Writing Dialog That Isn’t Boring and Moves Your Story Along

Author Don Massenzio

This post will drill down into a topic with which I struggled in my early writing. That topic is dialog; when to use it, how to use it, what to avoid, etc.

Before I dive into this topic, I wanted to give a special shout out to my editor who not only reminded me that the punctuation goes inside of the quotation marks, but constantly reminded me that I should “show vs. tell” and sent me links to writing tips to help my early writing.

books and  message for story writers "show, don't tell" written


This is one of the hardest paradigm shifts that I had to deal with. I come from a technical, corporate world. This background has affected my writing. I can write narrative and describe business and technical situations very effectively. When writing fiction, however, using too much narrative can come across as dry and uninteresting. It’s much more effective to let your characters…

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Shamus Awards 2019: Private Eye Writers of America Accepting Submissions

Guns, Gams & Gumshoes



For Works First Published in the U.S. in 2018

Following are the categories for the Private Eye Writers of America 2019 Shamus Awards for private eye novels and short stories first published in the United States in 2018. The awards will be presented in the fall of 2019.

DEADLINE: Submissions must be postmarked by March 31, 2019. No extensions can be given.

Shamus Committees will forward their final lists to the Shamus Awards Chair by May 31, 2019.

ELIGIBILITY: Eligible works must feature as a main character a person paid for investigative work but not employed for that work by a unit of government. These include traditionally licensed private investigators; lawyers and reporters who do their own investigations; and others who function as hired private agents. These do not include law enforcement officers; other government employees…

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19 Awesome places to meet readers for your book (even if you’re an introvert)

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19 Awesome places to meet readers for your book (even if you’re an introvert)

Even though the act of writing is often fraught with anguish and adversity, most writers struggle more selling their books. Writing is a solitary pursuit – marketing is not. How do you find more readers for your book without “selling” it? Get out of the house and get involved. Even if you haven’t published a book yet, now is the time to build your tribe of readers. Here are 19 awesome places to meet readers for your book, even if you’re an introvert.

read more http://happyselfpublisher.com/19-awesome-places-to-meet-readers-for-your-book/

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The Top Ten Tips for Writers That Have Day Jobs

Author Don Massenzio

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Someday I would love to be a full-time writer, but for right now, I have a 50-60 hour a week day job that requires my attention so that annoyances like bills, mortgage payments, and insurance can be provided for. I’ve written and published ten books in the past five years while satisfying the demands of my day job. People always ask me how I do this, so here are some tips to help others that might be in this same predicament. I will expand on each of these within this post:

  1. Think about your writing during every minute that you have available
  2. Maximize your idle time
  3. Travel and free time
  4. Use your daily experiences to help you
  5. Claim your non-work time
  6. Sleep less
  7. Work on multiple writing projects simultaneously
  8. Outsource your marketing/advertising
  9. Automate your social media campaign
  10. Don’t give up

I hope this list is helpful. There may be other…

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Self-Editing Tips

Story Empire

Hi, SE Readers. Joan here today. I’ve been in the editing mode of late. It never ceases to amaze me how many mistakes I find. I edit, then I send pages to my critique partners thinking I’ve got a pretty clean copy. They find other things I’ve missed. So, I edit some more.

Whether you are traditionally published or an Indie author, self-editing is an absolute must. There is no substitute for hiring a professional editor, but there are a few tips writers can do before submitting that manuscript to an editor, publisher, or even beta readers.

Look for “crutch” words

Every author tends to rely on what I call crutch words. These are different for every writer, but reading through your finished manuscript will enable you to become familiar with your own. As you review, look for repeated words or phrases. Some of my crutch words are well, perhaps…

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Firearms: Know Your Weapon! – From the Writers in the Storm Blog

Author Don Massenzio

By Piper Bayard & Jay Holmes

Firearms . . . Love them or hate them, they often turn up in our fiction. Sadly, they often turn up in fiction in fictional ways that leave readers throwing books against the wall. To keep that from happening to WITS readers, let’s take a look at the firearms that most often turn up in espionage and crime fiction—the revolver, the semi-automatic, and the automatic. When it comes to handguns, specifically, only revolvers and semiautomatics are usually used by intelligence professionals in the field, as the vast majority of automatic weapons are rifles.

Before we get to the differences in those types of handguns, though, we need to address the most common firearm misnomer of all time — the “clip” vs. the “magazine.” Time and again in fiction, shooters are reloading their “clips” into their “automatic” pistols, when they should be loading their “magazines”…

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Keeping a Writer’s Notebook – Do You? You should! – Part 4

Author Don Massenzio

This is the fourth post in my series on keeping a writers notebook. I can’t emphasize enough how important this tool is for cataloging and organizing ideas. I take most of my ideas for this tool from the book, The Writer’s Notebook by Ralph Fletcher. This book helps you organize your notebook and use the information you record for various purposes.

If you want to read Part 1Part 2 or Part 3 of this series, just click on the links.

Big Event Golden Yellow Ticket Special Admission AccessSentinel Events

Have you gone through a particularly happy or particularly painful experience. Although it may seem secondary, capturing and writing about the event while it is fresh in your mind will possibly help you with future writing, but it can also be therapeutic.

In particular, I have found it beneficial to take negative events in life and use them in stories where I can choose to rewrite…

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