Writing Tidbits from the Pros!

Just got back from the Florida Writers Association annual conference. Three and a half days of dynamic workshops and inspiring speakers—enough to empower a writer to keep writing until they can get to the conference NEXT year!

Here are a few things that stood out for me, besides the wonderful volunteers, the generous and warm speakers, and outstanding food. (I’m paraphrasing from my notes.)

Chris Roerden, Author of the “Don’t” series – (regarding powerful dialogue)
• Setting will make or break your dialogue. Use it to bring conflict and tension to your dialogue scene.
• Mix up symmetrical dialogue with asymmetrical dialogue to keep things real and interesting
Julie Compton and Jamie Morris – (regarding use of backstory)
• Backstory can be a powerful tool, even in your first chapter. Just use it sparingly and make it “invisible” – mix up the methods you use to deliver back story
• Flashback, dialogue, narrative, objects, dreams, allusions and associations are all methods to deliver backstory effectively.
• Test yourself – does reader need to know this now? Does it enhance or dilute the suspense in this scene? Is backstory the best way to deliver this information?
Patricia Charpentier, Author of “How to Eat an Elephant” – (regarding editing tools)
• SmartEdit (free) – www.smart-edit.com
 • MyWord Count – ($) www.mywritertools.com/products_wordcount.asp.
• MyWriter Tools – ($$) www.mywritertoold.com/product_mwt.asp.
• PerfectIt ($$$) – www.intelligentediting.com/products.aspx. Free trial available.

Have you learned something new and neat that you can share with others? Leave me a comment, tell us what and where, and maybe you’ll win this month’s $10 Starbucks gift card!!

Keep reading and writing! NQ


About NL Quatrano

Award-winning author, speaker, editor and ghost writer, Nancy owns a full-time editing, writing and specialty publishing business: On-Target Words/WC Publishing. Volunteer/member of professional writing organizations including Florida Writers Assoc., Sisters in Crime, and AWAI. 2010 Professional Woman of the Year by the NAPW. Linked in Editor Pick May 2013. International Women's Leadership Association nominee for Outstanding Leadership 2014. Author of Murder in Black and White, Still Shot, Merciful Blessings, and numerous published short stories.
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