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 on: July 24, 2014, 11:25:12 AM 
Started by judyr - Last post by ColoradoKate
One of my critique partners had me go through and change my MC's name to "he" every single place I could get away with it without confusing the readers. I was surprised to find how often I could do that. And then of course I could continue to call him "he" until another male character did or said something, if that makes sense.

 on: July 24, 2014, 11:17:42 AM 
Started by judyr - Last post by judyr
I'm using action tags a lot, but in some conversation there is 2 girls, so I have to say she for both of them. I'm using names alternately to keep it clear.

 on: July 24, 2014, 11:15:19 AM 
Started by ColoradoKate - Last post by judyr
The living sister was very delusional... and dark. So maybe you could just use her actions for ideas about how your MC can interact with someone who isn't there.

 on: July 24, 2014, 11:12:30 AM 
Started by ColoradoKate - Last post by ColoradoKate
Thanks, Katie. I think I may try it as a short story (or several shorts), just to see how it works.

Judy, I will for sure look that up--thanks! Did the living sister seem to know that the other one was a figment? Or was the living sister delusional? I started going with "delusional" for my story (I've written a couple of rough possible openings) but it got darker than I'd intended, so... hmm.

 on: July 24, 2014, 09:18:17 AM 
Started by judyr - Last post by Mikki S
My first ICL instructor ( whom I loved!) told me that name tags are almost never needed in dialogue, although I see what Jan is saying about multiple characters in the same scene. My instructor taught me to use what she called "action tags" instead. For example:

Remi turned his coffee cup around and around. "I didn't think it necessary to tell you."

She sighed, her eyes full of tears. "It sounds like you don't trust me."  Here, "she" was used rather than her name, because it was only the two characters talking, so the reader knew who "she" refered to.

Even when you use an action tag first, you shouldn't always use the character's name, especially if there are only two people creating the dialogue. Readers already know who they are.

 on: July 24, 2014, 08:47:49 AM 
Started by KatieC - Last post by jfields
In SAVE THE CAT, the author suggests having an unlikable character do one small thing right away that helps us like him/her so much that we stick with the character through a lot of dislike. For instance, saving a cat from falling out of a tree (hence the title of the book). But it doesn't need to be a big thing, just something universally seen as good, such as helping a helpless creature.

 on: July 24, 2014, 07:55:52 AM 
Started by KatieC - Last post by jojocookie
Suppose you have a novel with multiple POV's. One protagonist isn't likeable. Not at first. This serves the propuse of getting in the way of the goals of the other MC. The unlikeable character will change in the end. But, unless you suggest change in the first chapter the reader will decide they don't like this person and quit reading.

What are the techiques that you have used to go about showing a glimmer potential for change? For the unlikeable character and in the first chapter?  Do you do it throught thoughts, weaknesses, insecurities, something aweful that happened in the past? Seems as if all of these requre backstory.

Has anyone written an unlikeable character?

 on: July 24, 2014, 07:42:51 AM 
Started by jfields - Last post by jfields
Children's Writers eNews
July 24, 2014
"The Write Words to Read"
The Institute of Children's Literature
Editor: Jan Fields --

The trick is to pay attention to what you wrote – not what you THOUGHT you wrote."
-- David Lubar on fixing mistakes
1. News
2. Online in Rx
3. At the Writer's Retreat
4. Market
5. Cool Site
6. Essay
7. Good News
1. You'll notice there's no link to Kristi Holl's blog. She's on hiatus while she works on another project.
2. In the Rx
"Beginning Readers" with Nancy Sanders
A terrific chat filled with practical advice on writing beginning readers.
3. Are You On The Writer's Retreat?
Our July discussion on Point of View will soon be ending, so be sure to check it out.
And get ready for the August discussion on "Goal + Motivation + Conflict + Tension"

And for all visitors whether registered or not, you'll find plenty of helpful information: get help for student lessons. Learn to build solid plots. Share your ups and downs with fellow writers. It's all there.
4. Presses, Prizes and other Writing Oportunities
This blog post is jammed with opportunities for writers, including some aimed just as children's writers.
5. Fixing the Inevitable Mistakes
Great Mini Lesson from one of my favorites, David Lubar. And after you're done reading David's post, check out the rest of Kate's blog, it's stellar.

Summer is a time when lots of things ripen – melons, tomatoes, ideas. Ideas? Well, it certainly can be. Consider some of the great ideas that summer can produce:

1. Magazines are constantly looking for new activities that get kids moving. Since you probably have kids at home, why not use them as a laboratory for creating a new game. Keep any game materials simple (things you can readily find) and see what you can come up with. We’ve played wading pool horseshoes (though the things we tossed weren’t horseshoes), water balloon “speed shopping” – how many can you find and fill your basket with and make it to the “cashier?” And more. Made up games rock.

2. Educators say kids tend to lose ground in math and reading over the summer. So think of fun things you could do to keep your kids sharp in these areas. A group of five mind sharpening summer activities would be great for a parenting magazine.

3. Unlike snow and leaf raking, hot happens almost everywhere. So what kinds of conflicts can you dream up with siblings stuck together in the heat? Imagine a main character facing the end of summer boredom blues – what could he do about it? Summer can be a great time to see some great story ideas ripen.

4. Sensory experiences are rich in the summer. Fresh produce flavors. Fresh flower scents. Cold water. Hot sun. Maybe you would take a dive into some of the richest of the sensory experiences you’re having and create some seasonal verse. Magazines buy a lot of poetry geared to specific times of year. Keep it sensory rich and active and you just might find you’ve go the pick of the poetry crop.

5. Let your summer reading include some learning of your own. Consider picking a topic you’ve always wondered a little about and dig into some research. Who says fun summer reading has to be just juicy novels. You can spend some time sharpening your own mind and who knows – you just may ferret out a super kid article as you get excited about learning.

7. Good News

James J. Deeney: My ebook, Mushroom Book One is free on Amazon kindle from 24th until 28th July.

Jack Scoltock:  My ebook, Perry's Adventure, is free this week on Amazon kindle.

Donna Marie West: My short story, "Messages From an Old Kodak" has just been accepted in Harren Press' horror anthology IN SHAMBLES, which will be released later this year.

Shirley Raye Redmond: My YA historical romance ROSEMARY'S GLOVE has been selected by the Amazon Kindle editors to be included in their Summer Romance Event. This promotion will feature 200 Kindle Romance Books for $1.99 each and run through August 4.

What's Your Good News? Send to -- be sure to put "good news" in the subject line since I get a lot of book announcements due to the review work I do. So I don't want your good news to slip through the cracks.

8. For All Subscribers

Many of our enews issues are being blocked from getting to all of our subscribers. It can be difficult to convince your email provider that you truly want to receive this enews. Therefore we've created a list of directions to make it easier for you find the exact steps to ensure the enews always makes it to your inbox.

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 on: July 24, 2014, 07:18:18 AM 
Started by ColoradoKate - Last post by judyr
Kate, I watched a movie recently called Uninvited (I think) where a girl talked to her sister throughout the entire thing. You find out at the very end that her sister is dead and she caused the accident that killed her. This girl talks to her sister in hallways, or the corner of the room, or just outside the house. The sister is always there, so you don't notice other people not talking to her. Sisters exchange eye rolls, meaningful looks, go out of the room to commiserate on how dumb adults are. It's very well done. I'm not sure how you could get the same effect in writing, but maybe you could watch it for ideas.

 on: July 24, 2014, 07:06:54 AM 
Started by judyr - Last post by judyr
Okay. My characters are quite different, so maybe dropping some tags entirely is best for me.

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