Tag Archives: Quick Brown Fox Blog

Links We Like

Inspired by the sassy dames over at AdHoc Mom, we’ve decided to give you a weekly roundup of links that caught our eye. Some will be related to writing, some will be entertaining and some will be slightly kooky. So without further ado…

Restless Lori:

So Am I an Author Yet?
The third post on writer C-C Lester’s blog was Freshly Pressed and in it she ponders when she can legitimately (in her mind) put “author” on her immigration forms at the airport. I suspect that time is now.

The Literal Hen House
Morgan is one of those rare mommy bloggers who is also a fantastic writer. And now she has chickens. In her backyard. In the city. I find this utterly fascinating.

Watch the 150 Greatest Movie Lines
I am a freak for the Academy Awards – everybody who knows me will not bother trying to call me after four o’clock eastern on Sunday night. Around this time of year, great little retrospectives like this one come out and remind me all over again why I love the movies.

Restless Bjas:Across the Universe (Across the Universe, #1)

Beth Revis (Across the Universe)
Beth writes science fiction and fantasy novels for teens. Her debut novel, Across the Universe is pretty awesome, and so is she. I have spent a lot of time on her site lately as she has some kick-butt resources and advice for writers–even links to her query (that rocked!). The best Q & A from the site:

Q: I wrote a book! I’ve queried it! But no one cares, and I don’t have an agent yet. What should I do next?

A: Write another book. I’ve never heard a fellow writer say, “I wish I hadn’t written a second book,” but I’ve heard more than one say, “I wish I hadn’t wasted so much time on the first one.”                       ~Beth

Quick Brown Fox
If you’re in Ontario, this is a great blog with creative writing course and workshops for writers. I check it frequently as Brian does a terrific job of posting Literary Agents (and new agents on the scene) who are looking for “stuff.”

The Orangutan and Hound
Well, because if you like animals you will love this video. Humans are not the only beings with interspecies friends.

Restless Maria:

Think you could animate a historical or literary figure, write a play based on that person’s actual or imagined life, and tweet it as live social media theatre? That’s what the good folks at @reorbitproject are up to. (My dear friend Nicola Danby is tweeting as the Who’s notorious drummer, Keith Moon.) This is the flashiest of flash fiction!

This is the most beautiful way to art-ify your writing. I’m thinking of applying it to my story about Eleanor the Assistant Copyeditor to see what happens. Try it out!


Filed under Friday Links

The Dance of Dialogue: 21 Tips for Writing Great Scenes

Writing conversations that sound natural can present a challenge for some writers. It’s akin to composing a melody, which clearly, does not come easy to everyone. Unless of course you run with Brahms or Beyonce. Yeah…

We (being: me & Maria) attended Brian Henry’s (Quick Brown Fox) dialogue workshop this week and have some useful advice for others trying to perfect the knack of writing good dialogue.

We managed to collect some useful tidbits, like: 1) the plot is the superstructure for entertaining the reader; 2) if two characters are too similar, you must kill one of them; and 3) forget show-don’t-tell, instead show what’s important; tell about the stuff that’s not! Gotta love new takes on old rules—go Brian go!

So, now dripping of dialogue do’s & don’t’s, I’d like to share them with you.

21 Tips for Writing Great Scenes:

  • Dialogue and narrative must play off each other.
  • Every scene must have a point and advance the story. Subject your scene to the “so what?” test.
  • Always make your characters interesting. Like, give ’em a verbal quirk.
  • Characters should always have their own agenda.
  • Treat your characters as “tour guides.” It’s their job to guide the reader.
  • Dialogue is dynamic. It should not travel in a straight line.
  • Remove extra words! Use words that are pithy & colorful.
  • Do not overdo narrative interruptions.
  • Use contractions freely in dialogue (and in narrative too).
  • The simpler the dialogue tag, the better. “He said” and “She said” are the most common. They’re also so unobtrusive that they’re almost invisible.
  • Trust your dialogue and resist the urge to explain everything.
  • Use narrative to keep characters grounded in their setting.
  • Cut greetings, intro’s, inquiries into people’s health, and/or the weather.
  • Aim to have more than one thing going on at once.
  • Milk the tension! Good dialogue requires tension or conflict.
  • Engage characters in another activity while talking (avoid the obvious: smoking & leaning).
  • Employ irony: create a gap between what your characters say and what the reader knows is the truth.
  • The more dialogue you have, the more readable your story.
  • Ask yourself: Will readers pay $ for what I have just given them?
  • Hook the reader from the beginning; hook the reader as the story develops; and hook the reader by leading them into the next scene.
  • Umm. Did I mention, hook the reader?

 List compiled from: Writing Dialogue Workshop, Brian Henry, July 17, 2010.

The best thing you can do is to READ IT OUT LOUD. This is a great way to test your dialogue. And when you do, perhaps lock yourself in a sound-tight room to avoid the people in white coats…


Need more help? Dialogue Writing Resources:

Writing Dialogue by Tom Chiarella

Writing Dialogue for Scripts by Rib Davis

Make a Scene: Crafting a Powerful Story One Scene at a Time by Jordan Rosenfeld

Upcoming Writer’s Digest Webinar (July 22, 2010): Write Great Fiction: Craft Sizzling Dialogue


Filed under Motivation, Writing resources