Follow the evolution of the Writer Knapsack (and even participate and help make decisions) as I create the face and materials of a new and different take on helping writers in this crazy world of publishing. Join me from the beginning and watch the website change as I work on sketches to a final logo, offer tips and tales toward final production, and develop an array of materials for those living the writing life...all to fill the pockets of your own writer knapsack.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Say what?

Dialogue is a funny thing. It can work for you, or against you.

Dialogue is all about the character. Simply put, rarely would you have a low educated character talk with perfect grammar or an English butler talk in slang.  Few people speak grammatically correct, so in effect, your dialogue should not be perfect so to speak LOL.

For example:

"I cannot come over to dine with you this evening because my mother has installed a new restriction on my social activities."  

Okay, obviously that is a little extreme, but that's the point.  A teenager would not speak in such a refined manner, but rather in contractions, slang, and inflection.

"I can't come over for supper 'cause my mom grounded me, again."

Being natural is important. Which brings up another good point, you want to be careful of stereotypical dialogue—TOO much character ie: Cowboys that darlin’ every girl in the story, or a mob guy asking, “You lookin’ at me? You lookin’ at me?” of everyone who may pass him on the sidewalk.

The best way to research dialogue and natural flow is to observe.  Take an afternoon to sit in a coffee shop, open a book (so you don’t look stalkerish) and just listen. Listen to inflection, contractions, tones, emotions (excitement and/or anger.) If you are writing a Young Adult, go where the teens are. If your characters are doctors and nurses, maybe try the lobby or cafeteria of a hospital—listen, observe, and assimilate.

And remember, not all conversations are all talk. This is important because if you have a page with a lot of dialogue but no actions dotted in here and there to show HOW the characters are speaking--or better yet, showing HOW the characters are acting/reacting to the conversation--then the scene can become stilted. The picture painted is of two people simply standing face to face, arms at their side, and speaking monotone. He said this; she said that. He said that; she said this. Bland.

On your observances of conversations, whether in a coffee shop, mall, or work environment, I’m sure you’ll find someone raising their hands in frustration or whipping around when offended in order to defend themselves. A subtle smile when they are being coy or tight fists around a coffee cup when they are trying to control their anger. All these observances are part of a conversationpart of the dialogue. Part of the character.

As always, most important is picking and choosing your words--or rather their words--carefully and placing action descriptives in tight phrasing only in the most dynamic area for the scene, because the last thing you want to do is overwrite a conversation with too many descriptions.

Balance is the key.

Where dialogue is concerned: Observe. Natural. Balance.

That about says it all.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Names and Logos

Writer Knapsack wasn't the original name for my series concept. The one I had in my head for years, however, just had too many connotations, and I wanted something a little more fine-tuned.

So, how many names does it take to make a series?  In my case 54. 54 versions of a series name until I found one I felt encompassed my concepts and wasn't already taken (which were at least three quarters of my list).

Now, as I work on the material, I'm also trying to come up with a logo...obviously it needs a knapsack LOL. Here's some ideas I've been sketching... 

I've two concepts taking root, just not sure which way to go yet. I think I'll work on a more detailed version of each and bring them here for a vote at a later date.

Stay tuned...

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Talk about technical issues

It is actually surprising how much technology has interfaced into our daily lives.  Even when you think you don't use it a lot, or know when, once it is's like blanking out for a moment LOL.

We live out in the country--no high speed or digital internet.  Our hub went on the fritz over the holidays and won't be ready until the 16th to get back up and running.  Even though I thought it wouldn't be too much of a problem, turns out it causes a lot more issues than I had planned for, especially since half of my work is a home office "online" business so to speak.  Luckily, we do get cell service so I can at least deal with quick emails and small things.

At the same time, I am kind of glad it happened.  It really made my children get that blank look and have to rethink their time spent on electronic devices.  The first day was a bit of an upheaval, but then they haven't really mentioned it since.  They've adapted much better than I expected.  So much so that I think I may make a two day no internet zone every couple weeks just to keep the reminder at the forefront that there are so many more things to do and rely on rather than technology.  Kindness of friends and family.  Time spent at outdoor activities and family board games that make you use different parts of your brain for a change rather than your index fingers or thumbs LOL.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

We interrupt this blog for an important message...

Yep, mine is this morning.  I've had an appointment every January since I was about 36.

My great aunt on my mother's side is the only identified family member having had breast cancer, but as we have quite fibrous breasts, the regularly scheduled check-ups started early for my sister and I.

I admit, I'm lucky because the squish and squash doesn't bother me much, and after having two children, I'm not squeamish about baring the girls when necessary.  I know there are those that are uncomfortable, and hey, that's okay.  Just don't let a few minutes of discomfort stop you from taking care of yourself. 

You are important. Always.

The fact that I live in a smaller town and the same, familiar, amazing nurses have been doing the procedure since I started helps a lot, too.

Mark a reminder on your phone, on your calendar, on a sticky, but just make sure you take care of you, too!