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To Speak or Not to Speak by Mollie Blake #Giveaway

We invited author Mollie Blake and she is sharing with us about her writing techniques. She also has news of giveaways of signed copies of her book! 

Mollie Blake is a published author of contemporary romance. A lover of reading sexy stories, Mollie decided to go one step further and write her own. Her romances are filled with danger and peppered with hot sexy scenes. She is a member of International Thriller Writers and UK Romantic Novelists Association.

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To speak or not to speak

I thought I was an “okay” writer. With a former career as a finance director I had no grounds to think that. I hadn’t studied English language for far more years than I care to remember and I had never done any creative writing before. But I had a story in me and the desire to put it in writing.
Since those early days, I have learned a lot. Firstly, having gained a contract with American publisher, Black Opal Books, my editor, Faith, gave me some great tips to both correct and improve my writing. Secondly I have read some useful guides to writing fiction, and thirdly I have started to attend seminars on various aspects of being an author.
I want to share some of what I have learned, especially with anyone who starts out like I did—desperate to write a story but possibly lacking in some of the crafts needed by an author. To authors with a background in writing of any sort, I’m sure this will be basic bread and butter stuff. But I see the mistakes I was making in other books I read. So I’m glad it’s not just me, and for those of you who recognise my errors, take comfort in the fact that you’re not the only ones. We can all improve, and we all have to start somewhere.
I’m going to tell you what I’ve learned about speech. To start with one of my classic examples:
“I like that,” she grinned.
Well. I use an electronic dictionary/thesaurus a lot, but I never looked up the definition of speech. If I had, this is what I would have read:
“the expression of or the ability to express thoughts and feelings by articulate sounds”
I would have noted the word “articulate” and realised you cannot articulate a grin. It is not a sound. You cannot grin words. It’s obvious, I know, but when writing your manuscript, words flow seemingly smoothly, and it is all too easy to overlook even the basic grammar sometimes. Without the skills I have learned through the editing process, this wasn’t an error I was looking for.
In helping me with my first book, The Secret At Arnford Hall, not only did my editor point out my errors, Faith also showed me how to correct them. In my simple example it’s all about punctuation. So this is how I should have written it:
“I like that.” She grinned.
Or is it?
Faith also went on to explain the difference between dialogue and action tags. For example, “said” is a dialogue tag and “grinned” is an action tag. Obvious? Yes, I know. Apparently I had some vey nice action tags, but they were being weakened by incorrect positioning and grammar.
In my example I have an action tag. This leads to another point to consider. Does she grin before she speaks or after? A good rule of thumb is that, generally, action tags go before speech. Hence:
She grinned. “I like that.”
And already the writing is improved. I can almost see my heroine speaking whilst still smiling.
Here’s another example. This time I wanted the action tag after the dialogue:
“Take a seat. We need to talk.”
“Yes. We do.” Lauren sat down and crossed her legs.

When the edits on my second book, Guiltless, came back, I was pleased when Faith said there were fewer changes to my original script. But the learning continues. And as it does, I have to confess to being more than a little critical when I read books by some other authors!

Guiltless- A Cheshire Love Story


Managing Director of her own successful fashion house, Lauren Chandler should have everything going for her. But at twenty-nine, she finds herself single again, and bored. Seeking a new challenge in her life, under the guise of saving her company money, Lauren embarks on a mission to model their latest range of lingerie herself. She just needs a photographer. When Byron Lord makes an unusual proposal, Lauren is adamant he won’t win the contract.

Co-owner of Broadway Studios, Byron Lord is determined to provide job security to his off-beat workforce, and he needs Lauren Chandler’s help to do so. Byron may have underestimated how far Lauren would be prepared to go. He had definitely underestimated how much she would demand of him.

And with an ultimatum of her own, Lauren gets far more than she bargained for.

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Goodreads Book Giveaway

Guiltless ~ A Cheshire Love Story by Mollie Blake

Guiltless ~ A Cheshire Love Story

by Mollie Blake

Giveaway ends September 30, 2017.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

24 comments:

  1. Sounds like a fun read.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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    1. Thanks Sandee - enjoy your day too xx

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  2. Great tips on the placement of action and dialogue tags. Something I'll have to look at in my own work.

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    1. Hi - yes, it certainly makes you think and surprising how much it can improve the flow of the scene. Good luck with your writing (and happy sailing:)

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  3. Replies
    1. Thanks and you're very welcome. It's a great way to learn isn't it? xx

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  4. This is great! Thanks for the tips! :)

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    1. Thanks Jemi. And great to connect on Twitter. Love your header, so true x

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  5. Unfortunately, writing as turned me into even more of a critic than I used to be. I'm not perfect, but I really try to make my work as clean as possible. Editors to the rescue.

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    1. Hi. I know what you mean. Striving for perfect editing has even led to spoiling some of my enjoyment of reading as I can't help getting a little cross. xx

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  6. So many make these kind of mistakes. Practice makes perfect.

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    1. It certainly does, Chrys, together with learning from editors, other authors, writing craft posts :) etc.

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  7. Luckily, practicing my craft is my favorite thing. ~grin~ Now maybe someday I'll get up the nerve to share my stories with the world. Happy Writing!

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    1. Oh, do, Darla. It's a great sense of achievement. Good luck x

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  8. Excellent tips--always great things like this to review, even if we aren't beginners :)

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    1. Thanks Meradeth. From what I know from my life so far, you never stop learning and there's always room for improvement. Keeps us on our toes :) x

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  9. I continue to learn knew rules for writing all the time. I love that my editor explains some of my errors to me because then I can try not to make those mistakes again. Best of luck to Mollie. :)
    ~Jess

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    1. lol- learn new rules, not knew rules. :)

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    2. Ha - I like it - good editing, better late than never. I adore the backspace xxx

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    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad to have helped you find such a great site x

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