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James Geary.  Imagine that you are watching a play. It’s the middle of the first act and you are getting to know the characters and their problems. Suddenly,

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Presentation on theme: "James Geary.  Imagine that you are watching a play. It’s the middle of the first act and you are getting to know the characters and their problems. Suddenly,"— Presentation transcript:

1 James Geary

2  Imagine that you are watching a play. It’s the middle of the first act and you are getting to know the characters and their problems. Suddenly, the playwright runs out on stage and yells, “Do you see what’s happening? Do you see how her coldness is behind his infidelity? Have you noticed his lack of self-confidence? Do you get it?”

3  Of course, you get it. And so do YOUR readers.  Unnecessary supports around your dialogue will make the strongest dialogue LOOK weak.  Don’t explain your dialogue to your readers.

4  “You can’t be serious,” she said in astonishment.  “I find that difficult to accept,” she said in astonishment.  She dropped the cup, splattering coffee all over the floor. “You can’t be serious.”  “You’ve got to be kidding.”  “You pulling my chain, dude?”

5  Percy burst into the zookeeper’s office. Their callous mistreatment was killing the wombats and he wasn’t going to stand for it.  “Is something wrong, sir?” the zookeeper said.  “Don’t you realize that you’re killing those poor innocent creatures, your heartless fascist?” Percy yelled.

6  “I’m afraid it’s not going very well,” he said grimly.  “Keep scrubbing until you’re finished,” she said harshly.  “I don’t know. I can’t seem to work up the steam to do anything at all,” he said listlessly.

7 To tighten his own writing, Gabriel Garcia Marquez has eliminated adverbs, which in Spanish all have the ending –mente (-ly in English). A quote from an interview with Marquez: “Before Chronicle of a Death Foretold, there are many. In Chronicle, there is one. After that, in Love, there are none. In Spanish, the adverb –mente is a very easy solution. But when you want to use – mente and look for another form, the other form always works better.”

8  “Give it to me,” she demanded.  “Here it is,” he offered.  “Is it loaded?” she inquired.

9  “I hate to admit it,” he grimaced.  “Come closer,” she smiled.  “So, you’ve changed your mind,” he chuckled.

10  “I just don’t believe you’d say that, Chet.”  “Well, Hortense, I may have heard wrong, but –”  “Cut it out, Chet. Just cut it out.”

11  “I’d never thought of that before.” Roger walked over to the fridge and helped himself to a soda. “But I suppose a good coat of paint really would work just as well, wouldn’t it?”

12  “You aren’t seriously thinking about putting that trash in your body, are you?” said a voice from behind me, archly.  I put down a package of Twinkies and turned around. It was Fred McDermot, a passing acquaintance from work. “Pardon me?” I said.  “I said, you aren’t going to put that stuff in your body, are you?” he repeated.  “Fred, I fail to see how it’s any of your business,” I chuckled.  “Paul, I’m just interested in your welfare, that’s all,” he replied. “Do you know what they put in those things?”  “No, Fred.”  “Neither do I, Paul. That’s the point.”

13  “You aren’t seriously thinking about putting that trash in your body, are you?”  I put down a package of Twinkies and turned around. It was Fred McDermot, a passing acquaintance from work.  “Pardon me?” I said.  “You heard me.”  I chuckled. “Fred, I can’t for the life of me see why this is any of your business.”  “I’m just thinking of you, that’s all,” he said. “Do you know what they put in those things?”  “No.”  “Neither do. That’s the point.”

14  From Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry:  “Want some buttermilk?” July asked, going to the crock.  “No, sir.’ Joe said. He hated buttermilk, but July loved it so he always asked anyway.  “You ask him that every night,” Elmira said from the edge of the loft. It irritated her that July came home and did exactly the same things day after day.

15  I never thought I’d see the day when I was thankful for the oak.  I certainly wasn’t thankful this last autumn when I stood with my rake in the middle of the scraggly patches of grass that pass for the front yard and cursed the leaves that, I swear, multiply on their way to the ground. And come autumn, I’ll probably stand and curse the tree again.  But for now, when it seems the dog days of the summer have come to stay forever, the tree is a positive comfort.

16  In small South Carolina towns, most houses are built in the shadow of tall trees. Each autumn, the children charged with yard care curse the leaves that seem to multiply on their way to the ground. But in mid-afternoon during the dog days of August, when the blazing sun takes possession of the streets and bakes anyone who dares to challenge it, entire families find solace in the shade of those same trees.

17  Coral Blake mopped the sweat out of her eyes and looked up at the dusty underside of the oak. The dog days of August had come to stay, it seemed, and like most of the rest of Greeleyville, South Carolina, she sought refuge from the sun on her front porch under the oak.  Her children hated that tree. Every fall she’d chase them out to the scraggly front yard with a rake, and every fall she’d watch them curse the leaves that seemed to multiply as they fell. But now, with her head leaning back against the cool trunk, the tree seemed like a blessing.

18  1.It was winter of the year A large man stepped out of a doorway.  2.Henry J. Warburton had never much cared for snowstorms.  3.Henry hated snowstorms.  4.God how he hated these damn snowstorms.  5.Snow. Under your collar, down inside your shoes, freezing and plugging up your miserable soul.

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20  Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell:  Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were. In her face were too sharply blended the delicate features of her mother, a Coast aristocrat of French descent, and the heavy ones of her florid Irish father. But it was an arresting face, pointed of chin, square of jaw. Her eyes were pale green without a touch of hazel, starred with bristly black lashes and slightly tilted at the ends…

21  Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison:  Solid, rumbling, likely to erupt without notice, Macon kept each member of his family awkward with fear. His hatred of his wife glittered and sparkled in every word he spoke to her. The disappointment he felt in his daughters sifted down on them like ash, dulling their buttery complexions and choking the lilt out of what should have been girlish voices. Under the frozen heat of his glance they tripped over door sills and dropped the salt cellar into the yolks of their poached eggs.

22  Friday’s Child by Georgette Heyer:  The Viscount looked her over. She was a very young lady, and she did not at this moment appear to advantage. The round gown she wore was of an unbecoming shade of pink, and had palpably come to her at secondhand, since it seemed to have been made originally for a larger lady. In her hand she held a crumpled and damp handkerchief. There were tear stains on her cheeks, and her wide grey eyes were reddened and a little blurred.

23  “A Good Man is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Connor:  (the wife of a diner owner, Red Sammy, speaks first)  “It isn’t a soul in this green world of God’s that you can trust,” she said. “And I don’t count nobody out of that, not nobody,” she repeated, looking at Red Sammy.  “Did you hear about that criminal, The Misfit, that’s escaped?” asked the grandmother.  “I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if he didn’t attract this place right here,” said the woman. “If he hears about it being here, I wouldn’t be none surprised to see him. If he hears it’s two cent in the cash register, I wouldn’t be a tall surprised if he…”  “That’ll do,” Red Sam said.

24  Naming your story Naming your story  Titles Titles  Finding the perfect title Finding the perfect title

25  TRUTH IN FICTION TRUTH IN FICTION  OVERUSED WORDS OVERUSED WORDS  DIALOGUE AND CHARACTERS DIALOGUE AND CHARACTERS  SHORT STORY SHORT STORY


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