Today, midnight EST is the cut off to send Guy your Halloween pictures. I’ll have the winners for you on Monday! Group winners get signed cover flats, and grand winner gets an ARC of BLACK MAGIC SANCTION! I’ve got all the pictures up now, so if you don’t see yourself there and you sent me a picture, send it again. Rules and how to submit are at the website.
For those who have been participating in NaNoWriMo, I finally have page count! If you’ve not been to the drama box recently, I began plotting out the next Hollows book the first of the month. (explained in previous posts in excruciating detail.)
Yesterday I finally finished my plotting and started actually writing the thing. Taking my one page of notes on chapter one, I spent the morning writing out the dialog, then in the afternoon, I turned it into prose. Today I’ll take my one page of notes on chapter two and do the same, and in about three to four months, I’ll have turned my 27 pages of notes into a 500 page manuscript. I don’t usually keep track of word count, but since I know a lot of you are for NaNoWriMo, I had six pages of dialog/short action (1363 words) and turned it into 12 pages of prose (4182 words)
So what does a page of my dialog look like? Well, I was going to show you the cover of the next Madison book today, but here’s a page from ODW instead. This is the beginning of chapter six, page 78 in the mass market, and it’s dialog between Rachel and Marshal as she enters Carew Tower to attend a meeting with a Mr. Domo
I write dialog fast, so I just use notations for the character names, and don’t bother with punctuation, even to separate the actual dialog from the action, but since it’s only useful for a couple of hours, I can remember my intent. And as you might have noticed, I’ve got the date in the header, which is a no-no when you submit, but I like it for my record keeping. The title is not ODW, either. Ley Lines don’t say “magic” to the public at large, so no Ley Lines in the finished title. (I used it in a novella, though. grin)
The big question some of you might be asking is why? Why take the time to write out the dialog if you’re only going to rewrite in just a few hours? For most genres, dialog needs to be fast give and take, especially if you are writing first-person, and this helps keep it quick. I usually take the first page or so in a chapter to set the scene and Rachel’s mood, but after that, the balance of description vs dialog should be heavy on dialog with one-sentence or one-word reminders of setting and mood. Work it into the action. (Sets coffee cup in beam of sun coming into kitchen window says a lot. Kitchen. Day. Breakfast. Mood–set it down hard or soft.) Use action to the fullest.
Different genres have different balances, and a gothic romance will have tons more description than an urban fantasy, so don’t necessarily take what I’ve said here as the end-all. Know your genre. Take a highligher to your favorite book and see what the author did where. Find the patterns.
Writing out the dialog first helps me stay on track to what I want to accomplish. I can choose to put in the description where it needs to be, not right when I think of it, and that makes the process faster.
Today, I’m hoping to get through chapter two. It’s going to be heavier on description than the first was, but now that the main characters have been introduced, I can do that without tiring the reader or throwing too much at him or her.
Have a great weekend! See you Monday. I’m baking this weekend!!