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Happy Release Day! FIT FOR A KING by Susan Fisher-Davis!

3-fit-for-a-king-cover_digital-front-1950-x-2850

Happy Release Day

to my talented client, Susan Fisher-Davis

FIT FOR A KING

is now available at

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobobooks

 

Wade King believes he’s worth nothing, especially in the eyes of the man who gave him a chance to be somebody. When Win’s beautiful teenage daughter kissed him on her eighteenth birthday, he refused her even though it was the last thing he wanted to do. He knew he was not the kind of man her father would want for her. Now she was back. 

Hannah Winston has always loved Wade King, even while she was married to another man. No man could live up to the man who had claimed her heart as a teen. Now she’s returned to Win’s Circle ranch to claim her inheritance only to discover her father had other plans and it involves the one man she tries so hard to hate, but can’t forget—Wade King. 

With no other choice but to work together, Wade and Hannah try to ignore the pull each has on the other, only to fall victim to their desires. Now Hannah wants more but Wade still refuses her. What must a woman in love do to make a hardheaded cowboy understand that he might think of her as duchess, but she’s only truly fit for a King? 

 

My thoughts—Wade is a real SOB but I suspect you’ll love him as much as I did while editing. Hope you’ll read FIT FOR A KING by Susan Fisher-Davis. And yes, I wrote the blurb and I made the cover. Very proud of it all too!

In the meantime, if you’re looking to bring your characters to full life through expert editing, please feel free to contact me and we’ll discuss your success. It’s why I’m here…to help you find success. 🙂

Happy Writing Everyone!

Revisions: Writing Dialogue Part 2

 

interruption-cartoon

In our last lesson regarding writing dialogue, we discussed simple rules that we can follow to assist us in writing dialogue. Just as writing can be more complicated, so can dialogue. In this next lesson, we’ll up the ante a bit and discuss some of those complications that not only bring our characters to life but might also have you pulling your hair out trying to create such dialogue.

It’s not as difficult as you might think. Let’s begin…

Every so often, your character may pause briefly, interrupting dialogue with a breath or hesitation. There are two ways you can deal with an interruption using dialogue tags and either one is correct. Everyone has their own style according to their voice.

The first is dialogue interrupted by a dialogue tag and continuing the dialogue following the tag but it all stays in the same sentence.
When using this method, a comma will end the first part of the dialogue remaining inside the quotation marks, and a second comma will follow the tag but remain on the outside of the quotation marks.

Example:  “If I could have a moment of your time,” he said, “it’s very important.”

“If I could have a moment of your time,” he said, grabbing Annabelle’s hand, “it’s very important.”

If this is something that doesn’t feel comfortable for you, you might also separate them into two complete sentences. The first sentence will end with a period following the tag, and the second will begin with a capital letter.

Example: “If I could have a moment of your time,” he said, grabbing Annabelle’s hand. “It’s very important.”

Questions in dialogue with no dialogue tags are done the same way as one with a period. The question mark stays within the quotation marks. The same construction applies to using exclamation points.

Example: “Will you marry me?”

“Marry me!”

When using a dialogue tag for a question, the question mark replaces the comma before the closing quotation marks and before the dialogue tag and the same capitalization rules apply.

Example: “Will you marry me?” he asked her.

If you put the tag first, the construction is the same as with a period.

Example: Damien took hold of her hand, and asked, “Will you marry me?”

Now…sometimes dialogue becomes a bit more complicated when your characters are interacting and action interrupts the spoken words. Or even in some cases, a character’s thoughts might interrupt their speaking. If we do it, our characters do it.

Let’s say your character is speaking and another character interrupts him.

Example:  “If I could have a moment of your time,” he said, grabbing Annabelle’s hand, “it’s very—”

“I love you,” she interrupted before she lost her nerve.

The Em dash demonstrates his words as being interrupted by hers. Sometimes, a character may interrupt his own words; the use of Em dashes will play into this construction as well but will be outside the quotation marks to show the action interrupting the speech.

Example:

“If I could have a moment of your time,”—grabbing Annabelle’s hand and pulling her close—“there’s something I need to ask you.”

This construction is very similar when a character interjects a thought within an action.

Example:

Annabelle walked past Damien—telling herself not to look at him—needing to get to the door before her tears fell.

Not sure how to make Em dashes – there are three easy ways to make them, you can choose which works best for you or simply hit dash twice, enter, then backspace but always make sure the Em dash follows the last letter of the word it connects to with no spaces. If you’re using Word, you can try one of these methods:

  1. Press Ctrl+Alt+Minus (on the numeric keypad)
  2. Hold down the Alt key as you type 0151 on the numeric keypad.
  3. Choose Symbol from the Insert menu, and then select Em Dash from the Special Characters tab.
  4. Simply hitting the hyphen key twice directly after the word preceding the Em Dash then hit Enter then backspace and close the gap.

Sometimes, a character is speaking and will quote someone else’s words, this is easy to deal with and shouldn’t frighten you away from using it.

The entirety of the dialogue is enclosed in quotation marks following the same rules above only you’re going to add some single quotation marks (‘…’) with the dialogue.

When single and double quotation marks are used side by side, put a space between them simply to make them more easily read by the reader.

Example:  “He said, and I quote, ‘To be is not to be.’ ”

“He said, ‘To be is not to be.’ I heard it with my own ears.”

Indirect dialogue for the inner quote also works if you’d rather not use a quote within dialogue.

Example: “He said the line as to be is not to be. I heard it with my own ears.”

Direct and indirect dialogue emphasizes different elements of the sentence, so choose the one, which works best for what you want to convey. It’s your voice and either way works fine.

Next time, we’ll ramp it up a bit more with interruptions cutting off words and just how to make that effective. I hope this helps and if you ever have any questions or wish me to address another issue, please feel free to leave me a question, comment, or request I the comments below.

Happy Writing Everyone! Let’s get you success in the New Year!

Revisions: Writing Dialogue

dialogue

Hi writers, I know it’s been a while since my last editing/revision lesson but family matters have kept me busy as well as clients so let’s get things rolling again. One of the things that I notice quite often in editing is incorrect punctuation when it comes to dialogue. I understand it can be confusing at times but with practice, anyone can become so comfortable with the rules that it will come without thinking. Trust me.

Dialogue has its own set of rules for punctuation.

Commas always go in particular places, as do terminal marks such as periods, question marks, and exclamation points.

A simple rule to remember is that only what is said aloud is put within the quotation marks, and always within quotation marks—those are the double marks by the way. (“…”)

Any other parts of the same sentence such as dialogue tags (said, remarked, commanded, etc.) and any action or thought go outside the quotation marks.

Dialogue always begins with a capitalized word, no matter where in the sentence it begins. Only if the dialogue is interrupted and a tag continues it followed by a comma and not a period is not capped.

Example: “If I could have a moment of your time,” he said, grabbing her hand, “it’s important.”

Only direct dialogue, words spoken to someone or aloud requires quotation marks. Indirect dialogue is a report that someone spoke and what they said. The word that is implied in indirect dialogue.

Direct: “She was spoiled rotten,” he said.

Indirect: He said [that] she was spoiled rotten.

Now…as for punctuation in regards to dialogue, there are a few rules but the most basic ones are:

When using a single line of dialogue with no dialogue tag, the entire sentence, including the period or question mark or exclamation point is placed within the quotation marks.

Example: “I love you.”

“Will you marry me?”

“I’m so excited!”

When using a single line with dialogue tag (attribution) following the dialogue, the dialogue is enclosed in quotation marks with a comma following the dialogue and the comma is always placed before the closing quotation mark. A period ends the sentence after the dialogue tag. Punctuation in the form of the comma serves to separate the spoken words from other parts of the sentence. Since the sentence is not finished after the dialogue, the dialogue tag—he said, she demanded—is still part of the same sentence, and so it is not capitalized unless a proper name or title is being used.

Example:  “I love you,” she said.

“I love you,” Annabelle said.

The same construction occurs with a question mark even though there is no comma but instead a question mark, the dialogue tag continues the sentence and so there is no capitalization of the first word following the quotation marks unless it is a proper name.

Example:  “Will you marry me?” he asked.

“Will you marry me?” Damien asked.

When it comes to the use of exclamation points…if at all possible use a dialogue tag that expresses the raised voice or excitement in the voice of the speaker rather than an exclamation point or do not add a dialogue tag and use the exclamation point as too many exclamation points can slow the flow and distract the reader.

Example:  “I’m so excited,” she exclaimed throwing her arms around his neck.

“I’m so excited!” She threw her arms around his neck.

Sometimes, the dialogue needs more definition and so you might wish to put the tag first before the line of dialogue. When using this method, the comma still separates the dialogue tag from the spoken words but now it is outside the quotation marks and the dialogue-ending period is inside the quotation marks.

Example:  She said, “I love you.”

Annabelle said, “I love you.”

When using a single line of dialogue with dialogue tag as well as action, the dialogue is always enclosed in quotation marks no matter how much action is added to the sentence. A comma still follows the dialogue and is enclosed within the quotation marks. The dialogue tag follows immediately with no capitalization unless using a proper name then the action follows and a period ends the sentence.

Example:  “I love you,” she said, hoping he loved her too.

“I love you,” Annabelle said, hoping he loved her too.

Just as with a single line of dialogue with a simple tag, the action and dialogue tag can also introduce the dialogue, only now you’ll follow the action with the tag but the same rules apply as before.

Example:  Tipping her head to look at him, she said, “I love you.”

The most important thing to remember is make sure the reader knows who is speaking so as to avoid confusion. The dialogue is always key to fiction…let’s get it right. Next time, we’ll explore more complicated dialogue construction.

If you have any questions in particular that you’d like to see addressed, feel free to let me know in the comments and I’ll be happy to include them in the next sessions of Revisions: Writing Dialogue. It’s all about helping you find the success you deserve.

Happy Writing Everyone!

No First Drafts Need Apply…

First Draft

SO…you’ve written a book, and are now thinking…this being a writer thing is easier than I thought. I’ve written this great first draft and it’s ready for publishing…who needs revisions or editing, right? If I get a publisher, they’ll do that, right? And if I decide to self-publish, I don’t need to do anything more…because…I’m a writer! Right?

No. No. And no!

As a well-known writer once said…The first draft of anything is shit. And he’s right because it’s the second, third, or even fourth or fifth draft that will finally tell the reader the story.

If you’re a writer planning to self-publish or you keep getting rejected after submitting to publishing houses because your manuscript is ‘not what they’re looking for’, it’s because your manuscript is far from being ready. A first draft is exactly that—a FIRST DRAFT.

Those two words speak volumes. It’s rough…it’s a first draft, which means it is the first thoughts of your story. A first draft is more like an outline. You’re telling your initial story but now it needs fleshing out…meaning the characters are still in need of development, both internally and externally. Its missing words, filled with spelling errors, and the punctuation may or may not be correct. And maybe, you don’t have a good handle on point of view changes or if writing in first-person, understanding how to stay there. If it was perfect, polished, and ready for publishing, it would a FINAL manuscript not a FIRST draft, or even a second.

I recommend all writers, even the best, even best-sellers revise their first draft at least twice before even having an editor look at it. When we are writing, we are completely submerged into the work and because of that, we don’t see all the errors, missed words, poor sentence structure, head hopping and sometimes, we are even missing points of conflict and emotion that our characters and story line need. When we write a first draft, we don’t always get everything on the page we want there. It takes starting from the beginning, and going through it word for word, and experiencing it to begin to achieve the level of completeness to make it ready for an editor to see. And then the editor takes it apart again.

Editors are a fresh eye on your work, and once you reach the point where you don’t think you can revise one more word, an editor might see other problems or places that can be expanded or deleted that will enhance the story, and the characters even more…and can also suggest how to fix it. Without an editor and a fresh eye, you may be hindering your work and keeping it from being published or if you’re self-publishing, keep you from getting top rated reviews and in turn, selling books.

Do you really want to put your hard work out there in a first draft or even unpolished manuscript? I have to tell you that is a surefire way to make sure you don’t succeed.

Yes, editors are costly. There are some that cost thousands, some come a little cheaper but honestly, where as some say they are cost efficient, and might be able to do a 65,000 word manuscript for a squeak under a thousand dollars, I can do it for less than $600. In addition, for new clients, I always offer a FREE 2000 word sample to show them what I do for them…and to see if we’re a match.

Who knows, you might be a fast study and be able to take what I show you in that free sample and edit your work yourself…but would you be sure that you did your hard work a good service?

No.

But if you want publishers, readers, and reviewers to take notice…you want your manuscript thoroughly and completely, word for word, edited. No First Drafts Need Apply—ANYWHERE! 🙂

Let’s find you success. Happy Writing Everyone!

The Singular ‘Their’ corrected by the Comma Queen

To watch the lesson on THE SINGULAR “Their” either choose it from the playlist, upper left corner of video or click link below. Although, the first lesson is good too.

The Singular “Their” | Comma Queen The New Yorker

When writing my own work, and far too often, when editing your work, I see this more than I should. When used in dialogue, I tend to ignore it because that’s how people speak. When our characters are talking to each other, it’s rather common for them to say such things as:

“Well, everyone wants to go to the game, but they haven’t got tickets.”

However, in your text, you don’t want to use this kind of vernacular:

Everyone wanted to go to the game, but they hadn’t any tickets.

Everyone is singular…they is plural. Pay attention to what the Comma Queen says here. I always trust her to put it to you straight, and probably better than I can.

Happy Writing Everyone!

Feel free to check out more writing lessons from the Comma Queen on YouTube. I do. 🙂

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