HSW May Newsletter

From the HSW President 

Howdy, Members,

This month’s focus will be on Dialogue: what’s good and what’s bad. We’ll have hands-on working sessions followed by analysis of the dialogue we write in the sessions. Since our recent survey showed your #1 interest is craft, we’ll be focusing more on that this month and in the future. You’ll have more breakout sessions to develop skills in the areas we discuss each month.

At May’s meeting, we’ll also have a regular First Pages session, so bring in your first pages.

If anyone has blurbs, bring those in as well. Donna will have time to provide feedback.

See you there,

Election Time is Coming!!


On July 1st, the Election Committee will receive written requests for nominations for board positions. Any member can serve on the board, so if you’re interested, or if you have any questions about the process, please contact our secretary, Linda Enos…enoslinda@sbcglobal.net.

New and Improved HSW Contest for 2017!!


Unlike the past contests, this one will have a cash prize! It’s also a short story contest. Donna Stegman will have a handout at the May meeting with all the exciting details.

 Good news for those waiting in the wings to jump into a critique group – there’s more of you now! Which means we’re DANGEROUSLY (oh, no, an evil adverb!) close to having enough to start another group or two. Specifically, if I had, say, one more person with a full novel, ready for a finish group, we could do that right away! Let me know if you’d like to join this group – you just read a novel a month, critique, move on to someone else’s novel. It’s that easy. Still working on your masterpiece? Great! Join one of our weekly or monthly groups and get that puppy moving along and polished! I have a few different genre writers hoping to step in to such a group, but we need a few more to make them happen. So shoot me an email at cgwrangler@highsierrawriters.org, or come see me, Nicole, at our next meeting, and let’s get you set up!

Upcoming Monthly Meeting Topics

June 10th – Donna Stegman will lead an in-depth mini-workshop on writing blurbs.
July 8th  – or thereabout – The board is considering hosting a potluck picnic at a city park in lieu of a monthly meeting. Please contact Linda Enos (if you haven’t already) about your thoughts/opinions on this topic…enoslinda@sbcglobal.net. More details to follow!
August 12th – TBA

Next Meeting – Saturday, May 13 at 10:00 am – South Valleys Library on Wedge Parkway

Say What?

“If we pull our characters up from inside of us instead of approaching them from the outside, writing dialogue becomes an organic process.” Gloria Kempton, Dialogue, ©2004Well-written dialogue is often the key to a great story. It can engage the reader, reveal conflict, and move your story forward, or perhaps move it in a different direction. Here are a few tips for building a good conversation between your characters:

  1. Get out of the way and let your characters talk. Try jotting down the conversation – just the talking part – as quickly as it comes into your head. Don’t edit it too much at this point.
  2. Add the setup and setting. Where’s this conversation taking place? What are your characters doing during it? Concentrate on hands and props; on your characters’ facial expressions and body language; use movements and actions to begin showing the emotion.
  3. Check your dialogue tags. Don’t use tags like *said* and *asked* unless it’s absolutely necessary. Show who’s talking through the use of movement/ action or a character’s introspection.
  4. Check for continuity. Read through your dialogue – out loud – to catch any discrepancies. Do you have them picking up something but not putting it back down? Did they sit or stand – twice?
  5. Last but not least, punch up the emotion. Make sure to clarify your character’s motivations and reactions. Why did he say that and how did it make her feel? Some introspection is good (and necessary) but avoid telling the reader how your characters feel.

Terry McLaughlin, Layering in Dialogue, Emerald City Writers’ Conference. ©2006

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