Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Write Here In Ephraim

by C LaRene Hall

I loved the writing conference that was held in Ephraim this past weekend. Those who didn't go missed out on a great day, and I can't believe how great it was and there was no charge to learn the things I did that day.

My Alpha Smart was out of battery power so all I had was my notes by hand. I taught a class and was busy preparing so I didn't attend all the classes, but I finally did take in a couple. The first one was taught by Julie Wright and was called, Nuts & Bolts.

Julie told us to not violate our characters. There has to be a justifiable reason to do something or the reason has to be strong why you deviate from it. Keep them in character.

Dreams should be greater than fears. You want to resist feelings to make things better for your character. Make your characters suffer. Something always has to happen. Throw rocks at your character. Bad things have to happen to them. You need to create emotional conflict.

Start with action. You need a compelling opening.

You are making promises to the reader. You are promising them an emotional experience.

People are not rational. Make sure readers know where characters are emotionally. The emotions are the most important by product of your writing.

Remember that characters think, ponder and have opinions. Internal dialogue is important.

Characters also do stuff and move around. Actions speak louder than words.

Why do I care? If you find you don’t your reader doesn’t either.

In Dialogue take out all the dull parts, and stiff parts. Remember to sometimes slur the speech. Characters also um, er, and stutter.

Dialogue should
1. Move plot forward
2. Reveal character
3. Set tone
4. Alter relationships by either building or tearing down

Make your dialogue count. Info dumps are boring and should not be done during dialogue. Do not use names during dialogue.

For tags you should usually just use said.

Adverbs can get irriating. A strong verb is better than an adverb, and it’s best to use the strong word choice.

Weave conversations naturally with the action, then you won’t need a tag.

Real conversations are more interesting. Make sure characters sound different from each other.

Speech patterns
1. Avoid talking heads
2. Don’t let characters sound the same

Point of View – we each see the world not as it is but as we are.

Your characters need to be unique. Always develop your own voice. Step outside of genre, learn new things. Enhance your own voice. Nothing you write is ever wasted. Practice writing something every day. Write about what resonates to you. Write what you are excited about. Don’t chase trends. Search for your voice.

Words to avoid – are, were, was, knew, saw, and felt. Avoid dead words that take up space. Show don’t tell.

Readers don’t want to be told a story, they want to be in the story.

Setting is a balancing act. It can sometimes distract from the story. Be sure to include senses in your story. Fill in the dead spaces. Sounds are coming from somewhere.


This was a fun class - things I had heard before, but things I needed to be reminded of. These reminders often help me get back on track. Thanks Julie for a great class.

1 comment:

Weaver said...

Great notes. I wish I could have attended.