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There are two types of writers when it comes to scene, I’ve found. One type takes a minimal approach to the stuff around the dialogue. One uses dialogue tags, adverbs, and narrative to construct scaffolding. If you’ve ever worked with me no a manuscript, you know that I don’t take kindly to a lot of scaffolding. I feel that it distracts from the dialogue, which is the rightful star of scene. It’s usually totally unnecessary. When I see a lot of scaffolding, I often remind writers to trust themselves and their readers. Trust themselves to come across as intended, and trust their readers to pick up on what’s being conveyed.
The point is, if you can’t be clear using dialogue alone, you need to look twice at what’s within the quotation marks, not what’s around them. Take a look at the following examples. The first is dialogue with no scaffolding. I’ve only used dialogue tags twice, one for each character at the beginning:
“Hey,” Sara said.
“What’s up?” Zach asked.
“Oh, you know.”
I would say that there’s not enough here. We don’t know enough about the characters, what they’re feeling, or why they’re talking in the moment. So I would say that something needs to be added. But how much something? Let’s say that you want to really convey what’s going on with Zach and Sara. How might you achieve that? Well, let’s add some emotions, tags, fancy “said” synonyms, and choreography. The simple scene can easily become:
“Hey,” Sara snarled.
“What’s up?” Zach said, icily.
She waved her hand in the air, as if dismissing him. “Oh, you know.”
“The usual?” He made sure to roll his eyes.
Quite annoyed, she dropped her voice to a near-whisper. “The usual.”
Well, I would say it’s quite clear now how Zach and Sara are feeling. The dialogue is exactly the same, but now I’ve festooned the scene with all sorts of little extras that clearly tell the reader that Zach and Sara are having some kind of fight. Maybe they’re avoiding one another. Maybe Zach has come into Sara’s coffee shop and she has to serve him but she doesn’t want to.
There’s tension in the scene, I’ll admit. But maybe it’s also a bit of overkill? After all, after reading this, my head is almost ringing from being hit too many times. The writer here (me) is explaining the emotions way too much. “Snarled” conveys anger. Waving a hand in the air is a cliché gesture for dismissing. If that wasn’t enough, the dismissal is also explained (“as if dismissing him”). Eye rolls are another cliché gesture. Then the emotion of annoyance is named, and a tone of voice is introduced that further underscores the tension between the two. We usually only whisper things if we’re trying to be quiet or if we’ve tightened our throats in anger.
The second scene would have too much “scaffolding,” as I call it. Whereas the first scene has not enough. If Zach and Sara were really fighting with one another, there would be no way to tell without some help. You might think that I’m playing the scaffolding up to provide an example, and while that was my objective, I am not lying when I say that I’ve seen scaffolding that thick in manuscripts. And sometimes even thicker scaffolding.
Oftentimes, writers don’t trust themselves to be clear about what they’re saying. And they (subconsciously) don’t trust readers to “get it.” So they go overboard. You will know if you put up a lot of scaffolding because you’ll see that almost none of your dialogue exists “naked” on the page (without any tags or narration).
So what’s the solution? Pare way down. And let the dialogue itself do the emotional talking for you, instead of putting everything in the scaffolding. I’ve changed the dialogue itself to have more emotional energy. You can also use interiority to convey feelings, like I do with a peek into Zach’s head here. This would be my ideal third example, a sort of middle ground:
Sara looked up from the register. “Oh. Hey.”
“Oh.” Zach fumbled with his wallet. He should’ve known her schedule better. Maybe she swapped shifts? This was the last thing he needed. “Um, what’s up?”
“What’s up? What’s up. Really? You know.”
“Yeah, let’s go with that. The usual.”
There’s a sense of tension here between Zach and Sara, but it’s not hammered home. There’s some breathing room for the reader to wonder what they might be thinking or going through, and it opens the door for more of an interaction than “I HATE YOU”/”WELL I HATE YOU MORE!!!” That’s sort of the tone of the middle example, and you can definitely find more nuance.Add a Comment
This summer, kids can access great books, go on adventures to faraway places and even win prizes – all at their local library.
As she visits schools throughout the country, answering questions about her new character Raymie and her journey to conquer remarkable things, she’s also letting kids know that all summer long their local libraries offer great opportunities for summer fun as the 2016 Collaborative Summer Library Program (CSLP) National Summer Reading Champion.
We had the opportunity to talk to Kate about what inspired her to become a children’s author, the importance of books and imagination and which books she loved to read during summer break as a kid.
Your books are very imaginative. Why is important for kids to explore their imagination through books?
Because you find that anything is possible – and the feeling of possibility gets into your heart. That’s what books did for me.
As a kid, I was sick all the time and spent so much time alone. It was super beneficial to read because I was convinced that the things I didn’t think were possible actually were! That’s incredibly important for kids in need, but also for all of us.
Your stories are very relatable for children. Why is it important for kids to see parts their lives in the books they read?
I feel this as an adult reader too. Books give me an understanding not only of the world and other people’s hearts, but my own heart. When you see yourself in a story, it helps you understand yourself.
During my school visits, so many kids tell me stories of how they connect with my characters – Despereaux and Edward Tulane and Raymie. It’s so humbling to see that connection.
And when you see other people, it introduces you to a whole new world. I think of a story I read as a kid, which was actually just reissued, called All of a Kind Family. It’s about a Jewish family in turn-of-the-century New York. That couldn’t have been more foreign to me growing up in Central Florida but I loved every word of it.
Did you like to read during the summer as a kid?
Yes! I loved reading. I could spend all day reading. I’d go up into my tree house with books and sometimes didn’t come down until dusk.
If you gave me a book as a kid, I loved it. I read without discretion. But I did have my favorites I’d come back to again and again: Beverly Cleary’s books, Stuart Little and Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books.
It’s so crazy to stand in front of groups of kids and tell them this. There’s always a murmur of “oh, yeah, yeah! I read that!” That’s the staying power of books.
How can kids access books and learning activities over the summer?
That is the beautiful thing about CSLP summer reading programs at public libraries: it makes it easy for parents, caretakers and kids themselves to access all kinds of materials and activities for free. The 2016 summer reading theme is “On your mark, get set, READ!” and I think that’s an open invitation to readers of all ages to take advantage of everything their library offers.
Want more Kate DiCamillo? Listen to her talk about the fantastic summer fun you can find at your local library!
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TREASURE is FREE today! (May 31st)
4 fulfilling blondie brownies.
Seventeen-year-old David Sullivan’s life is about to change—all because of one tiny, priceless item found in the murky bottom of a Brooklyn water tower.Romance?: Yes. Sully and Hunter have some good chemistry.
Sully is a sphere dealer at a flea market. It doesn’t pay much—Alex Holliday’s stores have muscled out most of the independent sellers—but it helps him and his mom make rent.
No one knows where the brilliant-colored spheres came from. One day they were just there, hidden all over the earth like huge gemstones. Burn a pair and they make you a little better: an inch taller, skilled at math, better-looking. The rarer the sphere, the more expensive—and the greater the improvement.
When Sully meets Hunter, a girl with a natural talent for finding spheres, the two start searching together. One day they find a Gold—a color no one has ever seen. And when Alex Holliday learns what they have, he will go to any lengths, will use all of his wealth and power, to take it from them.
There’s no question the Gold is worth millions, but what does it actually do? None of them is aware of it yet, but the fate of the world rests on this little golden orb. Because all the world fights over the spheres, but no one knows where they come from, what their powers are, or why they’re here.
दो जून की रोटी महंगी हुई आखिर आदमी को चाहिए क्या…. केवल दो जून की रोटी …. बस किसी तरह दो जून की रोटी यानि दो समय का खाना भले ही यह मुहावरा लगे पर सुनने में अजीब इसलिए लगेगा कि एक जून से दो जून की रोटी महंगी हो जाएगी.सर्विस टैक्स बढ जाएगा 14.5% […]Add a Comment
About this book: The sequel to the #1 New York Times best seller The Isle of the Lost Mal's an expert at intimidating her enemies, but she's broken the habit since leaving her villainous roots behind. So when she and her friends Evie, Carlos, and Jay all receive threatening messages demanding...Add a Comment
Are you wondering what's new in YA today? Check out these wonderful new releases! BEWARE THAT GIRL by Teresa Toten For fans of We Were Liars, The Girl on the Train, and Gone Girl, this powerful psychological thriller with multiple mysteries is set against the backdrop of the megawealthy elite of New York...Add a Comment
Now we really want to see this Chinese feature.
The post Watch The Exquisite Music Video For The Chinese Feature ‘Big Fish & Begonia’ appeared first on Cartoon Brew.Add a Comment
What View accomplishes, though, is considerable. Broken up into sections — "What I Believe," "Music and the People Who Make It," "Some People I Have Known," "Make Good Art," and so on — his musings shine with wit, understatement, and a warm lack of pretention. He speaks of "backing awkwardly away from journalism" in his youth, the first step of his eventual metamorphosis into an award-winning fantasy author with a fanatical following, and reflects on the patterns that arise in our lives: "Events rhyme."
Accordingly, View draws order out of the seeming chaos of Gaiman's scattershot career, from journalism to comics to novels to children's books to screen adaptations. He talks about his life, but always through the lens of an external subject, usually on object of passion: the superhero comics of the legendary Jack Kirby, the transgressive songs of Lou Reed, the way "the shape of reality — the way I perceive the world — exists only because of Doctor Who." That was written in 2003, before Gaiman actually wrote for Doctor Who; similarly, his many ruminations onAmerican Gods, his greatest work of prose, take on a deeper resonance now that the book is well on its way to becoming a cable TV series.
Gaiman is a writer above all, though, and his entries about writing and reading make up the meat of View. They range from the deeply personal, eerily poignant "Ghosts in the Machines: Some Hallowe'en Thoughts," first published in the New York Times, to an appreciation of the element of dreams in H. P. Lovecraft's work — a particularly illuminating topic, as one of Gaiman's most beloved characters, Morpheus of The Sandman, is the deity of dreams himself. Even more intriguing is "All Books Have Genders," a meditation on the making of American Gods — as well as a humble assessment of his authorial flaws — in which he offers the succinct slogan "Novels accrete," an entire master class on the creative process summed up gracefully in two words.
Welcome to Young Adult Book Central's Top Ten Tuesday post! Each Tuesday we will be hosting a different theme or topic involving all things bookish!!! The Top Ten Tuesday post was originally created at The Broke and The Bookish so visit there site for all the fun details about this awesome meme!! This week's...Add a Comment
We’ve reported on many “When a con is crap” moments over the years, but this weekends Space City Comic Con in Houston seems to have combined the biggest ripoffs with the biggest stars for a planned Sons of Anarchy reunion that…well, it didn’t quite pan out, as someone named Ava Jade reports: While talking with […]Display Comments Add a Comment
Each year, as school comes to a close, I like to run some statistics to see how our collection is being used. I run reports for the top 50 check outs of the school year, and then the top 10 based on format. It would come as no surprise to anyone who has spent any time at my school that graphic novels rule the day. With 5 active comic book clubs, the format is beloved. We do have some straight fiction and non-fiction in the mix as well.
Without further ado, here are some of the top 50 with the audience of tweens in mind!
A while back, we covered the announcement of Teen Boat artist John Patrick Green’s first solo graphic novel, Hippopotamister. Recently released by First Second Books, Hippopotamister is about two animals who decide to escape the run-down zoo they called home in order to forge better lives for themselves. They go out into human society to look for jobs, […]Add a Comment
Hi, YABCers! Today we're super excited to celebrate the new cover reveal for EXO by Fonda Lee, releasing January 31, 2017 from Scholastic. Before we get to the cover, here's a note from Fonda: Welcome to the cover reveal for EXO, my upcoming science fiction action novel. I’m excited to be...Add a Comment
I mean, truly—here’s a positively radiant review, by Jesse Nee-Vogelman for Spectrum Culture:
I’m not an expert on frogs. In all likelihood neither are you. If you desire to remedy this ignorance, The Book of Frogs contains a significant amount of information about frogs. Two thumbs up.
I don’t think I’ve ever cared for anything the way Tim Halliday cares for frogs. By comparison, I am emotionally barren. I can barely handle a single romantic relationship. Batrachophilia is a much more work-intensive ardor.
The Book of Frogs details over 600 species of frogs, which, mind-bogglingly, comprises less than one-tenth of total frog species. Tim Halliday writes about each one as if it were his lover. Consider his description of the Atlantic Coast Leopard Frog, a “slim, athletic frog with…long, muscular legs,” which isn’t even one of the prettier frogs in the catalog. Halliday is an emotional cosmonaut, exploring the outermost reaches of human feeling. He has breached the extremities of passion. Should not we all hope to touch, if briefly, such fondness for the world and its creatures? . . . [another 300 or so words that are LOL funny and incisive, critical in the best sense of the term]
All in all, Halliday captures both the extraordinary and ordinary of frogs in the same breathless prose that you wrote in love notes to your eighth-grade crush. Couple that with six hundred beautifully composed pictures of sometimes beautiful animals, and you’ve got yourself one hell of a novelty book. In its several months as the centerpiece of my coffee table, The Book of Frogs has generated more conversation than any other item in my apartment. It’s an aesthetic pleasure as an art object, informative as a reference guide, and gives me hope that one day, just like Tim Halliday, I will learn to love.
To read more about The Book of Frogs, click here.
To vote Jesse Nee-Vogelman for president of Nature, etc., click here.Add a Comment
Today on the YABC blog we are happy to sit down with author Jaqueline West and talk with her about her about her new novel Dreamers Often Lie, which released April 5th, 2016! YABC: What surprised you most while writing your latest book? I wrote this book between deadlines for my middle grade series,...Add a Comment
If you you want to sabotage your query, just follow these suggestions.
With only a week until the previews begin, Pottermore confirmed the casting of Ginny and Albus in the upcoming production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child–and included a few sneak peeks at the actors (including our new Harry) in-character in new cast photos!
Of our new Harry, actor Jamie Parker, J.K. Rowling says:
“He simply is Harry now. There’s a kind of relief in watching him, he gets it so right.”
Poppy Miller is Cursed Child‘s Ginny, and portrays a “kind and cool” mother to the Potter clan, according to J.K. Rowling.
Sam Clemmett is seen in his Hogwarts robes in this character portrait as Albus Severus Potter. Clemmett had the idea that the robes are hand-me-downs from his older brother, James, and we think the imagery works well.
Of Clemmett’s casting, J.K. Rowling (mysteriously) said:
“There’s much I could say about Sam-as-Albus, but we’d be into spoiler territory so quickly I’ll just say we couldn’t have cast better.”
Pottermore promises to reveal more Cursed Child character portraits later this week, and we can’t wait!
Visit Pottermore to read more and to see what Parker, Miller, and Clemmett had to say about taking on their newest roles.Add a Comment
Scooby Apocalypse #1 Plot and Art Breakdowns: Keith Giffen Concept: Jim Lee Script: J.M. DeMatteis Art: Howard Porter Color: Hi-Fi Letters: Nick J. Nap This past Wednesday saw the publication of Scooby Apocalypse #1, the second entry into DC’s new line of Hanna-Barbera titles reinterpreted for a modern audience. While last week’s Future Quest #1 was business […]Display Comments Add a Comment