Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day!

In 2011, Cathryn J. Lombardo put together a collection of memories and philosophies of twenty-seven mothers and published it. Below is my specific contribution and the cover of her book as well as a mother's day discount for my latest romantic suspense. I couldn't think of a better time to share than on Mother's Day. Because even as our children honor us for giving them birth, we should take a few moments to remember the joy they have given back. 

So to all mothers, stepmothers and grandmothers and to anyone who has ever nurtured a child . . . 
Happy Mother's Day!
 
A Mom’s Haiku to My Two Plus Five
by Connie Flynn
Buy Here


The Son
So young and clueless,
I see a little bundle, stretch
my arms to take him.

My firstborn, my gift
An unexpected blessing
safe in my glad heart.

Six years pass, Hot Wheels,
Lincoln Logs, Legos, Cap guns,
fights with neighbor kids.

Don’t be too bossy, I advise
Words of wisdom? Oh, you bet.

The Daughter
I, older, wiser,
a new bundle to hold. I’d
forgotten how small.
On Sale 99c Mothers Day Only

No matter how loud
she cried, my little girl claimed
her place in my heart.

Did I think I’d love
the second less than the first?
Was I that silly?

One day she huffed, our
neighbor wasn’t a real man,
not nice to small girls.

My advice? Ignore the jerk.
Words of wisdom? Oh, you bet.

Both
Little League games and
gymnastics. Fast bikes, cute clothes.
Years speed by too fast.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Don’t Write Bad Dialogue

DIALOGUE IN THE 21ST CENTURY
At the turn of the twentieth century, the few books that dealt with fiction writing advised writers to use a narrative/dialogue ratio around 30% percent dialogue and 70% percent narrative. By mid twentieth century it was a forty/sixty split and by the end it was at least fifty/fifty.

So what about our new shiny century? What is the currently advised ratio of dialogue and narrative? No one can say for sure, but my best guess is that these days the attitude surrounding dialogue is excess is not nearly enough.

I’m kidding, but only sort of. The ratio of dialogue to narrative has increased a lot and the weight has slid to the other side. The average book today is at least fifty/fifty, with some moving to forty/sixty. Part of the reason for this increase is the popularity of deep third person point of view, which often makes it difficult to write enthralling narrative without making your character look obsessive.

Some people have a hard time with dialogue, saying they don’t know how to make characters sound like two people actually talking. Others think they know very well how to write dialogue — they can write, can’t they? While it is true that dialogue isn’t all that complicated, making it interesting while using it to move the story is somewhat of a challenge. And it’s important to master the skill. Nothing engages readers as quickly as dialogue that sounds natural while at the same time relating what the story is about.

DIALOGUE, THE PARADOX

What makes good dialogue hard to produce is that it must read like real people talk and also not read like real people talk. Good dialogue simply creates the illusion of being natural while performing the function of telling your story. It often takes years to develop an ear that translates to good writing. Here are a few tips:  

AVOID  BAD DIALOGUE

Don’t use formal language or strictly stick to the rules of grammar. Nobody talks that way.

Use contractions. Exceptions might be made if English is the speaker’s second language, but in normal conversation people mostly run their words together as in “we’re agonna go to the concert t’nite” Okay, so you’d never say that and neither will your characters, but I wanted to get your attention.