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Don’t Do This (when writing for kids)
Who are you writing for? Are you reaching your target?

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What’d Ya Say?

April 21, 2021-We only have about a week left as we continue this month’s theme of pushing the envelope in your writing and our series wouldn’t be complete without touching on dialogue. Dialogue is one of the most important driving forces in your writing and there’s nothing that kills a story more than bad dialogue. Dialogue (talking between characters) can make or break your story (especially for publishers) for your audience. We know that characters have to speak how people do in real life (except while writing fantasy, there can be some slack given here especially if the characters have their own language that they use sparingly throughout) and most writers make the mistake of being too formal, boxy, or choppy when writing dialogue. Here are three ways that you can push the envelope in your writing through character dialogue.

  • You can use expletives. I’m not talking about being gratuitous with swear words, I’m talking about having your character use them if the situation calls for it. How would you act in a certain situation? Would you utter a curse word under your breath when you see you’ve got a flat tire and are already having a bad day? Would you mutter a swear when your idiot boss walks away from your desk after you’ve just received a bad work review? Use expletives where needed and be sure that they fit in the genre that you’re writing in.
  • Get familiar. If your book is set in the Australian outback your characters will speak differently than if they were from New York. An excellent example of this contrast is the movie Crocodile Dundee. Mitch speaks a specific way native to where he’s from; mate means friend, crikey means holy s*it, brekkie means breakfast, and the list goes on. Be careful not to overuse slang (especially slang that is trendy and new) because it will age your book. Write your characters to speak in such a way that you feel as though you were having a conversation with them in real life. WRITE HOW PEOPLE TALK! And be sure to do your research on places that are foreign to you, if you’re writing this way, so that you get it right and don’t lose any credibility with your readers.
  • Throw in another language. Let’s say that you’re writing a novel set in Moscow that has a British character and a Russian character working together to foil a museum robbery; use words in Russian intermixed with English to make your dialogue more believable. For example, my grandmother was Dutch, and she used to speak to us in English and Dutch intermixed, often within the same sentence. This is a normal thing for most people who immigrate to a different country or when speaking with people who are non-native tongues of the place where the story is set. Sprinkle in foreign words that fit in the situation that you’re writing about. Don’t overdo this because you don’t want your reader to have to stop and translate what you’ve written and lose momentum in the story.

I hope that you’ll continue to push the envelope in your writing by changing up the dialogue between your characters! Make it real and make it believable.


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Strive, Study, Try and Test

April 20, 2021-Sometimes we all need a push to get us to take risks. During April, we’re talking about how to push the envelope in your writing and today’s post takes that a bit further. Let’s talk about pushing the envelope by committing to yourself and your writing. Here are some great ways to take your writing to the next level:

  • Strive to learn new things. When is the last time you’ve taken a class, workshop, or writing seminar? What have you learned recently that will improve your writing? If you haven’t learned anything new, how can you expect to write differently or get a different result in your submissions? I’m a huge advocate for continuing education and learning as much as possible. But you have to put what you learn into action to have any result!
  • Study different methods. How can you possibly push the envelope in your writing if you don’t study different storytelling methods? There are so many ways to change the narrative, a ton of ways to outline, hundreds of different ways to push your characters to the max, and infinite ways to improve your writing. If you’re not learning new ways of writing and the elements that writing includes, you will be stuck until you change something.
  • Try out radical ideas. Remember when choose your own adventure novels were unheard of? Or collaborating with other authors on a series just wasn’t done? What about alternate endings? You owe it to yourself to test new ideas and see what develops. Who cares if it doesn’t work? At least you’re expanding the possibilities and trying new things.
  • Test the boundaries of what is safe or acceptable in any given situation. Have you heard of this book? Marian Engel’s 1976 novel Bear, which tells the story of a relationship between a woman and her bear (yes, the animal) lover, has been called one of the most controversial books in Canadian literary history. Yeah, pretty weird, but it pushed the envelope and is now infamous for its departure from the norm.

Don’t be afraid to push yourself in your writing; you never know where it can lead! To continue your education with us, check out some of our classes and workshops here: Best-Seller Bootcamp – Pandamonium Publishing House, Children’s Book Writing Master Class – Pandamonium Publishing House, Transitioning from Writer to Author (An Introductory Course) – Pandamonium Publishing House, Course: Get Your Book Noticed and Increase Your Sales – Pandamonium Publishing House, Novel Writing Course – Pandamonium Publishing House

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Motivating Motivators

April 19, 2021– We want to continue to help you push the envelope in your writing by introducing new character motivations. We all know about basic character motivations that include survival, fear, and peer pressure, but what else can motivate our characters? Let’s look at some additional motivators that will push the envelope in your writing.

Noble Motivation: Love, loyalty, vengeance. The most interesting motivation in this group is vengeance. Vengeance is defined as punishment inflicted or retribution exacted for an injury or wrong. Think Batman, John Wick, Law Abiding Citizen, and Joker. By making your character’s main motivation vengeance, you’ll have an exciting thriller or mystery novel. Obsessed with Her is a great example of vengeance as the motivation, check it out here: Obsessed with Her: Colling, L. L.: Books For kid’s books, love and loyalty work well.

Evil Motivation: Greed, revenge, lust. Lust is a good one because it’s not used as much as greed and revenge in the way of motivation in novels; it’s defined as an intense desire for an object. Lust is a whole different ball game and can be written in so many ways! Characters don’t have to lust over people; they can lust for power, money, or drugs. Make it interesting and paint your character into a corner by making their lust unreachable. Your character shouldn’t always get what they want.

Fear Motivation: Death, humiliation, pain. Humiliation is the least used fear motivation in most books. I think it’s a fascinating way to push the envelope in your writing! Humiliation is the same as shame and this can be an excellent way to develop and write your characters. What are they most ashamed of? Poverty? Illiteracy? Skeletons in their closet? The possibilities are endless!

It’s important to explore many different motivations for your characters so that you can pick which one suits them best for the situation and don’t forget to combine them to push the envelope in your writing to the edge! Remember that the driving force for your character’s actions is their motivation.