Posts Tagged ‘dialogue’

April 25, 2015

Writing Coach Teresa asks: “How do you hook your reader at the middle of your book?”

Writing Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan here . . . recording notes . . .  energized from co-teaching with Mary E. Knippel today – Day 2 of “For Theme’s Sake: Edit Your Own Manuscript Before Pitching or Self-Publishing”.

Our students / hardworking authors supplied plenty of inspiration for their own protagonists as well as for fellow-classmates.

Today we focused on the middle of everyone’s manuscripts. Why the middle?

Before I take on the role of the writer, I put on my reader’s hat.  For me, reading a book is like going for a hike on a trail that I’ve never been on before.  By looking at the signs at the trailhead, I know how long I would have to walk in order to get to the end . . .  just as I know how many hours it would take to read a book by seeing the page count.

That hike I’ve started – the sign posts on the first half of the trail are clear and helpful. I know that if I follow the arrows, I will reach the end, and feel great as I always do after a “good” long walk.

I’ve started reading a book. The author hooks me from page one – sometimes that hook is the narrator’s voice/language, other times it’s the subject matter (a topic that I do relate to or one that I would like to know more about).  By page 5 (oftentimes, even sooner) I know what the main character/protagonist wants or needs, and, I want to see what’s going to happen next. So I turn the page.  I am in the story world.

The author had planted “sign posts” to guide me. Those sign posts are called “themes”.

By the middle of the book, that core theme/sign post better be there.  If the story has stopped hooking me, I will put the book down and probably not open it again.  (On my hike, if at midpoint the trail seems to have disappeared, the marker has fallen off its post, and I’m all alone  . . .  do I continue on? By the way, I am not interested in getting lost today. My dinner awaits me at home.)

Such is the task for an author – how to guide the reader with that core theme, scene after scene.

To the dear authors in our class,

That big sheet of paper that Mary gave you today?  Tape the class handouts from Day 1 and Day 2 onto that sheet. Look at those aids every time you meet with your protagonist.  And, ask your protagonist these questions:   “Where are you today on your Hero’s Journey?”  “What do you want ? … in this scene.”

Speaking of “scene” –

Writing Coach Teresa says: “A scene is a compilation of paragraphs that creates a “movie” in the Reader’s mind.  Which means:  action, dialogue, sensory details, and authentic details.

A sequence of scenes guides the Reader in your Story World, and, is a vehicle to show the Hero’s/Protagonist’s transformation.  Go into scene whenever you want to show us what your protagonist is made of.

In real life, if someone says “I’ve changed. Take my word for it.”  . . .  wouldn’t you be thinking . . .  Hmm….    I’ll believe it when I see it.  Instead of telling us how your protagonist has grown, show us through scene, not through summaries.

Summary cannot spark the same emotional responses as a scene would . . . because summary either recaps what has happened or jumps over time in order to get to the next scene.

I recommend:

* Martha Engber’s book on how to write scenes
* Christopher Vogler’s book The Writer’s Journey (about Hero’s Journey and Archetypes)
* all books by Martha Alderson on plotting
* your rereading your favorite book and studying that author’s techniques

The fabulous authors in our class have mighty themes:

* make my own decisions and change my circumstances (author of YA science fiction)

* move on with my life in spite of unanswered questions and a broken heart (author of women’s fiction)

* speaking my truth transforms shame into courage and forgiveness (author of memoir)

* embracing my past and loving myself feed my spirit as well as my marriage’s spirit (Diana Lynn, author of women’s fiction)

Their readers will surely stick by their protagonists and be there at the end of the book.

Cheering for YOU!

Sincerely,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan

on behalf of

“For Theme’s Sake” teachers Teresa LeYung-Ryan & Mary E. Knippel

May 2, 2015 Teresa LeYung-Ryan ( Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days – workbook; Love Made of Heart: a Daughter, a Mother, a Journey Through Mental Illness – novel) celebrates Independent Bookstore Day / California Bookstore Day  with other local authors at Laurel Book Store, Oakland, CA  http://WritingCoachTeresa.com  and http://www.laurelbookstore.com

Saturday June 6
Teresa LeYung-Ryan (Fanbase-Building Coach and “Immigrant Experience Writing Contest” sponsor) joins California Writers Club colleagues for Writing Contest Awards Ceremony and Writers Helping Writers Through Mentoring;

June 13, 2015  for Authors Day

June 6 and June 13, 2015  at Literary Stage, Fine Arts Galleria, San Mateo County Fair (Cheers to Bardi Rosman Koodrin, Boris Koodrin, Laurel Anne Hill, David Hirzel, Margie Yee Webb, Wini McCaffrey, et al)  http://WritingCoachTeresa.com http://cwc-peninsula.org/fair.html


 

 

 

 

Coach Teresa, what happened on Feb. 16, 2012 at San Francisco Writers Conference?

Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan here . . . this is what happened from my point of view. Tell me and my colleagues your point of view by submitting comments to this blog post.  How? Click on the blue title bar of this post, scroll down to get the boxes, fill in boxes and click on “submit comment” button.

I took BART into The City and then MUNI #1 to meet co-presenter & colleague Mary E. Knippel.  At 6:00pm we were to deliver BE YOUR OWN EDITOR at the San Francisco Writers Conference at the Mark Hopkins Hotel at top of Nob Hill.

Authentic details for writers who want to get to the top of Nob Hill: If you off-board BART at Embarcadero station, come up to street level that is closest to Drumm Street. Walk northward on Drumm, then westward on Sacramento Street (a one-way street). At Sacramento St. (near Davis St.), you’d catch the MUNI #1 bus that travels westward on Sacramento Street. $2 fare (driver gives  y0u a transfer that’s good for 4 hours).

The ride is about 10 blocks or .7 mile (through Financial District and Chinatown, and up the hills).  If you’re concerned about not knowing how to push the bell or pull the cord to request your stop, ask the bus driver or fellow passengers to look out for you. Off-board at Mason; walk a block southward on Mason to get to California St. (California St. is parallel to Sacramento St.).  Wait for signals to cross the street.  There you are–at the International Mark Hopkins.

As soon as you step onto the bricked courtyard, courteous hotel employees will greet you.

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Linda Lee and Jane Glendinning among the first to arrive to help make SFWC THE writers conference

 

Story Consultant and Writers' Platform-Building Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan happy to present at SFWC again

presenters Mary E Knippel & Linda Lee solve mystery over their luggage at Mark Hopkins

 

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I saw Laurie McLean, Barbara Santos & Richard Santos, Nina Amir, Neal Sofman, dear mentors Michael Larsen & Elizabeth Pomada, Stephanie Chandler and other colleagues.  Our session was to begin at 6:00pm.  Among the writers who attended our session “Be Your Own Editor” were memoirist Jing Li,  journalist and novelist Don Hudson and Margie Yee Webb (author of Cat Mulan’s Mindful Musings)!

Thank you, Patrick, for setting up the microphone–the room was long–without the microphone, the writers sitting in the back would have had difficulty hearing us.

Thank you to each writer in the room!  Here’s an offer to you if you were in our session on Feb. 16, 2012 –  I’ll be happy to read and give feedback to the first 2 pages (double spaced; pages numbered; manuscript title and your full name in the header) of your manuscript.  Email me: your full name; your project’s genre; list of your themes.  Then I’ll let you know when would be the best time to email me your first 2 pages. I’ll arrange my schedule so that I can focus on one writer a day.  My email address is at gmail.com  My User Name is:  WritingCoachTeresa


Session hand-out for Mary E. Knippel & Teresa LeYung-Ryan’s presentation BE YOUR OWN EDITOR

 

 

Mary E. Knippel & Teresa LeYung-Ryan
Being Your Own Editor
Ensure Your Manuscript 100% Ready For the Next Step
•    hire a book doctor/developmental editor OR
•     pitch to agents or acquisition editors OR
•     be  your own publisher

fiction / narrative nonfiction / prescriptive nonfiction (“how-to” books)

YOUR NAME: ______________________________ Your Project: ________________________________

Tool #1   Grounding Reader with the three Ws (Who? When? Where?)
Tool #2   Hooking Reader from first page to last with core theme and “What does Protagonist want?” (in prescriptive nonfiction “What does Reader need?”)
Tool #3     In Fiction & Narrative Nonfiction (both genres are forms of  “story-telling”) Who are your protagonist, antagonist, and other archetypes?
Tool #4    In Fiction & Narrative Nonfiction (front story / back story)
Tool #5    Foreshadows  Metaphors   Recurring Images
Tool #6    Authentic Details
Tool #7   Monologue   Dialogue   Vernacular
Tool #8   Misspelled words; misplaced modifiers; other frights

and 15 minutes for Questions & Answers

Thank you, dear mentors Michael Larsen & Elizabeth Pomada, for inviting Mary and me to deliver our signature presentation “Be Your Own Editor”!

Thank you, dear Birgit Soyka author of To Drink the Wild Air, for bringing your camera tripod!

Thank you, dear Margie Yee Webb, author of Cat Mulan’s Mindful Musings: Insight and Inspiration for a Wonderful Life, for introducing Mary and me, for taking photos, for having written the purr-fect gift book and letting me show in our session how every page of a prescriptive nonfiction book ought to contain inspiration, wisdom or a metaphor.

Thank you, Camille Thompson, columnist at SanRamonPatch.com, for your gracious help, making our session an enjoyable one.

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Margie Yee Webb (author of Cat Mulan's Mindful Musings) cheers for story consultants Teresa LeYung-Ryan & Mary E. Knippel in their session BE YOUR OWN EDITOR

Camille Thompson greets conference registrants and presenters Mary E Knippel and Teresa LeYung-Ryan BE YOUR OWN EDITOR session for SFWC

 

 

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authors & story consultants Mary E. Knippel & Teresa LeYung-Ryan use classics to draw examples for BE YOUR OWN EDITOR at SFWC--photo by author Margie Yee Webb

authors & story consultants Mary E. Knippel & Teresa LeYung-Ryan give 8 tools at BE YOUR OWN EDITOR packed house session SFWC–photo by author Margie Yee Webb

 

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authors & story consultants Mary E Knippel & Teresa LeYung-Ryan attract writers at BE YOUR OWN EDITOR packed house session SFWC-photo by author Margie Yee Webb

 

 

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testimonials from Mary E Knippel & Teresa LeYung-Ryan's BE YOUR OWN EDITOR session

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan says: "Wearing your 2 hats as a writer---to polish your manuscript and to build your platform---can be as fun as riding a San Francisco cable car."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Across the street at the Fairmont Hotel –  LEARNING & the BRAIN Conference–Connecting Educators to Neuroscientists and Researchers

Vehicular traffic was blocked off in the area because President Obama was to speak at the Masonic Auditorium that evening!

Coach Teresa here took the cable car to go home and pack for Day II of San Francisco Writers Conference.  Please see next post.

Sincerely

Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan

“Reach out, not stress out, to materialize your dearest dreams!”

http://writingcoachteresa.com
author of Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days: Attract Agents, Editors, Publishers, Readers, and Media Attention NOW

As editor/story consultant, Coach Teresa helps her clients polish their manuscripts by identifying themes and archetypes.

Her novel Love Made of Heart is used in college composition classes. Thank you, Teachers & Students!


 

My talented client Jodi had a concern about her protagonist’s voice.  Jodi asked: “Young voice has a strong dialect. Does adult outgrow that?”

Coach Teresa, how much vernacular / dialect is appropriate in a manuscript?

Manuscript Consultant/Coach Teresa here . . .
“Letting readers hear each character’s distinctive style of speech is writing with authentic details. Sprinkling (not pouring) vernacular grounds us/helps answer the question ‘where are we?’ You do have to be clever and write dialogue in such a way so that we can decipher what is said.

“Show character “adjusting” dialect or accent when she/he enters a new world (examples:  going to college; moving to another part of the country; or in the case of the pal I just visited… an Australian who worked in California and having to adjust her speech, even though Australians speak English, because her boss complained ‘I can’t understand you.’)  Good tension in story-telling.”

I love helping writers polish their manuscripts by identifying their themes and archetypes and build their platforms and fanbases by making their names synonymous with the themes/subject matters/issues they write about.

Reach out, not stress out, when pursuing your dreams!

Cheers!

Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan

Please visit my website http://writingcoachteresa.com

If you wish to email me, I’m writingcoachTeresa at gmail.com

Author of Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days: Attract Agents, Editors, Publishers, Readers, and Media Attention NOW (print edition & eBook edition)
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Author of the novel Love Made of Heart (inspires adult children of mentally ill parents to speak openly about the stigmas and find resources for their families)

This blog post is to encourage my clients and all the writers who are on their umpteenth rewrites.

When you’re writing a novel, a memoir, or any lengthy story, keeping track of the elements (plotlines, character arcs, archetypes, themes, hooks, foreshadows, metaphors, dialogue, front story, back story, internal monologue, exposition, irony) becomes a monumental task.

My analogy:  The elements in your story make up the pieces of a ten-thousand-piece puzzle.  Revising a piece of the puzzle could mean adjusting all the other pieces, especially when you’ve been rewriting and rewriting. Has your overall puzzle become a fuzzy picture?

Here’s my advice: Work in sections. Start with the first quarter of your story. Print your pages and read them out loud, chapter by chapter.  As you read, take notes; use color coding to track each element.  Example:  you might use yellow highlight to track your “hooks.”  Whatever method you choose to track, ask yourself these questions:  What’s my intent to introduce this hook?  Am I going to keep the reader engaged by re-baiting this hook in successive chapters?  At what point will I satisfy the reader by releasing the hook (delivering the “aha” moment)?

Happy rewriting and tracking!

I salute you!

Coach Teresa LeYung Ryan

author / manuscript consultant / writing career coach

author of Love Made of Heart (the story that inspires adult-children of mentally-ill parents to speak openly about the stigmas and to gain resources for their families)

author of Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days: Attract Agents, Editors, Publishers, Readers, and Media Attention NOW

http://writingcoachteresa.com

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