Showing posts from April, 2020

A Deep Look at Dialogue Punctuation

Image courtesy of Gerd Altmann at While editing and critiquing others' writing, I've noticed several writers making a specific error while  punctuating dialogue. The error crops up when the writer uses speaking tags with more than one sentence of dialogue. The most common error I see in punctuation appears like this: “Maligon, you betrayed me. And so you betrayed us all,” Queen Chiora said. You can't have more than one sentence between the quotation marks if you're going to use a speaking tag. The tag--Queen Chiora said--falls before the period, so it is part of the sentence of dialogue. It can follow or precede one sentence or part of a sentence, not two. Like this: "Maligon, you betrayed me," Queen Chiora said. Queen Chiora said, "Maligon, you betrayed me." Tags With Multiple Sentences of Dialogue Not every line of dialogue needs a tag, but sometimes it's the best method to help your reader keep

Literary History For Shakespeare Week

Image by Rudy and Peter Skitterians at Pixabay Literary history on the blog this week as Writers' Digest celebrates William Shakespeare's birthday with Shakespeare Week. Did you know William Shakespeare died on his birthday, April 23? Just different years, of course. This week, Writers' Digest offers some interesting articles related to the bard's work and your writing. Writing Tips for Retelling Shakespeare Will's Way: Four Timely Craft Tips from the Immortal Bard Also, they shared this week's timeline in literary history: This Week in Writing 4/20—Bram Stoker died 1912 ( 10 writing techniques from Dracula ) 4/21—Charlotte Bronte born 1816 4/21—John Muir born 1838 4/21—Mark Twain died 1910 4/21—Barbara Park born 1947 4/22—Henry Fielding born 1707 4/22—Vladimir Nabokov born 1899 ( How to think and write like Nabokov ) 4/22—Louise Gluck born 1943 4/22—Janet Evanovich born 1943 ( Janet Evanovich quotes for writers ) 4/22—Jane Kenyon died 1995

Applying S.P.U.N. Character Development Goals

Last week, I introduced you to SPUN goals for your characters. This week, I want to take a current situation and use the SPUN goal format to explore why I did something a few weeks ago. First a bit of background. My granddaughter who lives with us has a skin irritation on all of her fingers. We spoke to  the doctor about it in December but couldn't get an appointment with a specialist until March 26. I hesitated due to the current health crisis but took her to this appointment. A week later, we learned we had been exposed to Covid-19! Let's explore my SPUN motivation for keeping the appointment. S=specific The skin peeled around the nails and in the quick of my granddaughter's fingers. Sometimes, they bled. She needed to see a specialist because our family doctor didn't know what it was, and the prescription he provided wasn't clearing it up. P=Powerful V's fingers drove her crazy. She picked at them, chewed on them, applied different lotions an

Protagonist Goals: 4 Keys to Character Development

The reader must feel the danger! © Barbara V. Evers, All rights reserved. Intriguing character development requires the establishment of clear goals that compel your character to act. This often becomes the foundation of your story's conflict. Your protagonist pursues a goal that probably goes against his nature. Do you have a full and nuanced goal established for your protagonist or something generalized? If you can't state it, your story might meander to and fro, going nowhere. You should know this goal, be able to state it in a few sentences, and your reader should feel the tug of it, too. What Goes Into a Character Goal? In the corporate world, people create SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-based). Establishing a SMART goal helps them stay focused on their priorities instead of getting lost in the weeds of interruptions and non-essential tasks. In creative writing, characters need SPUN  goals (Specific, Powerful, Urgent, Needs-