Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

Monday, October 29, 2012

How Dialogue Reveals Character

Today's post is by author Maria McKenzie!

Maria McKenzie is the author of the Amazon bestseller The Governor’s Sons. Her newest release is Escape: Book One of the Unchained Trilogy, a family saga. Maria’s books are available at Amazon.  
She is currently at work on Masquerade: Book II of The Unchained Trilogy.  Look for it in late 2012.  Maria lives in Cincinnati with her husband and two boys.  Before becoming a small business owner and author, Maria worked in Georgia and North Carolina as a librarian for several years.

She attended Wittenberg University and received a bachelor’s degree in English, and later graduated from Atlanta University with a master’s in Library Science.

Maria  reads historical romance, romantic suspense, thrillers, true crime and biographies.  As a foodie, she likes to cook and bake, as long as the recipes aren’t too time consuming, so she’ll have more time to write and more time to read!  Maria loves old movies, history, museums and antiquing. She’s also into fitness and enjoys running.  As long as she’s not listening to an audio book, she comes up with story ideas during her morning runs.

 Maria around the web:
Facebook        Twitter        Website 

My favorite part of fiction writing is dialogue. It serves many purposes, and much can be revealed about a character through his thoughts, actions and especially by what he says or doesn't say. Each word a character speaks (or that is spoken about him) clues the reader into his identity.

I love old movies and
Casablanca is one of my all time favorites! William Bayer, in his book The Great Movies, classifies it as one of the 60 greatest motion pictures of all time. Bayer says it is one of the few adventure films where the adventure takes place indoors. There are no fights or outdoor adventures. "There are, instead, adventures of verbal jousting, of dialogue and innuendo, and they are dominated, in fact ruled, by a supreme adventurer, Rick."

What makes us know Rick is an adventurer is his dialogue. Bayer outlines several snatches of it that reveal glimpses into Rick's character:

His Irony:
When asked by Major Strasser to explain why he came to Casablanca, Rick says, "I came to Casablanca for the waters."
Major Strasser: "What waters? We're in the desert."
Rick: "I was misinformed."

His Sex Life in Casablanca:
As seen with a girl in a brief exchange. She asks, "Where were you last night?"
Rick: "That's so long ago I don't remember."
Girl: "Will I see you tonight?"
Rick: "I never make plans so far in advance."

His Bitterness:
When he accuses Ilsa of having had other lovers, he says, "Were there others in between? Or aren't you the kind that kisses and tells?"

His Urbanity:
"What is your nationality?" Major Strasser asks.
"I'm a drunkard," says Rick.

His Mystique:
Captain Renault explains to Ilsa: "Rick is the kind of man that if I were a woman, I would be in love with Rick."

Besides revealing insight into your characters, dialogue moves your story along by providing important information. That's why the lines are there in the first place, and that's what keeps the reader reading!

If you haven't seen Casablanca, it’s worth renting!

What's some of the best dialogue you've seen or read lately?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Changes Coming to the Mountain

I'm approaching my fourth year blogging here on Coming Down the Mountain. Yay! In that time I've evolved as a writer (yay again!) and my blog has naturally evolved to reflect my own journey.

This year marks my transition to managing editor at WiDo Publishing, a job that I absolutely embrace. As a result, I've posted more about the publishing business. These have gotten the most views and shares. Probably because most of my followers are writers.

It's kind of old news that I am a writer with books coming out. How many times can one say this on one's blog before it gets tiresome?

It's time to utilize my author website at for my writer blog, for information on my books, while here I'll focus solely on publishing information. To reflect that, the title is now Coming Down the Mountain: An Editor's Blog.

I hope that anyone who is most interested in my writer posts-- those that reflect my interests in family, food, relationships and random other topics-- will visit my author website.

And those who are writing, publishing, marketing, and completely immersed in the writer world on social media and the publishing industry, I hope will continue to check out my posts here on these topics.

And while I'm at it, are there any subjects in particular on the publishing industry that you would like to see me address here? If so, please let me know!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Fifty Shades of Gray

Another guest post by the lovely Debra Harris Johnson!

Fifty shades of gray can sometimes represent how writers can descend into boredom with each shade of gray getting darker than the one before. Let's face it, writing is a solitary endeavor. No matter how passionate we are anyone of of us can fall into the doldrums.

The routine of writing blogs, reading blogs, commenting and responding to comments after awhile can get to be monotonous. Your wonderfully exciting WIP after a couple of months may become "stuck" and cause you to disengage.

You can lighten up those shades of gray by pursing something (other than writing) that you love to do.

1. Go plant something... flowers, veggies or whatever makes your heart zing.

2. Learn something new. Nothing gets your heart racing like the anticipation of fresh knowledge.

3. Take a trip. A day trip will do. Explore, seek out new friends and adventures. Go boldly where you have never gone before.

Do one or all three of these suggestions and I guarantee you will come back with an awakened inspiration and armed with new material for your contest entry, articles, blogging or WIP. It may kick start a new way of writing.

I found my MOJO by learning something new about an old passion of mine. As a result my entire blog will change and I will step into a new genre of writing. Are you thinking about trying any of my suggestions? Have you been thinking about a change in how or what you write? I want to know, maybe we can learn from each other.

If you like this post, go to where visits and following are always appreciated.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012