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Archive for June, 2015

July Louisville SCBWI Chit Chatters Schmooze

Please note: we are back to our regular location!

Anyone from Kentucky, Tennessee, and Indiana is welcome.

Monday, July 6, 6 to 8 pm. No RSVP required.
The first hour will be for socializing, the second hour for optional critiques. Writers can read for three minutes. Illustrators are always welcome.

Barnes & Noble’s Café, 801 South Hurstbourne Parkway, one mile north of I-64, on the right. This is NOT the Summit Shopping Center B&N.
You do not need to be an SCBWI member to attend. For more information, contact Charles Suddeth csuddeth@iglou.com 502-339-9349, c 502-649-9944

B&N

 

 

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DIALOGUE, IT’S NOT JUST TALK

 

By Janet K. Brown

 

Here is my diagnosis for making dialogue dynamic:

D Different Goals

The best dialogue comes when two characters desire different goals from the conversation. This increases the tension.

I Interview your characters

Find out how they would answer certain questions even if the questions aren’t posed in your manuscript. This deepens your knowledge of a character’s reaction.

A Action

Fiction and non-fiction are similar to stage plays. Dialogue is more than words. We need gestures, body language, even moments of silence to set the stage.

L Listen to your characters talk

Each character should have a distinctive manner, so readers recognize the speech without putting the name to the line of talk. Educated/use slang? Pet names? Recurrent phrases?

O Out loud reading

Prose and poetry have meter in common. When you read your work out loud, does it have rhythm, cadence, and energy? Is it missing a word or is it three words too long? You can only tell by reading it out loud.

G Go along with the story

Dialogue should fit your story-does it show tension when applicable? Does it fit the mood-teasing & light or dark and heavy? The shorter the piece, the more important to inject a sense of time and place.

U Use of dialogue

Dialogue only has three uses.

  1. Move the story along.
  2. Intensify characterization
  3. Both

If none of these apply, take out the dialogue.

E Eliminate words

Dialogue should be concise. Eliminating words that we’ve slaved over and think are beautiful is hard, but sometimes necessary to strengthen.

One part of speech to eliminate almost totally is Adverbs—like almost totally.

Beats or tags? Which is best? Beats – gestures/body language. Tags – he said – sometimes using neither is best.

Summary advice to helping your dialogue:

  1. Read every day from your favorite writers- both in your chosen genre and in other genres.
  2. Periodically read or reread a writing craft book or take       an online course.
  3. Write something every day even if you delete and restart.

    Janet K. Brown lives in Wichita Falls, Texas with her husband, Charles. Writing became her second career after retiring from medical coding.

    Worth Her Weight is the author’s first inspirational women’s fiction, but it makes a perfect companion to her previously released, Divine Dining: 365 Devotions to Guide You to Healthier Weight and Abundant Wellness. Both books encompass her passion for diet, fitness, and God’s Word.

    Worth Her Weight marks Brown’s third book. Who knew she had a penchant for teens and ghosts? She released her debut novel, an inspirational young adult, Victoria and the Ghost, in July, 2012.

    Janet and her husband love to travel with their RV, work in their church, and visit their three daughters, two sons-in-law and three perfect grandchildren.

    Janet teaches workshops on writing, weight loss, and the historical settings of her teen books.

     

    Find her at http:/ /www.janetkbrown.com

    On Twitter at https://twitter.com/janetkbrowntx

    On Facebook  http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Janet-K-Brown-Author/143915285641707

    E-mail: Janet.hope@att.net Victoria and the Ghost By Janet K. Brown

    At fifteen, Victoria, a city girl, loses her mother’s love and copes with country isolation, no friends and no one who cares, until she meets a ghost.

    When her mother leaves the family to become a Dallas trophy wife, Victoria’s dad moves her and her sister to a North Texas farm to herd cattle and raise chickens. Refusing to believe this is more than a temporary set-back, Victoria tries to make new friends which isn’t an easy task. The first one stabs her in the back with gossip and a sharp tongue. Meanwhile, her new stepsister takes Victoria’s place in her mother’s heart. Rejection and anger stalk Victoria like a rattlesnake in the cemetery. Good thing she makes friends with a ghost and through him, a good-looking teenaged cowboy.
    janet 4           Victoria and the Ghost - Cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Stepping into a New Role, Stories from Stepmoms

Shawn Simon

After moving in with my husband and his children, my goal was to be the best stepmom ever. I never wanted to hear, “You’re not my mom! You can’t tell me what to do!” So, I started asking friends for advice, and I logged online to find step-parenting advice books. I only found self-help books, and I prefer reading people’s stories. But, being desperate, I decided I’d buy a few.

My husband found me upstairs and asked what I was doing. I told him I was buying books to help me as a stepmom. He looked at the computer and my “shopping cart” and exclaimed, “You need six books?” I argued, “Well, I want to be the best stepmom I can be!” He said he understood, but suggested starting with two.

Later, a friend and fellow stepmom told me of a book about a stepmom’s journey, by Sally Bjornson. One part especially resonated and became a catalyst for writing my book. To paraphrase, she said, “When a woman gets married, she is given a wedding shower, and when she gets pregnant, she is given a baby shower; when she marries a man with kids, she is given a bottle of wine and told, ‘Good luck!’” This is so true. No one tells you what you are in for. No one has sage, helpful advice. In fact, no one really talks about this mysterious role of stepmom. This is odd to me as more than half of all families are “blended”. The traditional family barely exists anymore, yet the topic of step-parenting is taboo.

Over my ten years as a stepmom, I have gathered stories of my experiences, and each week at the nail salon, I would share a story. One day, my manicurist said, “You should write a book. You tell great stories.” At lunch with a friend, I shared a story about my stepdaughter, and she said, “You should write a book. I think your experiences would be inspirational.” On another occasion, a stepmom friend and I were at lunch sharing our trying experiences, when she said that I should write a book including other stepmoms’ experiences as well as my own. Well, my belief is that when we hear something several times, there must be something to it. So, I decided to write a book.

Those moments led me to this point, with a book that is a compilation of stories from real life stepmoms’ adventures. It has been a therapeutic experience, hearing these women tell their stories. Hearing their stories was akin to being in a stepmom support group.

My goal is to eradicate the idea of the “evil stepmother”. That fairytale is ridiculously old, yet, sadly, nothing has come along to replace it, even though there are thousands of blended families. Nancy Recker, from an article in stepmommag.com. points out, in her fact sheet on the wicked stepmother myth, that there are more than 900 such stories touting negative step-mother stereotypes. I am not an “evil stepmom”. I love my step-kids. It took time, of course, but over the years that love has grown. My hope is that my book of real stories from real stepmoms will lessen the fear of this taboo subject and will start us all talking about the struggles and successes of stepmoms everywhere.

My book, Stepping into a New Role, Stories from Stepmoms, is scheduled for release early 2016 from 4RV Publishing. In the meantime, I am blogging and posting weekly. Please visit my blog at stepmomshawn.com and my Facebook page: Stepmom Shawn Simon Says.

DSC_0144

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Today, I am guest blogging on Donna Driver’s blog, Write & Rewrite , with a Father’s day excerpt from my YA thriller, Experiment 38. Join us.

http://www.dgdriver.com/write-and-rewrite-blog

YA thriller, publication TBA

YA thriller, publication TBA

Read Full Post »

Stepping into a New Role, Stories from Stepmoms

Shawn Simon

After moving in with my husband and his children, my goal was to be the best stepmom ever. I never wanted to hear, “You’re not my mom! You can’t tell me what to do!” So, I started asking friends for advice, and I logged online to find step-parenting advice books. I only found self-help books, and I prefer reading people’s stories. But, being desperate, I decided I’d buy a few.

My husband found me upstairs and asked what I was doing. I told him I was buying books to help me as a stepmom. He looked at the computer and my “shopping cart” and exclaimed, “You need six books?” I argued, “Well, I want to be the best stepmom I can be!” He said he understood, but suggested starting with two.

Later, a friend and fellow stepmom told me of a book about a stepmom’s journey, by Sally Bjornson. One part especially resonated and became a catalyst for writing my book. To paraphrase, she said, “When a woman gets married, she is given a wedding shower, and when she gets pregnant, she is given a baby shower; when she marries a man with kids, she is given a bottle of wine and told, ‘Good luck!’” This is so true. No one tells you what you are in for. No one has sage, helpful advice. In fact, no one really talks about this mysterious role of stepmom. This is odd to me as more than half of all families are “blended”. The traditional family barely exists anymore, yet the topic of step-parenting is taboo.

Over my ten years as a stepmom, I have gathered stories of my experiences, and each week at the nail salon, I would share a story. One day, my manicurist said, “You should write a book. You tell great stories.” At lunch with a friend, I shared a story about my stepdaughter, and she said, “You should write a book. I think your experiences would be inspirational.” On another occasion, a stepmom friend and I were at lunch sharing our trying experiences, when she said that I should write a book including other stepmoms’ experiences as well as my own. Well, my belief is that when we hear something several times, there must be something to it. So, I decided to write a book.

Those moments led me to this point, with a book that is a compilation of stories from real life stepmoms’ adventures. It has been a therapeutic experience, hearing these women tell their stories. Hearing their stories was akin to being in a stepmom support group.

My goal is to eradicate the idea of the “evil stepmother”. That fairytale is ridiculously old, yet, sadly, nothing has come along to replace it, even though there are thousands of blended families. Nancy Recker, from an article in stepmommag.com. points out, in her fact sheet on the wicked stepmother myth, that there are more than 900 such stories touting negative step-mother stereotypes. I am not an “evil stepmom”. I love my step-kids. It took time, of course, but over the years that love has grown. My hope is that my book of real stories from real stepmoms will lessen the fear of this taboo subject and will start us all talking about the struggles and successes of stepmoms everywhere.

My book, Stepping into a New Role, Stories from Stepmoms, is scheduled for release early 2016 from 4RV Publishing. In the meantime, I am blogging and posting weekly. Please visit my blog at stepmomshawn.com and my Facebook page: Stepmom Shawn Simon Says.

DSC_0144

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Revising!

Today, I am on Sheila Renfro’s blog, READ. WRITE. REVISE. THEN GO SAILING. I discuss: Juggling Genres & Age Groups

http://sheilarenfro.blogspot.com/

YA thriller, publication TBA

YA thriller, publication TBA

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Review for Experiment 38

Experiment 38 is a thrilling read from start to finish, with a sweet romance and friendship throughout. I loved Nate’s devotion to Emily, especially given the dangers that lurked around every corner. I also loved Nate’s friends who helped no matter what catastrophes could befall them. They seemed to like the risks! But, I didn’t expect to be so enthralled as it is a young adult book. I figured it would be an enjoyable romance novel, with a simple mystery thrown in. I also didn’t expect to be guessing until the end what the heck was going on with Emily! Was she a robot, a real girl, something in between? To find out, read Experiment 38 by Charles Suddeth. You won’t be disappointed!

By Shawn Simon, author of Stepping into a New Role, Stories from Stepmoms.

Website: StepmomShawn.com

Facebook: Stepmom Shawn Simon Says

Twitter: @shawnsimon44

 

Experiment 38: Young adult thriller, 4RV Publishing, paperback: ISBN: 978-1-940310-02-2

YA thriller, publication TBA

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