And by the way, you really should be using a copper bottom pan, you know the one made out of steal, that silver metal, with the copper coating on the bottom, that orange metal, and they usually have a black handle..."

"It's getting late..."

"Yeah, I know. Just a minute. I'm almost done. So after you add the sugar see, next you add the frozen strawberries, which are small and red and got seeds in them. Did you know strawberries come from Florida. Florida had a deep freeze last week. It actually snowed, Can you believe it. It never snows in Florida. I'll bet the strawberry crops have all been destroyed..."

"I need to go to bed."

"Oh, yeah, sure. I'm almost done. So after you add the strawberries you want to increase the heat and keep on stirring constantly. And be sure to use a wooden spoon. You know, the big, long handed, oak wood ones. Don't use one of those small, silver metal ones. It'll affect the taste...."

Can you see how boring it would be if I just let him done on and one describing every shape and colour of every item he mentioned? Because this character is hell bent of world building and describing everything, this character is seen by the reader as a dull bore. So this is an example of how sometimes you WANT a character monologuing and describing things, because you want to show that the character is annoying.

Normally in most novels, your dialogue should be quick and snappy and look like this:

"... and so that's when you add the half-cup of sugar..."

"Did you ever notice how sugar looks like snow?"

"Yeah, Funny isn't it. How white it is."

"Hey you two! Pay attention. You gotta keep stirring."

"Yeah, yeah. Stirring constantly, so it doesn't stick and burn on the bottom of the pan."

"And by the way, you really should be using a copper bottom pan..."

"This is the one that was there."

"It's getting late..."

"Yeah, I know. Just a minute. I'm almost done."

"So after you add the sugar see, next you add the frozen strawberries.

"Did you know strawberries come from Florida?"

"Florida had a deep freeze last week. It actually snowed! Can you believe it?"

"It never snows in Florida."

"I'll bet the strawberry crops have all been destroyed..."

"I need to go to bed."

"Oh, yeah, sure. I'm almost done."

"So after you add the strawberries you want to increase the heat and keep on stirring constantly. And be sure to use a wooden spoon. You know, the big, long handed, oak wood ones. Don't use one of those small, silver metal ones. It'll affect the taste...."


(That right there, btw, is called "The Ernest Hemingway Style of Writing", if you decide you want to look into it more. It means the dialogue between 2 or more characters, written without any name/said tags and without a narrator. It's considered a Literary style of writing dialogue and is not often seen in genre fiction; it is however how I write all my novels, and is what I was talking about when I told you my novels are straight up dialogue without any narrator. In normal novels there would have been "he said" tags and breaks of narration in between.)

Can you see how instead of it being one long droning passage by one character, I've now broken it up onto a quick, snappy exchange of conversation between 3 characters?

If you go through the dialogue of your novel, you shouldn't see any blocks of text, but rather should see lots of tiny snappy sentences going back and forth between characters.

In real life conversation, people jump in and it's rare anyone gets to the end of a sentence before someone else starts to speak.

All of your dialogue passages should bounce back and forth between characters very quickly, with each character saying only about 7 words before the next character starts talking.

If you have any passages of dialogue that contain more then 20 words before changing character, you need to find ways to re-write those blocks of text to create more realistic and easier to read dialogue exchanges.

In real life, people do not talk in long uninterrupted speeches. And when a person does do that, they are self absorbed, not paying attention to the people around them, and are usually coming off as a "know it all jerk who won't let anyone else speak"... and in your novel, a character who says more then 20 words before the dialogue changes characters, is going to be seen by your readers as a "know it all jerk who won't let anyone else speak". Thus the only time you would have a character monologuing is if you want to convey to your readers that he is a "know it all jerk who won't let anyone else speak".

My own dialogue in my novels, tends to be super short, very quick and snappy, with the back forth moving very quickly. He's a scene to show you what I mean by that:

"Never understood that. An Elf attracted to a Phooka. That just ain't done.”

“My father didn't like BoomFuzzy.”

“And that be why ya was with him? To spite ya faddah?”

“Yeah. At first. He'd cut my hair. I met BoomFuzzy later that same day.”

“Ya was pissed about ya hair. I remember that. It were all ya talkit of for weeks.”

“I knew he was a Faerie as soon as I saw him. I knew he was lying to me about the genie bottles. I knew the way he wanted them built was only used for Liches' phylacteries. I knew having a male lover was forbidden. And I knew if I did all those things, it would really annoy my father. It took 25 years to get my hair this long and he just cut it. Beat me unconscious and cut my hair while I couldn't do anything to stop him.”


“Ya was playing BoomFuzzy as much as he were playing ya.”

“At first, yes. But I did love him. I don't know when I started loving him.”

"Ya loved him quite a lot."

"I did."

"Ya bound ya soul to him."

"I did."

"Why did ya do that?"

"Elves have a psychic connection. A hive mind, the Humans call it. If one Elf hurts, every Elf in the clan can feel it. When one Elf is happy, all the Elves in the clan feel the same joy. I knew BoomFuzzy wasn't an Elf, because he wasn't connected to the clan. For an Elf there is no worse thing then to be outed by your clan, to be cut off, alone. You live with every mind as one, you feel everything. It is why we show no outward emotion. We have no need too, we can send our feelings to each other through the mental bond we share. Elves are not physically or mentally suited for solitude. An Elf alone is an Elf destined to go insane. BoomFuzzy was not connected. He couldn't feel the love I felt for him. I wanted him to feel that."

“Ya had compassion on him.”

“He was alone. I couldn't stand the thought of anyone being alone. Separated from a clan. There is no worse feeling then to not feel loved, to feel unwelcomed. Unwanted. Alone. I know.”

“Was ya outed by ya clan?”

“Yes.”

“The day they hung ya the tree?”

“Yes.”

“I is sorry.”

Quaraun’s kimono had continued to fall open, his right side now exposed, revealing scars, that had BoomFuzzy had never seen before.

“Is that the day ya got the scars?”

Quaraun snapped out of his trance, realizing his for the first time his dress had fallen open, and quickly clutched it closed.

“Ya did’ne have those before.

“BoomFuzzy and I… we weren’t together again… after that. I wasn’t fully healed yet when he died. He never saw the scars. I didn’t have them yet.”

“Why is ya scarred?”

“They stabbed me with swords. Over and over again. While I was hanging upside down in a tree.”

“I knows what they did to ya. I was there. I saw it. I stopped it. I killed ya attackers. I saved ya life. But that not what I asked. Ya is a full blooded Elf. Ya can heal yarself. Elves heal without scars. Tis horrorific scars. Why did the wounds not heal?”

Quaraun began trembling. Tears were streaming down his face.

“BoomFuzzy died.”

The Phooka sat silent for a moment, trying to understand what had happened.

“Ya poor Elf. Ya needed to go into a meditative state to heal yarself, but BoomFuzzy died right after ya was injured, ya was so upset over BoomFuzzy’s death, that ya could no meditate to heal yarself, yes?”

Quaraun nodded.

“I has seen a lot of Elves. I never saw one with scars before.”

“I left him. I was going back. But he thought I left forever. When they tortured me, they broke my bond with other Elves. I was alone inside. Every Elf on the planet knows the thoughts of every other Elf. We have no need to show outward emotions, because we are all connected and we always know what each other feels. And they cut me out of that. It's why I left BoomFuzzy and went back to the village. The broken bond from my clan was tearing me apart. I wanted the connection back with my people, but not at the cost losing BoomFuzzy. He did a few days later, while I was gone. He was the last connection I had and I lost that too.”

Unicorn watched silently as the Elf fell into a hysterical crying meltdown.

 “Some of them did accept me back again, years later, after BoomFuzzy was dead, but it wasn't the same. Most of them hated me and being connected to just one who didn't hate me, I could still feel the hate the others had through them. They hated BoomFuzzy so much that they made the day of his death a holiday.”

“Holiday?” 

“A day of feasting and celebration. They spent weeks preparing for a huge feast to celebrate the 100th year of his death, and I couldn't take their rejoicing at his suffering any more, so the night before the feast, I poisoned the food. I needed to end my connection with the clan. I could not bear to feel their hatred any more and while they lay dying, parasitized by the same poison that had taken BoomFuzzy's life, I slit their throats and cut out their hearts.”

“The same poison?”

“They hated me so much that they never saw it coming. An Elf can not sneak up on another Elf from his clan, because of the hive mind, we are all of one mind.”

“Quaraun, ya said the same poison.” 

This troubled the Phooka greatly.

“While they sent their thoughts of hate to me, they blocked any feeling of anything from me, to shield themselves from the pain they knew they were making me feel and did not want to feel themselves.”

"Quaraun? The same poison?" 

"Yes."

"Quaraun, that was a Lich making potion."

"I know."

Quaraun reached into his bag and pulled out an elaborately carved wooden chest, filled with hundreds of tiny glass vials. 

"They will never again laugh at BoomFuzzy's suffering."

"Quaraun? What did ya do?"

The pink Necromancer pulled a glass vial from the box and held it up to the light.

"I have in my command, an entire army of Liches. And I keep them prisoners, each in their own bottles, cut off and alone, with no connection to the others. Each Elf alone, just as they wanted me to be."

"Then the rumours of ya be true. Ya has gone mad."

"Yes. That is what loneliness does to an Elf. We are not solitary creatures."

“I think I should be afeared of ya.”

“The Di'Jinn said I was the most powerful creature on the planet.”

“They did.”

“More powerful then them.”

Quaraun pulled out a different bottle.

“I killed them too. The Di'Jinn are dead.”

“I know. I saw ya kill them. It were why I followed ya bak to the Moon Elf village. It were why I created BoomFuzzy.”

“I loved BoomFuzzy.”

“I know ya did.”

“And they hated him.”

"Is that what was in the bottle the pixie took?"

"Kelim? No. That bottle was special. The Elf Eater of Pepper Valley had a dragon."

"The black dragon of Fire Mountain."

"I killed her."

"Ya killed a dragon?"

"Yes. And then I brought her back."

Quaraun put the bottle away, and pulled out a small green bottle, made of heart shaped cut glass.

"She is my DracoLich. She eats my enemies."

"Ya has a DracoLich is ya pocket?"

"Yes."

“Quaraun? How is ya captured here?”

“You are a Phooka.”

“And ya be far more powerful then I is.”

“I know.”

“Ya knows?”

“Yes.”

“How be it I has captured ya?”

“I'm tired and weak. I need to rest. I can't think clearly. My mind is in a muddle.”

“Aye. Ya was looking for a place to rest.”

Both men fell silent as the Phooka pondered the danger of having so powerful a mentally deranged wizard in his lair. Quaraun seemed to know he was undefeatable and yet was too timid to fight and thus allowed himself to get captured. It bothered the Phooka too, that he was a Lich and this was a Lich Hunter and Quaraun had walked into his trap so easily. 

You can also see how VERY LITTEL narrative or description I use in my novels.

I don't like like the world building fluff that most authors use in Fantasy genres. I care about the characters, not your planet.

If I open a book and see long blocks of description or narrative text, I won't buy the book.

As a read, and a writer, I want the story to be MINIMUM 70% dialogue, and NEVER have a section of description or narrative that lasts more then 2 or 3 pages.

I'm not a fan of plot driven stories. I want character driven stories, that allow me to get to know the characters through their own actions, thoughts, and conversations.

But again, as before, all of the Grammar rules are subjective, and can be ignored if you are going for some kind of Avant Garde literary style and effect.

In any case, hopefully this all helps you out.

Good luck with it.

Is it professional writing to capitalize a word to show someone yelling loudly?



>>>Is it professional writing to capitalize a word to show someone yelling loudly? Or would that be italics for emphasis?

5th grade Grammar rules will help here: capitalize a word ONLY to show emphasis on, and draw attention to, important words

Here is an example of capitalization of words, used correctly:

Capitalization of a word to show a PERSON shouting was invented in 2005 by Yahoo Messenger for use in message boards, chat rooms, and forums, and was NEVER been used in published media, such as newspapers or novels.

In the trade publishing industry capital letters to show shouting is considered bad form and will land you manuscript in the trash bin, because publishing houses don't waste their time one writers who can't be bothered to learn basic grammar rules.

Prior to 2013 capital letters to show shouting was rarely seen in self published works, because prior to 2013, most self published authors strove to prove they could put out better quality, better editing work than trade published. 

Since 2013, self publishing has seen amass influx of authors who don't give a fuck about grammar rules, and say so, as often as they can, usually with some rant about how they "gotta stick it to the man" and "won't be gate keepered by the big 5". And with this trend, we also saw the rise of capital letters to show shouting in character dialogue.

So I suppose it depends on your intended target audience as well as what market you want to be see as a part of.

If you are aiming to be trade published, than disobeying ANY grammar rule is a big no-no and to be avoided at all costs.

If you are aiming to self publish, but want to compete with trade published works, than you need to use trade published methods and stick with using proper grammar rules.

If you are aiming to self-publish, but are part of the flipping the bird at the gate keepers movement, that, it doesn't matter wat you do. You don't even need to spell correctly, punctuate, or edit at all, ad knowing grammar rules i optional.












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