Crashing Lucy’s workshop

Hi peeps,

Well, already we’re messing with our schedule! It’s taken less time than I thought 😉 This week, I’ll be posting instead of Lucy and I thought I’d talk a little something about The Thursday Night I Crashed Lucy’s Workshop.

On a Thursday every fortnight for five fortnights, Lucy is holding a workshop on The Craft of Writing a the SA Writers Centre. Last Thursday, I totally rode her coattails all the way into the Centre, laughing manically all the way. Well, maybe not manically, but there was definitely a chortle or two.

That fortnight, the class were discussing Dialogue. Lucy had some great things to say on the subject, starting with her breakdown of what influences dialogue:

GOALS, MOTIVATION, CONFLICT will influence everything you write, and in this case, will influence what dialogue you choose for your characters. The plot should always be moving forward, and your dialogue should reflect this.

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SENSES using the senses will help you ‘show’ rather than tell. The example Lucy gave: Rather than using description to alert a reader to a sound, such as a bell, have your character say “Did you hear that?”

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PUNCTUATION will change how a reader interprets your intent. Lucy used the example of the word ‘yes’. Yes. is different from Yes… from Yes? from Yes!

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EMOTION will influence everything, but the other steps will help you show rather than tell the emotion your characters are feeling.

Lucy also discussed the use of tags and adverbs in regards to dialogue. Myself, I try to avoid tags whenever possible. Dialogue is always stronger if an action is attached rather than a tag, ie,

“You’re a dick,” she said angrily.

vs

“You’re a dick.” Shaking off his hand, she crossed her arms and glared.

There were lots of other bits and bobs, including the portrayal of accents, the use of exposition and a description/dialogue ratio. Twas definitely a fun night out and, just quietly, I’m looking to crash the next workshop too! Don’t tell Lucy, ‘kay? 😉

– Cassandra

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All Skewif

Hi peeps,

Well, I just feel all over the place at the moment. It’s a Monday and I’m posting. Next thing I know, it’ll be raining cats, dogs, squirrles, there’ll be anarchy and some kind of cheese…

Hmm. Where was I?

Oh yeah. Weird, posting on a Monday. Also, last week Lucy and I couldn’t catch up on our regularly scheduled coffee fun times due to Reasons. Oh Reasons, you do like to mess with me.

So what have I been up to without *sniff* Lucy’s company? Well, I’ve been joining Writers Associations! Left, right and centre! Well, maybe not left, right and centre. Maybe not even left and right. Possibly centre. Anyhoo, I thought I’d list them for you lovely peeps, in case you might like to investigate and perhaps join yourselves:

SA WRITERS CENTRE

ROMANCE WRITERS OF NEW ZEALAND

And, just for spits and giggles, I’m already a member of:

ROMANCE WRITERS OF AUSTRALIA

ROMANCE WRITERS OF AMERICA

AUSTRALIAN ROMANCE READERS ASSOCIATION

So that’s about it from me, peeps! I’m sorry it’s a bit light on this post, but I blame my Lucy-less week. This week, we’re looking to get together at SA Writers Centre and chat and stuff and some good shizz will come out of it, I’m certain!

Until next time

– Cassandra

Giant Drops and Restrooms?

Well if Cassandra dropped the ball the other week, I’ve clearly lost mine! Sorry the blog is so late. I could offer a mountain of excuses but I won’t insult your intelligence.

There’s always the big question of ‘what to write’ when it’s your turn to blog and this week, I guess I’ve really struggled with exactly what it was I wanted to say. I did think of telling you about my week-end. They’re usually not that exciting, dealing with washing the clothes and writing words of some kind in my latest WIP but on Sunday afternoon, we went out to an adventure camp and after a lovely BBQ (or salad focaccia, in my case), we headed up an enormous hill to where there were climbing and abseiling frames set up and also a ‘giant swing’. Now I’d love to be able to put a picture right in here —- but the truth is that whilst we did take photos and video, they’re presently stuck on my phone and I can’t find the cord to hook the phone to my computer. (always the way)  However, it did look a little something like this:

It was great to be in an abseiling harness again (last time was when I was a teenager), with hard hat on, being winched up via a rope and then, when you pull the release string, you definitely swing to and fro. But… before I could write this blog, something else happened to me which, thanks to today’s technological society, actually embarrassed me.

My sister called me on my mobile phone while I was on the toilet!

Now, in the past, if I was in the ‘room where legends die’, and the phone rang, I had instructed my family to always say “she’s unavailable at the moment, can she call you back?” thus, preserving the my dignity and also the belief that I am perfect. (which, let’s face it, I am)

These days, with our mobile/cellphones glued to our sides, instructing our every waking moment as we use them for alarms, calendars, diaries, reminders, phone contacts etc, when you’re on a toilet – especially a public one, how utterly embarrassing is it when you get a call? Do you start to wonder, as I do, exactly what the other person can hear? Is the echo of the small cubicle evident? Do they hear the flushing sounds of the other toilets (if you’re in a public restroom)? You also know that everyone else in that restroom is listening in to your conversation.

Has this ever happened to you? Are you embarrassed or do you not particularly care? Have you ever read of character’s being in such a situation in any books?

When we write our stories, there are usually parts of normal human life that we tend to leave out – such as certain bodily functions. I do remember years ago, accepting the challenge to have one of my characters vomiting. She had food poisoning and I’d entwined the food poisoning into the plot specifically so I could have the scene of the hero holding back the heroine’s hair, rubbing her back and generally being supportive as she “hoiked up her guts” and oddly enough, my editors changed the scene to having him “being supportive” and then tucking her into bed. The vomiting was deleted.  Instead, the heroine had “felt ill”.

What books have you read where ‘bodily functions’ are more readily acceptable? Were they fiction? Non-fiction? Romance? Horror?  Enquiring minds want to know (especially mine).

From now on, though, whenever I enter a public restroom, I will definitely be turning my phone to silent!

Lucy