Tag Archives: Emotions

Blue Mountain Arts Biannual Poetry Card Contest

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Blue Mountain Arts is holding their thirty-first Biannual Poetry Card Contest.  The winner will be published on their website and there are monetary prizes!

  • 1st prize: $350
  • 2nd prize: $200
  • 3rd prize: $100

Here are a few of the guidelines:

  • Poems can be rhyming or non-rhyming.
  • Write about real emotions and feelings.
  • Poems should be original and unique.
  • English-language entries only.
  • Enter as often as you like!

You can mail your submission or use their online submission form. For complete rules and guidelines, go here. Entry deadline is December 31,2017. As always, good luck.

P.D. Pabst
Blogger and writer of MG/YA Fantasy.

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DIALOGUE TIPS

You’re writing dialogue between your characters and it goes something like this:

“Wait up Jack,” Elise said.
“I have to hurry or I’ll be late for work,” Jack responded.
“Work?” Elise questioned.
“Yeah, people do that you know.” Jack said.
“What happened?”
“Macorp closed it’s doors.” Jack muttered.

The problem is the reader doesn’t know what’s going on during the conversation. It kind of makes them go huh. They don’t know where the characters are, or why the dialogue is important. In order to help a reader engage you can use your senses to describe additional things. Put yourself in your characters shoes. Look around and describe what you see, hear, smell, or taste. Let us know how the characters feel about the situation. With that in mind, let’s rework that dialogue.

“Wait up Jack,” Elise said, slipping through two parked school buses and into the car lot. A gust of wind sent leaves drifting to the ground and carried the chatter from students rushing to their vehicles. Elise quickened her steps, uncertain if Jack had heard her.

“I have to hurry or I’ll be late for work,” Jack responded without looking back. Cursing, he fumbled the straps on his black moped to secure a satchel to the rear.

“Work?” Elise questioned, helping Jack strap his bag. Spasms drifted through her stomach knowing Jack wouldn’t be at rehearsals. The contest was in one week and she needed her pianist. Heck, he needed the money as bad as she did to help with college, or they’d both be stuck in this podunk town forever.

“Yeah, people do that you know.” Jack said, attempting to start his rust-bucket of a ride. Gas fumes filled the air and caused his nose to curl.

“What happened?” Elise demanded an answer. Just last week Jack had proclaimed his love for her and now he was giving up on both their dreams. She stomped her foot into the gravel, sending rocks rolling into his tire.

“Macorp closed it’s doors.” Jack muttered the name of his Dad’s ex-workplace, nostrils flaring. The moped coughed to a start and Jack eased out of the parking space.

Elise watched Jack drive away with her heart thumping in her throat. He didn’t have to say another word. She had seen the past due bill for his Dad’s mortgage sitting on his kitchen counter yesterday. A tear streamed out the corner of her eye, leaving salt across her lips as it continued down her chin.

Okay, so my examples were a quick ten minutes of my thoughts spewed out onto my blog. I know you can do better! But you understand how descriptions can make a difference to help readers know what is happening during your dialogue. Readers need to see what is happening and feel the emotions of the characters.

Good luck and happy writing!

P.D. Pabst
Writer and blogger of MG/YA fiction

SHOW DON’T TELL

If you’re a writer, you know I’m not talking about things your partner says to you in the bedroom. Pah-lease, don’t get me started on that! I’m talking about the ever important sentences explaining your character’s emotions. This lures the reader into the characters head feeling the moment with them, instead of being told how they feel.

Telling: Anna was excited about going outside after seeing the sun shine through the window.

Showing: The sun beamed through the window of the door, warming Anna’s face. Her eyes sparkled as she reached for the knob and unlocked the bolt in a rush. Darting outside, she spread her arms allowing the sun’s rays to bathe her.

Sometimes it’s hard to think of ways to describe emotion, especially without using clichés. (I know, I know.) Although some overused phrases will be tolerated, most readers yawn if they see them used over and over in your writing, so get creative. A friend, Natasha Neagle, told me about a wonderful book to help authors. It’s called THE EMOTION THESAURUS by Angela Ackerman. And because I was too daft to think about it myself, I needed another friend, Susan Roebuck, to tell me to visit Angela’s website because she offers a lot of freebie advise. Her site is called Writers Helping Writers.

Show all three of these wonderful authors some love and follow their websites, maybe even buy a book or two! (That was a shameless plug that none of them asked me for. But ladies, I’ll gladly except cheese as payment on future sales resulting from this post. Just sayin’)

Seriously though, following writers that share the knowledge of things that often took them months or years to learn is always worth a new authors time. Research and follow those that interest you, or those that write in the same genre and category as your stories.

P.D. Pabst
Blogger and writer of MG/YA Fiction