This blog post is based off a recent workshop I took at Context. The shop was presented by author Gary A. Braunbeck. I found his class gave some really great advice, so I thought I’d pass it along for others who might find it useful too. The following is an accumulation of handouts, and notes I took. His advice covered everything from dialogue tags to punctuation. Enjoy.
- First Rule of Editing. ALL editing should be left to second draft and beyond. A first draft should not be edited until it is completed.
- Had. Avoid using the word “had” anywhere but in dialogue; when this happens, you will be telling the reader something instead, not showing. Consider the word to be a warning bell if you see it in the body of your narrative.
- Character Names in Dialogue. Avoid having characters use each others name too much when in conversation; shift the focus by using a simple physical action.