Randy Ingermanson on “naked dialogue” ~ brilliant

Flocon D'été .... Summer Snow Flake

Flocon D’été …. Summer Snow Flake (Photo credit: gmayster01 on & off …)

This brilliant article is from the “Advanced Fiction Writing E-Zine” of Randy Ingermanson and guess what? He allows to post them so of course I follow his advice and post the blurb as well 🙂

This article is reprinted by permission of the author.

Award-winning novelist Randy Ingermanson, “the
Snowflake Guy,” publishes the free monthly Advanced
Fiction Writing E-zine, with more than 32,000 readers.
If you want to learn the craft and marketing of
fiction, AND make your writing more valuable to
editors, AND have FUN doing it, visit

Download your free Special Report on Tiger Marketing
and get a free 5-Day Course in How To Publish a Novel.


Craft: Naked Dialogue

“What’s naked dialogue?”

“It’s dialogue without any action, description,
interior monologue, or interior emotion.”

“Can you do that?”

“In short stretches.”

“Why would you do that? It sounds stupid.”

“If the main conflict is in the dialogue, then adding
anything else takes the edge off the conflict.”

“I don’t believe that could work. Give me three
examples where you’d use it.”

“Courtroom scenes. Interrogations. Um … can’t think of
a third example.”

“Maybe a Socratic dialogue?”

“Oh, right.”

“So you can actually make this work without even one tag
to tell me who’s talking?”

“If it works, it works.”

“What if it doesn’t work?”

“Then add in the minimum amount of other stuff
necessary to make it work.”

“I suppose you’d call that bikini dialogue then?”

“You’re stretching the metaphor too far.”

“And you somehow imagine this kind of dialogue works?”

“I know it.”

“Could you do a whole scene that way?”

Orson Scott Card did several scenes that way in

“How did the reader know who was talking?”

“Readers are smart.”

“Don’t be ridiculous. Don’t readers have to see at
least one tag so they know the names of the speakers?”

“Not unless they need to know the names.”

“But you’d have to limit it to two people, right? You
couldn’t possibly do this with three people, could you?”

“Hey guys! Whatcha talking about so violent-like over
in the corner? Gretchen, are you practicing your
interrogation skills on poor Grendel?”

“Get lost, Goober. I’m just trying to get the bare

“Whoa, whoa, whoa! I get the message. I’m not wanted,
so I’m outta here. Give her heck, Grendel.”

“So what was your question again? Something about three

“Never mind, I figured it out.”

“Any more questions?”

“Well, naked dialogue sounds difficult. Is it worth it?”

“You have to decide that after it’s all written. You
can always throw the scene away if you don’t like it.”

“Have you ever tried it? In your own scene?”

“Just once.”


“Just now.”

“Oh, man, are you going meta on me? Mixing planes of
existential reality again? You are so weird!”

“Admit it, Gretchen, you love me.”

“That’s it. We’re finished and I’m leaving.”

“It ain’t over till I say it’s over.”

“You can’t keep me here against my–”

“It’s over.”




no matter what…

On Tuesday I had a little Twitter conversation with @ElectricMidnite who was quite frustrated that his writing had not found a lot of readers yet.

And don’t we all know that feeling so well?

I do! When I started blogging no one was interested at all. Well, a few lovely friends have always had a look but it is not the same like having over 20 followers. Yes “over 20” was my first goal ;-). Still can’t believe that phoenixrisesagain has over 100 now. That makes me really happy.

What changed my “success”? Well, for one I read up on SEO which means search engine optimization. Well, still not good at it but I followed a few steps and it seemed to help. I also read up on “how to get more readers for your blog”. The main ideas are: add links to other blogs or pages to your entries, comment on other blogs, and give the readers the possibility to “spread the word” with buttons to post them on social networking. That and my “Thank you project” seemed to have done the trick. It is a question of good organisation though.

Of course we would love to spent all our time sitting on the beach writing our stories and poems but alas earning money with our writing is a business and therefore we have to tackle it like a business. Me myself and I have decided to stay an amateur writer being happy with my blogs and self-publish what I want to publish with Blurb. And taking part in competitions just for the fun of it really.

But I suppose you have to decide at one point how far you want to go with your writing and where you want to go with it. And then teach yourself or do courses. It is not easy to earn a living with writing because there is so much competition and the market is changing dramatically in the internet age.

But the internet is also our best “companion” in getting where we want to be as it offers us the information we need mostly for free. I have always followed my intuition and it usually lead me to where I needed to be at that stage. There are many more or less expensive courses out there nowadays and if you play around with keywords on google or the other search engines you will find what you need. Just get out and do it and do not forget to write. Write, write and write that is the only thing to get you going and get you better.

It has also helped me enormously to register that most famous writers had to do a lot of “day jobs” until they were able to get a living out of their writing. And I suppose most writers today do both. That took away an awful lot of pressure and I started to concentrate on what counted. The writing itself.

I collected some links to give you some ideas of how writers made ends meet and to motivate you not to give up:

Huffington Post

The Millions


The Guardian


@ElectricMidnite’s texts on Insanitysuperman’s Blog are quite raw and genuine. That is what makes them interesting. So please pay him a visit and raise his spirits with some feedback! Thank guys!




#amwriting myself into the mood for #NaNoWriMo

Another day is gone and I have not written a word.

I have no idea how much I am behind but I find that it is more demotivating to think about it. Rather just jump into it and write and quite often the words just flow and you can get on with it.

Today was a brilliant November day: Sunny, cold but not in a nasty way and it is our last day of your holiday. The children went back to their mother so we decided to go for a walk at the beach and have another meal at a lovely new restaurant close by. It was such a beautiful day. And I have to admit that this break has motivated me to go on with #NaNoWriMo this afternoon and evening.

That restaurant we have been uses only local produce. It also sells paintings, neclaces and other art of local artists. I just love the atmosphere in it and I thought this afternoon “This would be a great venue for a #NaNoWriMo write-in!”

I wondered if I could organise an un-official one this week but remembered on my days of have to stay in for some parcels we are expecting (yes Christmas is just around the corner just in case you forgot 😉 ). But I definitely keep that in mind as the write-ins around here are all in Norwich but not everyone has the time or means to get there. Well, I am not sure if the Art-Cafe is easier to reach but it might be worth a try but not this year anyway. And maybe this is just my Shadow-self trying to keep me from writing. It seems to be very creative that one ;-)!

You learn a lot about yourself doing the #NaNoWriMo. I realised today that I am at a point that I always get when I want to write something more than a poem or a blog~post: That bit when I hate the whole lot and think everything is just a big pile of ….. !

Well, of course that is the difficult second week of #NaNoWriMo but it  also shows where you struggle with writing in general. So challenging yourself to get through to the 50. 000 words might give you the chance to find a way to get through this in your general writing as well. I like that idea….

….. but it seems I start babbeling instead of getting down to writing my first draft of that novel that…….

…. I better get going now :-)!



My #NaNoWriMo in week two!

It has been and still is a rollercoaster ride.

The first few days I was totally behind due to family festivities. Then I caught up easily. And yesterday I lost it all. The motivation to write that is.  According to veterans of #NaNoWriMo it is due to the second week blues. The lovely Cheryl Fassett keeps me company as my writing buddy and it is good to get some private pep talk now and then. Thanks so much Cheryl :-)!

I like the pep talks the “officials” send us. As they come from different areas of expertise as well as different stages of being published they highlight different problems/solutions of #NaNoWriMo and give a good motivation to go on.

So what are my insights in #NaNoWriMo so far?

I have learned that it is good sometimes to have a bit of a break,  do something else and then catch up. After all in my present pace I would finish at the 5th of December and that is not too bad I suppose :-).

I have also learned that writing 2K per day is not so difficult if you do not have a day job or family to consider. As I have never worked with word counts I had no idea how much I can write in a certain amount of time. But it can be important to know that in the writing community.

And I have learned that I can use my mobile offline to write, so even when I work again next week, I will be able to get on with my story in my breaks. I had trouble before using the clout to save my drafts as the internet connection at work is appalling.


So what stops me now from getting on? My shadow self that tells me it’s not worth it, I can not do it and I am writing crap!

“Well Shadow Self I do love you! You do not need to attract attention with keeping me from writing. I have decided to go on any way so just get yourself a cookie and keep quiet!” 🙂

And I go and make myself a cup of coffee first……. 😉



I procrastinate ~ therefore I am!

McAfee Knob

McAfee Knob (Photo credit: jculverhouse)

I love writing!

My many blogs proof that I suppose.

It is another question if it is good writing.


I do not really care


I love it!


#NaNoWriMo is so far a good experience. Even though my characters have taken over my story and it rather goes into a who~dunn~it~love~ghost~story direction which probably will disgust any editor and publisher (sorry guys) and I am still about 300 words behind the daily average, it is good to just write and kick out the inner critic. It is really amazing how creative you can get if you just sit down and write.

Well, if that is!

So far I have had a nurses appointment, had breakfast and made and had lunch, helped the hubby to sort out McAfee who was attacked by hackers which gave our antivirus protection some trouble, took several Instagram pictures, cleaned the dishes, wrote a poem, send several tweets, am thinking about getting new boots, trainers and a jumper and am writing this blog entry. SIGH!

Why am I doing that?

So far it feels like someone else is writing my story. I just have to sit down and let my fingers rock and roll the keyboard. It’s not rocket science nor is it especially scary.

My theory?

I love to boycot myself! I love to whine and moan about being behind and not being able to do it. I love to punish myself for whatever I accuse myself of. Anything else? Well…….

But in the end I will feel unsatisfied if I do  not sit down and do it. Sit down and write 1667 words per day. That is what pushes me.

Maybe all those other things are just my “warming up”! Tweets make you write it short and to the point. Quite a good quality for novels. Seeking new boots and jumpers gives me an idea what my characters can wear. Instagram pictures can be used as wall decoration in my little old fashioned cottage. Of course my characters have to eat. Why not my sandwiches? And after all writing this blog entry lets it all out: All my thoughts, fears, ideas that keep me from writing.

Maybe in the end it is only a question of how to interprete what I am doing. If I see myself as procrastinating it just gets me down. If I use my procratinating for my novel it will all be good ~ somehow ;-)!



Oh dear……. #NaNoWriMo

Deutsch: Äolsharfenalmanach 1896

Deutsch: Äolsharfenalmanach 1896 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)




Day 3 of NaNoWriMo and I have managed to write 811 words!


My excuse?




No. We got married and my step mum who is like my mum had stayed with us for a week. I have not seen her for about two or three years and we had loads to catch up.


But being behind already had a discouraging effect: Again I can not really get into it.


This morning I woke up early and got up, made myself a cup of tea and caught up on everything writing wise. Besides NaNo I take part in a German project called #frapalymo. In May I introduced it in my poetry blog Phoenix’s poetry & stories and then I translated her prompts into English. As I take part in NaNo I won’t do this in November and I will only write the German versions of the prompt. Just to have a balance to NaNo.


So I wrote my first poem just before I started this blog entry.


Will I give up on my NaNoWriMo? No of course not. My stats showed me that I have to write 1775 words per day to keep up and I think I can do that.


Hope all of your writing efforts go a lot better than mine. Take care and keep writing!





Letting go

Since a few months I am part of the  WANA tribe (I have written about it before) and a group called “Writing to heal“. Someone there had the idea of having a writing prompt every now and then and in September I suggested to write about “letting go”.

It is autumn, the year draws to an end and we have to let go of sun and warmth and summer. But also a writers life is riddled with letting go of different things: Sometimes it is a dream, quite often it is scenes or not working story lines, sometimes it is a day job that has become too much, quite often….. You get the gist.

I think we live in a society where letting go on the one hand is quite easy as we have so many things that can be replaced quite easily. Our rubbish dumps speak volumes of that literally. On the other hand it is quite difficult as owning things and getting more is so important in this society.

I read KJ’s post on my prompt which is called “Simplicity and letting go” and it made me think a lot. Our lives are not simple any more: There are so many identities to be chosen from when we are young, so many jobs or professions we can have, so many partners we can choose, so many roles we have to combine, so many changes we have to adjust to.

Maybe both are the reasons why writers and the stories they tell have become more and more important: We can give ideas on how to life our lives and we can give ideas on when and what to let go.

The cycles of life which have been so easily recognisable by the seasons have become strange to many of us but also the seasons have changed so much due to climate change that they often can not guide us any more.

Maybe there is no sense at all anyway as Jean Paul Sartre and Albert Camus told us. Maybe we just have to hang in there and let go of that longing for sense and reason.

I don’t know really.

The only thing I know is “letting go” is as important in life both general and a writers life as “growing” and “being”. Maybe healing is only a question of balance of these three parts of life and maybe the only reason we write is to heal!

English: Panoramic photo of South East New Ter...

English: Panoramic photo of South East New Territories Landfill, combined from 3541065730, 3541068592 and 3540261227 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


I spoil myself…..


…. with this post!

“WHAT?!” I can see you think “What the heck is she writing about?!”

I am writing about the fact that I have planned my writing day today and I have reached my goals and well this post is my prize so to say. Just a post to enjoy and share what’s going on (besides all those medieval, celtic, pagan videos I am sharing on Twitter lol).

Well, I think it is important to get an award when you achieved what you wanted to achieve especially when your job is to write where you never really know what comes from it. Awards motivate you to go on when it gets tough and they can look differently. Yesterday it was reading the rest of Suzanne Colin’s “Mockingjay” which I really enjoyed. I think you can learn a lot from her Hunger Games Trilogy.

Today it is writing this post and tomorrow it might be a cup of coffee or a cookie. Who knows 🙂 (I try to stay creative with my awards (and I already had the cup of coffe today 😉 )).

What have  I learned today?

Research can confuse you more than clarify anything and it can lead you astray. (“What?! Again?!” I hear you shout now)

I was working on a character chart for my main character of my NaNoWriMo novel and needed an age. Now she is from Germany, had been abused and the question for me was: “Is the limitation period over or not?” Blimey difficult to find out even though German is my native tongue and I have studied social work so I know a little bit about German law (Nothing I want to dwell on it is sooooooooo boring).

Well I figured in her case the limitation period is just about to expire and therefore found her age. Brilliant. But that research needed ages and I was so keen on getting on with those character charts. It felt like a waste of time and it also confused me because more and more questions came up which not necessarily had anything to do with the story.

I got back on track though. My inner critic was raging but I told myself that it is necessary to get that age right. Changed the whole story a bit I have to admit but I suppose that might happen more often until its finished. That seems to be the nature of story writing which used to drive me mad and made me think I am such a failure and not able to write properly.

One part of my writing day is to read some of the blogs about writing. One of them today was the blog of the office of LETTERS AND LIGHT which was about the question if you plan or just get on with it (http://blog.lettersandlight.org/post/33164071079/pantser-planner-percolator).

Well, as you know I try my way through the planning (Snowflake Method) which is somehow against my nature. But when I just was writing along I used to lose the plot (literally 🙂 ) so I needed to try something else.

I like the idea and expression of “percolator” though. Isn’t that that Italian coffee maker you put on your hob and it heats up water and steam makes the coffee????? I have not idea why that might be a middle thing between planner and panster but in the end: “Who cares!”





Update on “me and the NaNoWriMo” ;-)


I can’t remember if I mentioned in this blog that at least three people told me in the last 4 weeks that I am not organised.


Now I believe in synchronicities and took this as a message from the universe that I have to have a look at my organisation of my writing. I realised that I am on a good way to be better organised but not there yet and whoosh another synchronicity:


Randy Ingermanson was writing in his newsletter about journalling your writing business which means to write down your goals and then write down which you have achieved and which need to be moved or changed. I have started this for my writing even though I am not sure yet if this shall lead me to a real business but well it helps anyway.


And what does this have to do with the National Novel Writing Month?


Well, when I decided to take part I also had to decide what I will do with my blogs: let them be paused or go on writing. Both did not seem right or possible. So I decided I take this month to write the entries for November and schedule them. This way I can fully concentrate on the NaNoWriMo but do not lose my blogs.


So far I am quite good. The diary really helps to stay focussed and I even achieved more goals than I have planned.


That is a really good feeling!


May your writing be creative this week and may you achieve whatever your goal is!


National Novel Writing Month Web Badge

National Novel Writing Month Web Badge (Photo credit: ajsundby)





What have I done?????!


Oh dear what have I done?

In a mood of “I really really want to write that novel now, soon ah I don’t know when and I had decided not to write any novels anyway….!” I signed up for the “National Novel Writing Month” which is all November every years since 1999. I had heard about it since autumn last year but as I had not idea about word counts or what mine might be I found the idea to write a first draft for a novel in one month pretty daunting.

This year I read about it again and suddenly felt I had nothing to lose just to have a look. And then I got hooked :-). Well, I know now that I can easily write 600 words in a day but 1666 every day for a month? Still daunting to be honest. But it also feels like a pretty cool challenge which is worth it.

The initiators of the #NaNoWriMo how it is abbreviated and used as a Twitter hashtag are a non-profit organisation called “The Office of Letters and Light”  which goal it is to help adults and kids reach their creative potential. Now if that is not a fine value :-)!

They organise many events one of which is the #NaNoWriMo. They offer and enormous amount of help with prep-talks, word count calculators, working with libraries and forums. What really took me in at last was the fact that they have a similar program for children and work with schools as well. What has started in the San Fransisco Bay Area with 21 writers just for fun has become a world-wide phenomenon with many novels written and even some published. (I just had a look ~ its actually quite a lot published 🙂 )

I like the whole idea and I like to finish at least one novel in my life even though I seem to have a change of mind quite constantly lately about the length of my preferred writing form. Well, who cares as long as I write lol.

No doubt I will wake up every morning until the 31. of November and ask myself “What have I done?!” but maybe you like to share my fate and join in as well????????