Monthly Archives: October 2014

Last Minute News

Last Minute News

Welcome to the last day of October! Are you ready?

RSVP for the Kick-Off Party

Saturday, November 1, 3-6pm
The Avenue Cafe (Gone Wired) 2021 E Michigan Ave, Lansing, MI

It’s tomorrow, so please take a moment to let us know you’re coming. After all, we have goodies and we want to make sure we have enough for everyone.

RSVP at Eventbrite now.

Midnight November 1st

Interested in a midnight write in to kick off the month? Check out this thread.

Scheduled ML Write Ins

Thursday, November 6, 7 pm
Grand Traverse Pie Company, E Lansing

Tuesdays, November 11, 18 & 25, 7 pm
Old Chicago, Okemos

Get more information here.

More Write Ins

While we can’t be everywhere, we know that you are spread far and wide and would like to help you find each other. Here are a few of the places that we know we have space or people. Check out these threads for more information:

West Lansing

Dewitt

Owosso

Brighton/Howell

Not seeing your part of town? Check out our Host Your Own Write-In thread.

Check in on the Introductions Thread

Say hi to others in the region and let us know a little about yourself.

You can find the thread here.

That’s all for now. Get some sleep, stock up on supplies, and we’ll be seeing you soon!

Alaina (A_Rachelle) & Annette (Contemplative Cat)
Co-Municipal Liaisons, USA::Michigan::Lansing.
AKA your event coordinators, purveyors of fun, answerers of questions and senders of periodic regional messages to keep you in the loop.

Find us online! 
Our Forums
NaNoLansing.org
Facebook
Twitter

Crafting Believable Dialogue

Crafting Believable Dialogue

Dialogue is a tool used to further the action, to give us a sense of characterization and to ultimately drive the story along.
Roger Colby

“Show” don’t tell

A lot of our communication happens through body language and tone. Instead of using adverbs to get a point across, let the actions of the character speak for them.

Example 1a*

“I don’t want to dance,” she said pensively. “I just want to stand here.”
“Give me a break,” he huffed angrily. “I only wanted to hold your hand.”

Example 1b*

Everyone danced, their bodies swaying slowly to the beat of “Makin’ Love Out of Nothing at All”.
As Rick reached for her hand, Judy’s face drew down, a perfect scowl.
“I… I just don’t feel like dancing,” she whispered, then said again louder over the din. “I just don’t feel like dancing.”
Rick’s eyes watered slightly, his hand going to his nose as if to stifle a sneeze.
“I only wanted to hold your hand.”

Develop a unique voice for your characters

Your characters personality, history, time period and location should all influence the way they talk.

Are they gruff or taciturn? Use short clipped words.
Are they bubbly and talkative? Long bright fountains of words.
Do they come from a place with a distinct colloquial sound? Use it, but don’t abuse it. A little goes a long way.

Also, remember your time period. If you’re writing historic fiction don’t use modern slang unless there are time travelers involved.

We don’t speak with proper grammar

Very few characters speak with proper grammar – and those who do should stick out because of it. We use contractions and can be awkward, fumbling fools of speakers. Don’t be glib. Don’t be too correct. Do use the proper writing grammar to let your characters know what they’re reading. Reading your dialog aloud will help to identify potentially stilted sections.

Avoid “he said/she said”

Those arguments are trying enough in real life. Don’t force them upon your readers. Interspersing actions with your dialogue can go a long way to helping this, and remembering that every bit of dialog doesn’t necessarily need to call out the speaker – especially if you’ve developed unique voices for your characters

Remember pace

The tone of your dialog can set the pace for the scene, so use it.

Example 2

Turner took a long draw on his cigarette and blew out small circles of smoke, “We should leave soon.”

Example 3

“Go! Go! Go!” Excitement practically vibrated off of Maria as she bounced in the confined space of the bleachers.

Use the ‘layered’ approach**

Write first draft in a way that feels natural then fix the dialogue/action-description ratio in your editing

Exercises

Break It Up

Write a conversation using this format to break apart your dialog and actions

Character name: Single colon if talking immediately
Character name:: if there is an action, thought, or other information before speaking :: Hi! With that second double colon I am now speaking :: but I can go back to description at any time ::

Here’s an example:

Gideon:: received his message and being out and about was closer to Sean’s office then his rooms and decides it’d be easier to just drop in instead of sending a message. Reaching the room instead of knocking he just opens the door and is surprised to find that Sean is not there. He should be waiting for a response to his message. Sees Carma on the couch and crouches down next to her, touches her shoulder lightly :: Carma
Carma:: Opens her eyes. Then seeing Gideon smiles slightly. She likes him a lot. He reminds her of Tony :: Is mom here yet?
Gideon:: brushes a hair off her forehead, shakes his head :: I wish she were. I was hoping Sean might be able to give me some news. Do you know where he went?

Now pick two or three characters of your own and write a short scene where they meet a new friend or enemy. Include any descriptions that come to mind. Any extraneous information can be removed later.

Characterize Your Protagonist/Antagonist

Describe their personality

Abrupt or Long-Winded?

Do they have an accent?

Do they use colloquialisms (If so, which ones)?

Do they mumble or speak clearly?

What is their favorite explicative?

What is their level of education?

Are they an introvert or an extrovert?

What are their beliefs?

Does the way they speak change in relation to another character or where they are in the story?

Are there psychological influences?

What are their goals when speaking?

Parental/family influence

Favorite part of speech (noun/verb or lots of adjectives)?

What are their speaking tics?

How complex is their speech?

References

*Writing is Hard Work: Writing Believable Dialog
Writing is Hard Work: The Dos and Don’ts of Dialogue
Writing is Hard Work: Emotive Dialog
Wordserve Watercooler: Writing Believable Dialog
Woosh Editing: Writing Believable Dialog
Novel Bootcamp: Writing Believable Dialog
**Laura Howard: Writing Believable Dialog

One More Week

One More Week

Only one week left until November! Take a deep breathe with me. Now let it out sloooowly. There we go. No need to hyperventilate. Everything will be okay. My desk is steadily being covered in more and more NaNo doo dads for you all. We’ve got Cauldron candy and goodie bag parts.

As we hit the home stretch of NaNo-preparation, here are a few things that you can do:

Come to our ‘Creating Believeable Dialog’ workshop

Tuesday, November 28, 7 pm
Old Chicago, Okemos

RSVP on the forums or through our Facebook event.

Check in on the Introductions Thread

Say hi to others in the region and let us know a little about yourself.

You can find the thread here.

RSVP for the Kick-Off Party

Saturday, November 1, 3-6pm
The Avenue Cafe (Gone Wired) 2021 E Michigan Ave, Lansing, MI

RSVP at Eventbrite and let us know you’ll be joining us for an afternoon of fun an writing.

ACTIVITIES:

Socializing – Our first hour will be spent getting to know each other with games and activities tbd.
Door Prizes – There will be several cool door prizes given away throughout the event.
Goodie Bags – Your very own NaNoLansing Survival Bag will be awaiting you filled with treats and helpful items.
Silent Auction – Please bring items to donate for our silent auction (and bring some cash so you can buy them). We already have some good looking items up for bidding. This is your chance to get some really nice stuff for a song of a price. It will run from 3-5 pm and bids will be cash only in $1 increments. (All proceeds will be donated to NaNoWriMo. For every $10 received, one broke wrimo will be chosen to receive a halo and donor badge under their name.)
Potluck – If you can, bring some food (no liquids) to share. If you can’t bring food, come anyway. We still want to see you!
Cauldron of Doom Word Wars – Draw a number from the cauldron and write away. If you reach your word count, you’ll get a prize and everyone gets something just from participating, including a great boost to your word count!

Questions? Ask them here.

Create your Novel

If you haven’t done this yet, make sure to go over to My NaNoWriMo and click ‘Create your novel’ in the ‘Announce your new novel’ banner or select ‘My Novels’ from the dropdown. This lets us know for sure that you plan to participate this year. Remember, you can always change the name of your novel later. What you choose right now is not a lifetime commitment.

That’s all for now. Get some sleep, stock up on supplies, and we’ll be seeing you soon!

Alaina (A_Rachelle) & Annette (Contemplative Cat)
Co-Municipal Liaisons, USA::Michigan::Lansing.
AKA your event coordinators, purveyors of fun, answerers of questions and senders of periodic regional messages to keep you in the loop.

2014 NaNoWriMo is Almost Here!

2014 NaNoWriMo is Almost Here!

Hello Wrimos,

It’s hard to believe that November is on the horizon.  We’re excited for another NaNo and are busy working on preparations for it.  Some of you may have all of your novels plotted out, organized, characterized, world mapped and then others of you might be like me and don’t even know what genre you’ll be writing in.

Whether you’re all prepped and ready to go or have no clue what to write, we have a few workshops for you.

Plot Development through MindMapping:
This workshop will help you polish up your plot or visualize a brand new plot.  Come join us.
When:  Tuesday October 14th – 7to 9 pm
Where: Grand Traverse Pie Company, Orchard Room.
Address: 1403 E Grand River Ave, East Lansing, MI 48823

Villainy:  Crafting a Villain Worth Its Salt
We spend a lot of time on our protagonists, but how about those villains?  Sometimes they can move the plot forward better than any other character.  Spend some time with us exploring how to create Villainous Villains.
When:  Tuesday October 21 – 7 – 9 pm
Where:  Grand Traverse Pie Company, Orchard Room
Address: 1403 E Grand River Ave, East Lansing, MI 48823

Creating Believable Dialogue
Well-crafted dialogue is more than just everyday conversation.  It gives us information about our characters and the story.  Learn what works and what doesn’t work with dialog.
When:  Tuesday October 28 7-9 pm
Where:  Old Chicago Pizza
Address: 1938 W Grand River Ave, Okemos, MI 48864

Other tidbits:

Site Wipe:
The NaNo site will be revamped in this next week.  Feel free to stop by our regional forum and introduce yourself, refresh your memory on resources, view our coming events and get information on the new site features.

Kick Off:
This year we’re doing something a little different.  We will be having a kick off/write in combination pot luck party.

When:  Saturday November 1 from 3 to 6 pm
Where:  The Avenue Café
Address:  2021 E Michigan Ave, Lansing, MI

We’ll pass out goodie bags, fill you in on the month’s activities, have activities, a silent auction and have our first Cauldron of Doom Word Wars of the season with even nicer prizes than usual.

Please bring food to share and money to purchase beverages. Also please bring something to donate to our silent auction and money to purchase some of the really cool items we already have.  All proceeds go to NaNoWriMo and will also give wrimos a chance to get their own donor halo.

Write Ins Scheduled to date:
Mark your calendars for these ML sponsored write-ins and keep your eyes on the forum for additional write ins tbd.

Tuesday November 11th from 7 to 10 pm – Old Chicago 1938 W Grand River Ave, Okemos

Tuesday November 18th from 7 to 10 pm – Old Chicago 1938 W Grand River Ave, Okemos

Tuesday November 25th from 7 to 10 pm – Old Chicago 1938 W Grand River Ave, Okemos

Feedback:
Did you participate last year?  Did you get a chance to complete our year end survey?  If you didn’t and would like to, there is still time.  Please go here to fill it out.

Video:
Lastly, be on the look out for the long awaited fundraising video, which will be released soon.
Looking forward to a great NaNo Season!

Annette (Contemplative Cat) & Alaina (A_Rachelle)
Co-Municipal Liaisons, USA::Michigan::Lansing.
AKA your event coordinators, purveyors of fun, answerers of questions and senders of periodic regional messages to keep you in the loop.
Find us online! 
Our Forums
NaNoLansing.org
Facebook
Twitter

 

2014 Workshops are Coming!

2014 Workshops are Coming!

1bhmworkshops

Dun dun dunnnnnnn!

We will be hosting weekly workshops to help you prepare for NaNoWriMo 2014, so mark your calendar now. All workshops will start at 7pm. October 7th & 28th will be at Old Chicago in Okemos. October 14th & 21st will be at Grand Traverse Pie Company in East Lansing.

October 7: Intro To NaNo – Old Chicago

NaNo basics and an opportunity to ask all the burning questions about NaNo that you never have before.

Share this event on Facebook.

Help us plan the rest of the month!

Did you attend a write-in last year that you would love to see again?

Is there a sticky issue you run into time and time again that we can help you prep for in October?

Let us know! We are in the process of finalizing details and would love your input on what you want to see in our October workshops.