Author Archives: Erika Beebe

A Consequential Brainstorm #IWSG #amwriting

[I wrote this post as a member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our worries and also offer support and encouragement to each other on the first Wednesday of every month. If you’re a writer like me and you’re looking for a bit of support, you can click the link and sign up here]

This month’s awesome Co-Hosts feature other fabulous writing friends with me:

C. Lee McKenzie, Lisa Buie-Collard , Sadira Stone, and Patricia Josephine.  

Check out our IWSG homepage for recent news and events.  And as always, thank you to founder Alex J. Cavaugh 🙂 

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"The beginning of knowledge is the discovery of something we do not understand." Frank Herbert.

The weirdest google discovery I ever made was the existence of bizarre planets held in a tidal lock to their star. One side always faces their star and the other side is permanently without that light and heat. These planets look exactly like their names—Eyeball planets.

Twilight areas truly exist. Ice and perpetual night are at 180 degrees of the planet, darkening the backside of the eyeball appearance while clouds and vapor create light and white uncertainty like an eye.

And there are tons of them.

My favorite discovery is how some of the hotter planets may fade toward the center, some sort of midpoint area, cooling with the mix of night on the other side of the world, which, may resort in water through the midline. Water aids life. Could potential life exist in this mid ring? Scientists aren’t sure, but the idea of life on these strange planets is very intriguing.

And just to remind you, I’m no scientist, so this post is all my interpretation of the Youtube surfing I’ve done.

This month, the IWSG question of the month asked: “What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever googled in researching a story?”

I hope my answer was a little interesting to you too.

Other news?


My busy home and career life haven’t changed. I have little time to market or think outside of my writing, but I’m writing, a little each day. I’m also working with an exceptional writing coach.  I’ve slowed down my manuscript and am working with her, thrilled with our once a month correspondence. It’s been the most fantastic experience. I’m growing in ways I never imagined.

So what am I reading?

I just finished one of the best trilogies I’ve come across in a long time. A page turner series I couldn’t put down: The Chemical Trilogy by Lauren DeStefano. If you like YA and untraditional futuristic possibility, you’ll like this one.

So Happy IWSG Day everyone 🙂 Keep Dreaming. Keep Plotting. Just don’t stop because of the struggle 🙂

Write Always With Intention #AuthorToolboxBlogHop #amwriting

Author Toolbox Blog Hop

The Author Toolbox Blog Hop is “a monthly blog hop on the theme of resources/learning for authors: posts related to the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, blogging tips for authors, reviews of author-related products, anything that an author would find helpful.” Want to jump into the writing tool box? Search #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join via blog, click here.

Thank you Raimey!

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Years ago, when I first started sending my work out to publishers, I heard the term, “Show Don’t Tell” so frequently I got scared. I actually swung the opposite way and focused all efforts on action writing, showing feeling through physical efforts. As my editor points out, I now over act my scenes without necessary motivation. Too much showing without motivational cues can potentially cause a disconnect between the reader and the character. It’s an absence of human thinking, and the absence of motivation behind the action creates frustration. Why is this character doing what she is doing?

My editor calls the term character internalization. She told me to study it, and how it’s necessary to use it to show motivation behind action. It made sense. We do it in life. We feel something in response to an action, which makes us act.

So here I am, diving into the ins and outs of character internalization as Author Mary Kole describes it in her outstanding book Writing Irresistible Kidlit.

Character Internalization is, “access to a character’s thoughts, feelings and reactions … it reinforces character feelings or turning points in key moments.” (page 58)

When do we add it?

  • To make clear the purpose of action.
  • To summarize a major scene and give it emotional purpose. The formula is much like human nature. Act. Then give us the emotion reaction.

How is this different than telling?

Telling is not describing action or conveying emotional tone. In telling, fuzzy words are used to describe what we think is a clear emotion. The truth? Everyone reacts differently to anger, or sadness, or happiness, or stone cold apathy.

Examples of telling.

  • She got angry.
  • She’d just met the sweetest boy ever.
  • She was so happy about her grades.

Here’s the difference when you couple physical description with interiority:

Instead of she got angry, consider this:

Abigail pulled away from the wall. She couldn’t see straight, even her gaze shook with the nerves boiling up inside of her belly. Why couldn’t she go? Why couldn’t anyone ever tell her the truth to her face? She’d done everything her mom ever asked of her. Her mother promised. Her mother didn’t even have the courtesy to tell her no to her face.  

Instead of she’d just met the sweetest boy ever, consider this:

Abigail was so cold her teeth wouldn’t stop chattering. She could see her breath. She could see the snow salting through the new boy’s short black hair.

“You don’t have a coat?” He asked, and without an answer, he unzipped his jacket and lay it gently across her shoulders.

“If you won’t let me take you home,” He said softer, “then the least I can do is lend you my jacket.”

Abigail couldn’t speak, stumbling over the words she really wanted to say in her head. No boy had ever cared to help her like this before. She’d been the poor girl her whole life, with the drunk dad and the good for nothing older brother. Girls need a mother, the ladies whispered behind her back wherever she went. No, Tom was different. Tom didn’t look at her like she was trash and she didn’t belong.

Try the third one on your own:

Instead of she was so happy about her grades, what can you add to shake it up?

I’d love to hear it 🙂

Clearly Carve Your Dialogue #AuthorToolboxBlogHop #amwriting

Author Toolbox Blog Hop

The Author Toolbox Blog Hop is “a monthly blog hop on the theme of resources/learning for authors: posts related to the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, blogging tips for authors, reviews of author-related products, anything that an author would find helpful.” Want to jump into the writing tool box? Search #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join via blog, click here.

Thank you Raimey!

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Overwriting dialogue is a difficult balance for me. I’m an over explainer. It’s something I learned as a mom. So when my editor mentioned streamlining my lines and tightening up some of the descriptive elements in my last submission, I picked up a great resource called How to Write Dazzling Dialogue, by James Scott Bell.

Today, I’m sharing a few fast tips on the art of “Compression.”

1. Watch for extra words in the beginning of dialogue lines. When we talk, we like to say, “Well, Like, Yes, No.”

These extra “fluff” words can often be cut. Unless there is some giant reason for the way the character talks, like in the case of a particular profession, dialogue does flow more smoothly, and I hadn’t thought of this point until the book showed me it’s effectiveness.

Example:

I pace the wall along the bedroom and stop short of my boyfriend Edward.
“Why do you always answer a question with a question?” I ask. “It’s so irritating.”
“I do? I mean, I guess it helps me think.” He steps backwards into the doorway.
“Well, stop.” I say. “I hate it.”
“What do you suggest I do?”
“Really? All I want is for you to be honest.” I cross my arms. “I’m done here.”

Thinner Example:

I pace the wall along the bedroom and stop short of my boyfriend Edward. “Why do you answer a question with a question?” I ask.
“I guess it helps me think.”
“I hate it.”
“What do you suggest I do?” He asks.
“Be honest.” I cross my arms. “I’m done.”

An exercise to help: Take a current piece of dialogue and make a second version. Cut it to the bone. Read it. See which one shines

2. Description elements in dialogue determine the pace.

Scott mentions two ways to write dialogue, either with white space or descriptive element scattered in dialogue.

The reason to cut dialogue description is pace. If you need to speed up things, cut the description to add more white space. If you need to slow it down, add more of it.

Example:

I stand in the doorway staring at Dylan; my heart hammers a million miles an hour.
“You’re really here,” I say, stepping back until I meet the wall.
“Did you plan to forget me?” Dylan asks, brow lifted.
Heat hit my cheeks. “You did that for me, remember?”
He drops his chin, his gentle gaze locks with mine, “For what it’s worth, I’m sorry.”
I fidget with the hem on my dress. “I forgive you, but I won’t forget.”

The thinner version:

I stand in the doorway staring at Dylan; my heart hammers a million miles an hour as I say, “You’re really here.”
“Did you plan to forget me?”
“You did that for me, remember?”
He drops his chin, his gentle gaze locks with mine, “For what it’s worth, I’m sorry.”
“I forgive you, but I won’t forget.

As I read on, I came across this perfect line and my editor’s comments clicked, “Use dialogue like an orchestra leader’s baton. Slow down, speed up, make music,” (Page 88).

3. Proofread your dialogue for common punctuation mistakes.

One mistake I used to make, was capitalizing “He said” or “She said” after the dialogue. Yikes!

4. One major tip is where to put the attribution. Bell suggests to add it before or after the first complete phrase.

Example of what works:

Tonya said, “Keep your voice down. You don’t want to wake the baby.”

Or this:

“Keep your voice down,” Tonya said. “You don’t want to wake the baby.

Not this:

“Keep your voice down. You don’t want to wake the baby,” Tonya said. Action beats and dialogue attributes should both be used.

5. Action beats create the picture for the reader.

Too much of this creates hurdles in clarity. Bell suggests action beats work best when they enhance what the character is feeling and add to the scene.

Question: Any other fantastic dialogue tips? I’d love to hear them. Happy Hop Day 🙂

New Stories Stem from Old Stories #IWSG #amwriting

[I wrote this post as a member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our worries and also offer support and encouragement to each other on the first Wednesday of every month. If you’re a writer like me and you’re looking for a bit of support, you can click the link and sign up here]

This month’s awesome Co-Hosts feature fabulous writing friends Gwen Gardner, Doreen McGettigan, Tyrean Martinson, Chemist Ken, and Cathrina Constantine!

Check out our IWSG homepage for recent news and events.  And as always, thank you to founder Alex J. Cavaugh 🙂 

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Ever since high school, I swore I’d visit the Island of Crete before I died. I’m not sure if it’s the creativity in the birth of so many famous Greek Gods, or the mystery behind it’s destruction at one time, or even the beautiful turquoise waters splashing up against the rocks that entrance me, but I feel a giant tug to visit. I can only imagine the stories I’d craft, stemming from an older, historical world.

This month’s IWSG question asks: “If you could pick one place in the world to sit and write your next story, where would it be and why?”

In the trip inside my head, I’d chat with the locals wandering freely through the streets, listening, people watching, even sketching the sights that come to mind. I’d love to listen to the music, study the art, and walk across the famous locations of so much history. Plus, I studied architecture at one time. Art history, too. It’s like a textbook come to life mixed with little bits of imagination.

How about you? Where are you most creative? Do you envision yourself someplace else to write a book?

I’ll leave you with a Shel Silverstein poem:

“If you are a dreamer, come in,
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,
A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer…
If you’re a pretender, come sit by my fire
For we have some flax-golden tales to spin. 
Come in!
Come in!” 
― Shel Silverstein