Showing posts from August, 2021

Stories with Barbara: Inner Critics

 It's been awhile since I shared a recording of me reading one of my published pieces. Today, I'm taking care of that. A special shout out to Dale for asking when I planned to post another reading. It's always a pleasure to discover people do listen to my stories and enjoy them. This recording is shorter than most of the ones I've shared in the past. It's a brief essay, called "Inner Critics," about the personalities of my self-editing mind. I hope you enjoy it! Just as a side note, I recorded this one quickly yesterday, so it's not as polished as the others. Which means I didn't take the time to make myself camera-ready. Just keeping it real, folks!

Creating Animal Characters

Keeping in line with my recent venture into discussing my panels and workshops at recent cons, this post focuses on one of my favorite panels: Creating Animal Characters. Animal Characters We Know and Love As children, we embrace animals as characters without thinking: Bambi, Dumbo, Peter Rabbit, Cinderella's mice. As we graduate to older children's books and YA, we still can find animal characters: the Cowardly Lion, Mr. & Mrs. Beaver ( The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe ) , Boxer ( Animal Farm ) . When we move into adult reading, we still find animal characters, but they are less common. Animals tend to take on the characteristics of pets instead of sentient beings. Why? I can only guess, but I think adults believe they've outgrown the idea of animal characters. Still, we do find a few talking cats and other pets that help solve mysteries. And, of course, The Watchers of Moniah  trilogy has telepathic giraffes.  How many sentient animals can you think of in adult f

Conflict Through Dialogue: 5 Ways to Create Havoc

Yes, I have one more post based on the dialogue workshop I taught for Imaginarium in July. Missed the first two? You can find them here: He Said, She Said, Who Said? Punctuating Dialogue Writing Dialogue: Defining Characters' Personalities ____________________________ Special Note: Before we get started, if you subscribed to this blog in the past, Feedburner, the service that sent you the posts, no longer supports this site. To ensure you don't miss any future posts, please subscribe to my newsletter . ____________________________ In this post, I want to focus on how you can use dialogue to build conflict. People create conflict through what they say. Sometimes they do it on purpose. Sometimes, we create it by accident. In fact, over the years I've seen more conflict arise from accidental misunderstandings than by purposeful intent. Wait a minute? Conflict can be created by accident? Sure! How often are our words misunderstood? Maybe we don't know the proper word or pro

Writing Dialogue: Defining Character Personalities

Last week, I explained dialogue punctuation  as part of a series of posts I'm doing on topics I've covered in conference workshops and panels this summer. Today, we're going to look at using dialogue to reveal more about your characters' personalities. Odds are you've been told something a person you know has said and responded with, "That sounds just like him." You might even hear it in their voice even though you're getting it second hand.  What makes you recognize their words? The phrasing. The word choices. The tone of the message. Phrasing We have our catch phrases. Television shows use this to their advantage. Can you name the characters known for these catch phrases? "How YOU doin'?" "Aaaaay." "Dyn-o-mite." "Eh. What's up doc?" "Hello, Newman." "That's what she said." Odds are you recognize a few if not all of these and the TV character immediately came to mind. You can do t

He Said, She Said, Who Said? Punctuating Dialogue

Courtesy of I've been focusing my posts on workshops and panels I taught or participated on at the Imaginarium Convention. Although this serves as a poor substitute for the real thing, I can share some highlights. This week, we're going to explore dialogue punctuation. The first thing writers need to learn is how to properly punctuate dialogue. I've discovered, over the years, that many don't know how. Notice in the first example below, the dialogue starts at the beginning of the sentence, and the speaking tag (he said, she said, Paul said, etc.) follows it.  A few points to notice: The first letter of the quotation is capitalized. What the person says is a sentence, so it must be capitalized. A comma comes directly after the quote and INSIDE the quotation marks. You can, also, have a question mark or exclamation point here. There is a space AFTER the closing quotation mark followed by the speaking tag and a period at the end of the sentence. In the next