When I was in college, I met this guy at a party.  We talked for maybe two minutes because everything he said translated in my mind to, “Hi, I’m a jerk. You don’t want to know me. I am physically repelling you with my voice right now.”

It happens.

Anyway, in those two minutes, we ended up talking about writing styles.  Specifically, we talked about JK Rowling’s writing style.

I don’t remember how Harry Potter came up, but considering it’s me, it’s not very surprising.  I’ve mentioned how the Harry Potter books got me through some of the hardest parts of my life.

It was JK Rowling and her style that inspired me to begin writing my own stories.  Granted, back then it was just for fun.  I had absolutely no intention or inclination to consider becoming a writer full time, or even part time.  It was just something I did for me.  The guy that I met that night at the party, however, apparently had had it in his head for a while that he was destined to become the next Tolstoy or something.  Let me tell you, he had an ego on him the size of… well… Texas.  I was going to say Hogwarts, but Texas is way bigger than Hogwarts.

Anyway, the moment I mentioned Harry Potter, this guy goes all out, trashing JK Rowling and her horrible, juvenile, dialogue-based writing.  I was appalled.  For one thing, it was the first time I’d ever heard someone say anything even remotely negative about Queen Rowling.  For another, I love the way that JK Rowling writes!  It was so personable to me, so easy and fun to read, so truly and uniquely in her own voice.  I much prefer reading books with narrators who speak to their readers like old friends rather than narrators who are aloof and above it all, which that guy at the party definitely was.

It’s weird to think that a two-minute conversation I had with some jerk at a party would stay with me for eight years, but that conversation is wildly relevant to my life as a writer now, mostly because I want to be everything that he trashed that night.  I want to write like I’m friends with my readers.  I want them to read my stories and feel like it’s a real person telling them.  I want my characters to have lives personalities of their own and I want their dialogue to reflect it.

I love writing dialogue.  It’s my favorite thing to write.  I’m very mediocre when it comes to action and descriptions, but dialogue is my thing.  And you know, when it comes to writing, there is no right or wrong.  There is no such thing as too much dialogue or not enough dialogue.  It fully depends on the author’s intention for the story.  I’ve read and enjoyed books that are almost all dialogue and I’ve read and enjoyed books that have very little.  Not every book is meant to be written a certain way.  In fact, if they were, reading would be terribly, terribly boring.  I love that every author of every book I’ve ever read has their own style that makes them 100% unique.

As for me?  I know I tend to hover around the more dialogue-based narrative.  I love characters.  Even when I was little, I had four or five imaginary friends running around inside my head at once.  It’s really no wonder I became a writer.

That all being said, I hope you all have a fantastic Wednesday!  This week is going so slowly for me.  Is it for anyone else?  It’s probably because my sister is coming home this weekend and we’re going to see Ed Sheeran and I’m dying to see her.  I also have a very good friend taking some pretty intimidating exams at the end of the week and I keep wanting them to be over for him.  Hurry up, weekend!  We’re all ready for you!

He Exclaimed, She Exclaimed

I’ve always found it interesting how certain things stay with you. One moment, one word, can impact the rest of your life, but you wouldn’t know it at the time. Twenty years later, however, and you find yourself still constantly thinking back to that moment or word.

One of my moments goes all the way back to second grade. We were learning about writing, and our teacher told us, “When you write dialogue, think of other words to use besides ‘said.’ ‘Said’ is okay to use occasionally, but use other words like ‘exclaimed’ or ‘shouted’ or ‘yelped.'” That really stayed with me, even though at the time, I had no idea that I wanted to be a writer when I grew up.

Last night, I was working on the second chapter of the third Cemetery Tours novel, or as it shall henceforth be called, CT3, and I found myself thinking back to that day in second grade. I wonder, had I been absent that day, would I be a completely different writer? Would I be a ‘said’ abuser? I like to think I wouldn’t be. I hope I’ve read enough books and have enough common sense to realize, hey! Saying ‘said’ multiple times in one chapter is a drag! But you never know. There were a lot of things I didn’t figure out until I was too old to not know better. For example, throughout my entire childhood, I was fully convinced that diamonds and gemstones came out of the ground looking like they do in jewelry. For the record, I blame that one on Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.

I’m having a lot of fun writing CT3, as well as continuing to develop the first book in a new series. I’m also getting a lot of positive feedback on Between Worlds, which comes as a huge relief. Well, not relief exactly. I knew I really liked the book. I’m just glad that other people like it too! I was afraid people wouldn’t think it was as good as the first one. Maybe I’m not supposed to admit that to potential readers, but I figure since people seem to really like it, then I’m okay.

Talk to y’all later!