WFC – Building Professional Relationships

They listed this as “relationship building” or some such and I think most of us thought this would be a forum on character relationship building. Not so.

But not disappointing either. One of the foibles of many writers (and I’ve been guilty of this too) is our lack of interest or ability in forming professional relationships. Some of us can barely stomach the thought that people are reading our precious stories, let alone talk to those people after they’ve done it.

Being around the BFF has made me more of an outgoing person, because I was able to watch her seemingly flawless skill at connecting with people. She’s been in sales for years. Couple that with her natural love of people, and boom, her skills dominate.

Last year and this year too while attending the Writing for Charity conference I noticed the majority of writers I met seemed about 0% interested in networking. When I asked them what their story was about, they transformed into the wary cat, guarding the precious food it just found. That or they gave me that look, the what do you want look. That’s not all of them, but it was a lot of them.


If you can’t see the point of networking and connecting with other authors, then I’m sure this question has crossed your mind: What can other authors do for me? It’s not like they’ve got an agent either.

True, some may not. But you’re approaching the point with completely the wrong attitude. Networking and building professional relationships isn’t about what that person can do for you, but what you can do for them.

Let’s start with a quote from the forum:

Every opportunity has its root in a relationship.

Remember that phrase it’s not what you know but who you know. Although what you know is important and will take you far, who you know is equally as important. You’re probably still wondering how getting to know other aspiring authors is going to get you published.

Stop it. Stop that approach. Focus instead on what you can do for them. For me, in the beginning, it was that I knew networking and building relationships would at the very least bring me into the circle of my peers and keep my motivation running. But while networking, I met a friend who introduced me to all kinds of things I hadn’t know about Twitter. Hashtags like #myWANA #Row80 and #wordmongering now entered my hemisphere, all because I was willing to open my mouth and say hello.

I also tried to be his motivator and he was mine, and we checked in with each other on our progress. Friendship. Karma. If you give help freely, help will be given freely to you. I always learn something new from networking.

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A Star Wars Intermission

I promise, I was all ready to go with an Iron Man 3 Friday Flix, but this Storymakers conference got in the way of things. But fear not, lovelies, I won’t leave you without some entertainment this happy Friday.

First of all, want to see some rad Empire Strikes Back photos? I thought so.

Need to a quick recap of what happened in Star Wars: A New Hope? What if I said I could give it to you in one full minute?

Hey, everything doesn’t have to be about Star Wars, does it? Let’s see what Stan Lee is up to these days.

Okay, so maybe I did sneak in just a little bit of Star Wars. But this blog is an educational blog. And what better way to learn than School House Rocks? Today’s lesson is on “interjections.” Since a lot of us are readers and writers here, we need to know what all of this stuff means. I give you, interjections: Star Wars style.

Want to know how I felt when I watched Episode I, II, and III? I think this video about sums it up.

Okay, we certainly can’t leave it on that sour note! I just wanted you to see Star Wars Halloween decor and we’ll let Seth Green finish things off for us.


Enjoy the rest of your Friday!

WFC – Dialogue Panel

In following with a pattern of sorts, I feel like one of my writing strengths is dialogue. So this time I decided to send the ego out for a break and find out if there was more I could learn. It’s good to strengthen your weaknesses, but even better to build up your strengths, right?

This was presented by Mette Ivie Harrison who spelled dialogue as dialog, which apparently is technically correct, but it bothered me the whole time! People, it’s D-I-A-L-O-G-U-E. Okay, enough of that. Onto the notes.


Characters can talk about themselves to other characters. People naturally reveal themselves to others in conversation, but it must be comfortable. Avoid ‘uh’ ‘um’ etc.

Examples used: Code Name Verocity, Life As We Knew It


Each character wants something different. Each character should have a different verbal style to get this. One could be passive, the other aggressive. Shouting is not the only way to show conflict in dialogue. Whispering, twisting words, sarcasm—all work as well.

Example used: An Ideal Boyfriend


It can reveal information that is necessary for the resolution of plot, but be careful how you approach it. And it can resolve problems and conflicts.

Example used: The False Prince


But be careful of maid/butler dialogue. Those scenes where almost completely unimportant characters reveal the one piece of vital information that moves the plot forward. They can even be semi-important characters, but whose only purpose is to convey that information before disappearing completely or being killed. Point being, if they already know it they won’t talk about it. (This is something I didn’t like about Dr. Whatshisface in Pontypool.)

If you use this method, have a character who is ignorant be involved in the conversation. Or have the conversation be between two people who debate the info given. Take Harry Potter, for example. (KATE!) Because he doesn’t know the world, then he can explain it to the readers naturally.

JAE NOTE: At this point she generally quit selecting samples from other works and stuck to the ones she knows: her own. Sure, it’s perfectly fine to do a bit of shameless promotion of your own stuff. I don’t know that I’d feel comfortable even doing the one example. But anyway, it caused me to wonder if she doesn’t take as much time to read other things? I mean, go to Harry Potter if you need examples for crying out loud! 😉 Does anyone else feel like this was a bit self-serving? Anyway, for the rest of these, just go find one of Mette’s books, according to her.


Make the reader feel something is not the same as the characters feeling it. The characters may not react to pain, but the reader will. Characters may also not be able to cheer for a final kiss, but readers will.


Silence can be as potent a response as any paragraph of words. There is more than one way to convey silence. You can use misdirection figuratively and say everything but what will gradually become clear to the reader is truth (for that story. Also, I didn’t quite get what she meant. I think lead your readers down a wrong path, all the while laying the groundwork that shows them the truth they arrive at in the end was there all along).

Anyway, one of my favorite dialogue scenes is between Han and Leia. Because they knew Han’s character well enough, they knew this scene should play out exactly like this:

We were running out of time, so 7-9 she did rather fast. I couldn’t make many notes before she read more samples from her books.

#7 Use a twist to make your dialogue pop.
#8 Witty banter is an old classic of great dialogue.
#9 Zingers make great dialogue.


But don’t overuse them. If it’s clear which character is speaking, you don’t need a tag. Don’t tell us the emotion conveyed if it’s already obvious.

Example used: The Queen of Attolia

JAE NOTE: She wanted to put in desperately for one of her samples, but I think you should write it so we can conclude that it is desperate. It’s harder, but your readers will appreciate it more.


Despite a few bothers, I still enjoyed attending this forum. All of these points served as good reminders. I intend to take all the points and see if they help me find areas where my novel’s dialogue could be improved.

Did you learn anything new? What are your writing strengths? Is dialogue one of them? Do you agree with her advice? Disagree?

Monday’s Writerly Quote

Have you ever considered why you’re blogging? Especially you writers out there. Why are you blogging? To build your platform, perhaps? But why?

Something I believe in strongly is the philosophy of karma. Those things you send out are returned to you. If you fill your world with negative energy, the negative energy returns. But if you fill your world with positive energy, it’s positive energy that will ultimately surround you.

I think for many of us, perhaps blogging begins as a way to build a platform, but then we realize (or at least I came to realize) it’s being a part of a community. And helping those you can along the way.

Which brings us to today’s quote, via your favorite green philosopher, Yoda:

Always pass on what you have learned.

Something I try to do with my blog is share all the experiences I’ve had on my writing journey. I want to impart all the knowledge I’ve gained, hoping it helps someone in a way I would have liked to be helped earlier in my journey. And the great thing is that because I’ve connected with a lot of you, I learn things I didn’t know or gain new perspectives I might not have otherwise thanks to you doing the same.

There’s room enough for us all in this industry, especially these days with our technology. We should always cheer when one of us reaches success and encourage each other as we strive for our own successes. Part of the way we do that is passing on what we’ve learned.

I encourage you, if you haven’t already, to look at your blog not just as a platform for yourself, but as a platform to help others. Help your fellow writers. Make it about what you can do for everyone else, and focus less on what everyone else can do for you.

We can typically tell when a writer’s blog is meant solely for us to admire them. The blogs I tend to check regularly are the ones where the author interacts with their followers. Many of you have become pals and are a big part of the reason I keep going with this blog.

Those are the kinds of bloggers we should be—ones that encourage each other to be our best selves in every way.

Be those bloggers, my friends. And I’ll do my best to be that kind of blogger to you.

How are you passing on those things that you have learned? Why do you blog? Do you benefit from being a part of this writing community? What do you like about this writing community?

May the 4th

Happy Star Wars Day everyone!

SW4thSince it’s May and since I feel like it, all of May will have Star Wars references, pics, memes—whatever it is, it’ll have some Star Wars reference guaranteed.

There’s so much awesome Star Wars fan art, videos, cool stuff out there. And I think most of that is due to George Lucas being a bit lax with his copyrights. Say what you will about the man and his botching the prequels, but he doesn’t sue and the fans keep the culture alive. Some people with big media assets could learn a lesson from him.

It’s interesting, isn’t it, that there’s not really a geeky fan name for Star Wars fans? Not like Whovians, Trekkies, and Browncoats. I guess we could be Star Warriors. I don’t know. Maybe it’s because we want the name Star Wars to say out there.

Anyways, I just wanted to let you all know on this May the 4th that Star Wars will be honored. Look forward to things you may have seen, new things you may not have, and a whole lot of hoopla. I’ll figure some way to tie it all into writing. Enjoy!