Friday, July 18, 2014

Using Dialogue

This was one of the panels at the PSWA conference.

Moderator: Mike Black

Participants: Frank Hickey, Thonie Hevron, Ilene Schneider, Janet Greger, Barbara Hodges

Set the tone in dialogue

Eavesdrop to see how people talk

Try to put as much of the story into dialogue as possible.Give your characters tics and tells.

Use a light touch with dialects

Read the dialogue out loud

Must move the plot forward or reveal character

Leave out the mundane things we say.

(They talked about setting too, but I didn't take any notes on it. Have no idea why, possibly because someone was talking to me about something.)


P.S. There also was a panel on point-of-view which I've discussed several times on this blog.

Another topic was working with an editor and here's a few tips from that one:

Everyone needs an editor. 

Belong to a critique group and use a content editor.

An editor can make you a better writer.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Tips for Writing Your Novel

After earning degrees in sociology and law, Mark Bouton joined the FBI and nabbed killer, kidnappers, and bank robbers across America for 30 years. Now he writes mystery and suspense novels and is willing to share his expertise with fellow members of PSWA,

Here are a few of his tips about writing your novel.

Characters: Need to know more than the physical description, also important are their upbringing, needs and goals, education, habits, gestures, ticks, personality, how they dress, posture, and their moral character.

Begin you novel with conflict. Show tensions, action, disbelief, wonder, fear. Remember a plot may be man against nature, man against evil, and/or man against himself.

Grab the reader with fascinating sentence, idea, question, situation. Make the reader wonder what will happen next.

Dialogue is an excellent way to show character--and remember, the dialogue may include lies.

Scenes are the building blocks of the novel--followed by the sequel or reaction to the scene.

Voice is each writer's individual style of writing.

Setting should set the stage for the action.

Be sparing in minor character's description.

Narration used to give important information.

(Great tips, Mark. And of course there was much, much more.)

Marilyn aka F. M. Meredith

Monday, July 14, 2014

Sunday a.m. Wrap-up of the PSWA Conference

As usual, the day began with the Jeoprady contest.

The first panel was about Interrogation and Interview.

What's the difference? During an interview, the person being interviewed can leave, during an interrogation, the person can not.

Pete Klismet moderated and the panelists were George Cramer, John Schembra, Joe Haggerty, Frank Hickey and Dave Cropp. What a great bunch with vast experiene and knowledge which they are willing to share.

The last panel was about writing a series.  Marilyn Olsen asked some great questions as the moderator, and the panelist were Sharon Moore, Barbara Hodges, Ilene Schneider, Virgil Alexander and me. I thought we did a good job of answering the questions.

We had the final round of jeoprady followed by the last of the book sales--lots of books were purchased, by the way.

Next was our awards luncheon (and believe me, all the meals were great). Michelle Perin handed out the awards to the thrilled winners who were in attendance. The others will receive the news and their certificates later.

And now I'm looking forward to next year!


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Saturday at the PSWA Conference

We began with CSI Jeoprady--so fun.

Next came writing articles in today's competitive market--geared toward trade magazines (mainly those on the Net.) Participants were Doug Wyllie, Tim Dees, Kathy Ryan, Dave Freeland, Michelle Perin and Rayne E. Golay.

Weapons for Writers was about all different kinds of weapons law enforcement used in the past, and preferred weapons of today. One fun segement was when the panelists discussed mistake TV, movie and writers make. Participants were: John Schembra, Rich Wickliffe, Dave Freeland, Mark Bouton and Ron Corbin. Mike Black was the moderator and had a lot to offer too.

Dave Cropp gave an outstanding presentation on Working Narcotics Undercover.

We learned about the Medical Side of Wounds and Forensics. Thonie Hevron did a great job moderating the panel of experts: Gloria Casale, Steve Scarborough, Janet Greger, Sam Bradley, and Rayne E. Golay. This covered lots of topics from poisons to gun shot wounds.

The last panel of the day was about firefighting and arson investigation. Terrific information was imparted by Michelle Perin, Rich Wickliffe, Robert Haig, and Sam Bradley.

We ended the day with another round of CSI Jeopardy.

(Later blogs will go into more details about these topics.)

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Friday at PSWA

Anyone who follows me on Facebook has seen photos of the various events. 

Though I am no longer the program chair, I could hardly wait to get up to the conference center. After visiting with Madeline Gornell while waiting for our breakfast, and then having Joe Haggerty and Ilene Schneider join us for breakfast, the day started great. (I had crab cakes Benedict and they were wonderful.)

We are slightly down in numbers due to illnesses and other unexpected events, but it hasn't mattered--those who are here are learning lots and having a great time.

AJ Farrar is looking great and doing is job as Master of Ceremonies. Our Queen, Marilyn Olson, is wearing a couple of crowns as she's also representing Oak Tree Press. 

All through out the conference we'll be having rounds of CSI Jeopardy, with the first round beginning the day. Contestants are:  Pete Klisment, Joe Haggerty, ThonieHevron, Diane Krantz. And so far, it has been a hoot!

We've had panels tackling Point of View, Working with an editor, revision and editing yourself, Setting and Dialogue.

Mark Bouton, retired FBI, spoke on Plotting and Writing Your Book.

And, Michael Angley who is a retired USAF Colonel and career Special Agent with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. He filled us in on all the Defense Criminal Investigative Organizations.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Yesterday at PSWA

We were on the road by 5:15 a.m. Made our first stop at McDonald's in Bakersfield. Love the drive to Tehachapi, saw a long, long train just coming off the loop. That is so fascinating. I also love to see all the railroad tunnels through the mountains. Years ago passenger trains from L.A. came through those tunnels. As a little girl I used to go to Bakersfield that way, by myself, with a note hanging around my neck telling the conductor where I should get off. My grandparents lived in Bakersfield and grandpa worked for the railroad.

Nothing like digressing. We actually had quite a pleasant though long, long drive through the desert. Getting to the Orleans Hotel was a cinch. First people we saw were Nancy and A.J. Farrar. Then on our way to the conference center, Michelle Perin and her beau.

Like I said yesterday, waiting for people to come and greeting them is much like a family reunion. Met some new folks too--and have a bit of trouble remembering names. The food at the reception was great--tried to visit with everyone but I missed a few. 

Had to leave early, just too tired and sleepy. More later.


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Heading for my Favorite Writing Conference

My computer is in the shop as I'm writing this. A program I downloaded purported to be helpful and make my computer faster, turned out to be a virus. It really loused up my computer.

I do have Moby which backs-up my computer everyday. However, it seems that the programs themselves are corrupted. 

Because I'm a writer, of course I'm hoping all those manuscript files are safe. But I also have other things that I hope can be resurrected. 

Since I know you don't want to hear all my woes, you ask, how are you writing this post?

I'm using my trusty iPad. It does come in handy for several things.

On a happier note, today hubby and I are traveling across the desert to Las Vegas. No, we will not be gambling or seeing the sights, we're headed for the Orleans Hotel and the PSWA Conference.  

This year's conference will be a bit different because after being the program chair for many years, I turned the task over to Mike A. Black. This means I don't have to be in the conference area foyer to check people in. However, because I like to see who comes, greet my friends and meet those who I only knowfrom the Internet, I'll head upstairs as soon as we get settled in our room.

For those of you who don't know, PSWA stands for Public Safety Writers Association. It is a group for those who write about any of the public safety fields, including mystery writers. It's a great organization for mystery writers to become friends with experts in law enforcement and fire fighting.

I'll attempt to post everyday, and give you a taste of what's going on.

Tonight will be our get acquainted gathering. I can hardly wait.

Marilyn aka F.M.  Meredith