Tagged: Writer’s Tools

How to Write Dazzling Dialogue – Review

About the Book

How To Write a Dazzling Dialogue, James Scott Bell

Teen to Adult,  Reference, 136 Pages

Compendium Press (July 14, 2014)

There is one sure-fire way of improving your novel fast. . . You may know the fundamentals of how to write fiction. You may be more than competent in plot, structure and characters. But if your dialogue is dull it will drag the whole story down. On the other hand, if your dialogue is crisp and full of tension it immediately grabs the reader. And if that reader is an agent or editor, sharp dialogue will give them instant assurance that you know what you’re doing as a writer. Writing a bestseller or hot screenplay is no easy task, but dazzling dialogue is an absolute essential if you want to get there. The best part is, the skills of the dialogue craft are easy to understand and put into practice. #1 bestselling writing coach James Scott Bell has put together and expanded upon the dialogue lectures from his popular writing seminars. In How to Write Dazzling Dialogue you’ll learn:

  • What fictional dialogue is … and isn’t
  • The 11 secrets of crafting memorable dialogue
  • The 5 essential tasks of dialogue
  • 5 ways to improve your dialogue ear
  • 4 can’t-miss methods to increase conflict and tension in any dialogue exchange
  • The top 10 dialogue issues, and how to resolve them

You’ll also see dazzling dialogue in action with examples from hit novels and screenplays. Don’t sabotage your chances of selling your work to readers or publishers because the dialogue is unexceptional. Dazzle them with what the characters say. How to Write Dazzling Dialogue will give you the tools to do it.

About the Author

For notifications and deals about JSB’s new releases, sign up for his occasional update at www.jamesscottbell.com (the signup box is on the left side of the screen). Your mail box will never be overstuffed nor will your address be shared with anyone else. 

JAMES SCOTT BELL is a winner of the International Thriller Writers Award (for his novel Romeo’s Way) and the author of many bestselling thrillers. He is a popular writing instructor and conference speaker, and formerly served as the fiction columnist for Writer’s Digest magazine. Jim attended the University of California, Santa Barbara where he studied writing with Raymond Carver, and graduated with honors from the University of Southern California Law School. He lives and writes in L.A. and blogs weekly at Kill Zone — www.killzoneblog.com

Jenn’s Review

Dialogue is something I struggle with as a writer. I know that my characters’ mediocre, and often lackluster conversations are about 50% of what’s holding me back from getting published, so, I went out looking for a book to help clarify where I was going wrong. I also attended some great workshops on dialogue at RWA2018, but I was still missing a LOT.

Enter How to Write Dazzling Dialogue by James Scott Bell. Bell’s thrillers are multiple times best sellers, his books on writing craft are multiple times best sellers; this guy has some street credentials, even though I’d never heard of him.
Why his books make bestseller lists so often is clear, all the way through this slim volume on fiction dialogue. The instruction is concise and liberally peppered with examples, both from existing literature and off-the-cuff.

I took this book one chapter a day and will be applying it to my own writing going forward (I’ve already started on that, and the lessons are sinking in, as I notice dialogue more in what I read). Bell tackles such topics as tension, style, info-dumping, punctuation, and cursing. Period dialogue and dialect are also touched on in various degrees within the 134 pages of this book.

Bell’s book on dialogue is written so that most folks can easily understand what he’s demonstrating. If you are a writer, wanting to get published; if you teach writing; if you are the parent of a young writer; and yes, even if you’re an already published author — give this book a read. It’s now a permanent part of my writer’s toolkit, and I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to up their fiction writing game.

Jenn reviews HOW TO WRITE DAZZLING DIALOGUE by James Scott Bell in this edition of Thrice Read Books' review blog.

Buy the Book

This book is available from Amazon in Kindle and paperback editions. [affiliate link]

Romancing the Beat: Story Structure for Romance Novels (How to Write Kissing Books) (Volume 1) – Review

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Jenn reviews ROMANCING THE BEAT: STORY STRUCTURE FOR ROMANCE NOVELS by Gwen Hayes - Nonfiction, Writing Craft, Romance Writing

About the Book

Romancing the Beat: Story Structure for Romance Novels (How to Write Kissing Books),  Gwen Hayes 

Teen/Adult, Research, 98 Pages

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (April 2, 2016)

What makes a romance novel a romance? How do you write a kissing book?

Writing a well-structured romance isn’t the same as writing any other genre–something the popular novel and screenwriting guides don’t address. The romance arc is made up of its own story beats, and the external plot and theme need to be braided to the romance arc–not the other way around.

Told in conversational (and often irreverent) prose, Romancing the Beat can be read like you are sitting down to coffee with romance editor and author Gwen Hayes while she explains story structure. The way she does with her clients. Some of whom are regular inhabitants of the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists.

Romancing the Beat is a recipe, not a rigid system. The beats don’t care if you plot or outline before you write, or if you pants your way through the drafts and do a “beat check” when you’re revising. Pantsers and plotters are both welcome. So sit down, grab a cuppa, and let’s talk about kissing books.

About the Author

Gwen Hayes lives in the Pacific Northwest with her real-life hero and the pets that own them. She writes stories for teen and adult readers about love, angst, and saving the world.

Gwen’s first novel, Falling Under, was released in March of 2011 by NAL/Penguin and followed up by the sequel, Dreaming Awake, in January of 2012.

In addition to writing, Gwen is a freelance editor at www.fresheyescritique.com.

For more information, please visit http://www.gwenhayes.com or sign up for her non-spammy newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/v-4Xj

Gwen is represented by Deidre Knight of The Knight Agency.

Jenn’s Review

I’m pulling my writing craft books off the shelf and reading them as November draws near. I picked this particular book up, hoping to clarify plot beats for my romance writing. When I received it, though, I lost hope. It’s so slender, how could it possibly help me straighten out my messy storylines?

I took my time reading it, though, and have all but chained it to my desk as a permanent part of my writing toolkit. The author of this slim book on romance writing packs so much into this volume in a clear and concise way, and then throws humor and music playlists in on top of it! I’ve been able to sit down with my manuscripts and walk through each, with this book, and identify what’s missing and what needs to be cut. (Hallelujah!)

Of all the books on my shelf, this one tops the list for helpful. Aspiring romance authors, grab this one and don’t let go!

Jenn reviews ROMANCING THE BEAT: STORY STRUCTURE FOR ROMANCE NOVELS by Gwen Hayes - Nonfiction, Writing Craft, Romance Writing

Buy the Book

 This book is available from Amazon in Kindle, paperback and audiobook editions. [affiliate link]