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  • horizontal panels show Sophia and Sinclair going their separate ways

Parallel Stories in Picture Books

After choosing the setting of a hay maze for Sophia and Sinclair Get Lost!, I knew that Sophia, a tireless rabbit, and her best friend, Sinclair, a thoughtful turtle, would argue  and go their separate ways. This meant that I… Read more ❯

Recommended for Writers

The Art of Slow Writing: Based upon decades of research into the writing process and the work habits of real writers, this book inspires and reassures those of us who, in these days of instant gratification and on-the-go, 24/7 communication, write at a more leisurely, even glacial, pace. In fact, “slow writing” fosters risk-taking and stimulates intuitive leaps in our work. … Read more ❯

How to Craft Artfully Authentic Dialogue

Writers want their characters to talk. Okay, most writers want this. Exceptions exist, of course, such as Sarah Canary by Karen Joy Fowler (her protagonist never speaks), The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova, Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart, The Color Purple by Alice Walker, and other epistolary novels … Read more ❯

How to Write Effective Dialogue Tags (without Putting Yourself in a Pickle!)

A dialogue tag, also known as a speaker attribution, is a short phrase that identifies a speaker (and sometimes how the person speaks). “Pass the pickles,” Dan says. “Dill or sweet?” Donna asks. “I guess I’ll go for dill.” “Good choice—the dill ones are homemade, courtesy of your sister-in-law.” In this short conversation, we know that Dan is the one who wants pickles and that Donna is offering him a choice of two types. Simple and straightforward, the verbs “say” and “ask” work well—especially in moderation. … Read more ❯

How to Punctuate Dialogue

What reader doesn’t appreciate a well-told tale, witty repartee, gripping courtroom testimonies, lovers’ quarrels, or dramatic monologues delivered by impassioned characters? Most, wouldn’t you say? So how do readers recognize when a character is tongue-lashing a sibling or hitting on his wife’s best friend? Punctuation marks! Some authors occasionally (or always) eschew commas, semi-colons, quotation marks, and other or all punctuation … Read more ❯