How to Correctly Punctuate Dialogue for Novels

Punctuating dialogue tags from The Writers After Dark Blog. The lowercase letter after splitting the dialogue with a tag was extremely helpful. Thank you.

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Nora Excerpts – 1

July 15, 2017
Coming July 15, 2017

“On that windowsill, she stood in the crossfire of people and lights and cars and bobbed her head to the beat of ragtime syncopation and driving brass bands to soaring gospel choirs mixed with field hollers and the deep-down growl of the blues.  She danced to the groove of Fats Waller, Duke Ellington, Jelly Roll Morton, Willie “The Lion” Smith, Bessie Smith, Billie “Lady Day” Holiday, and Chick Webb. Legs swinging, roof rocking, neighbors knocking, and body incapable of standing still. Nora stood up on her toes and let her partner throw her over his back, let him throw her into the air again, and then slithered like her body was made of jellyfish underneath his legs. She danced as if she’d never had legs before, gliding and shaking in ways her father would never approve of. Nora flipped and split and cartwheeled around The Negro Club alongside Louis Jordan and The Nicholas Brother’s until the sweat began to congregate alongside her forehead and trickle its way down to her chin.”

– Renaissance: The Nora White Story, Book One.

Coming July 15, 2017

 

Advice for Aspiring Writers from Nicole Dennis-Benn

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“Ask yourself why you’re writing and who you’re writing for. Know in your heart that there is no such thing as one story….At the end of the day, your authentic voice and heart will speak to readers. Do not be deterred by rejection. Keep writing, keep knocking on doors, keep sending out work. Never have only one project that you’re working on. The minute one story gets published and rejected, there should be another one waiting in the wings. Be serious about writing. Treat it as you would a job, not a hobby. Lastly, seek successful mentors who are invested in seeing your growth; avoid anyone who projects their journey on you and/or attempts to clip your wings once you begin to soar.”

– Nicole Dennis-Benn, author of Here Comes the Sun

Choices

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There are many paths before us,

a starlight fantasy for our dreams

a dose of reality for our truths

and a playground for our games

all candy coated to look alike

and we shackle ourselves

to the decisions, we make

paths unfold like red carpet occasions

so that we may sharpen discernment

and choice spreads its arms wide

like a mother

beckoning for her children

inviting us to lay our head

in her bosom

and there we feed on the free will

to choose our own verdicts

what will history write in our favor

and what will we leave behind?

Choices.

We live on them

like the breath, we breathe

inhale and exhaling ourselves to the next step

what will become of this poem?

will I dare to save a life?

is it possible

that one can live on these words

desperately

nourished simply by the right

to choose

to read them

BREATHE

Temporary Cover for BREATHE.

Dear Author,

Writing is just as psychological and spiritual as it is physical. The level of mental clarity necessary to write books is not something that any writer can ignore. From reaching out to people for special appearances, book signings, and speaking engagements, it goes without saying that taking on this enormous responsibility will require the strength of an individual who has worked, not only on his craft but also his mind. Someone who has come to the page with a mindset that he or she will accomplish greatness. Someone who has not only decided on a profession but has mentally prepared for it as well.

At the time that I write this I’ve been publishing books for ten years and within the last three years, I have had the pleasure of working closely with writers in a way that I never have in my career. This intimacy is made possible through writers and the publishing of their most personal thoughts through the platform that is the blog. As I sit back and I observe I have come to understand that doubt and fear is a major contributor and enemy of the writer. It creeps into the mind, seeps into the soul and gnaws the bone. It gets down so deep inside the author that it bleeds through the pen and taints the words. Next thing you know every time you look up that writer is not a writer anymore. That writer is a shadow of his former self, wallowing in self-pity and doubt. That writer has allowed fear to creep in and to steal his gift.

Writing is not a cake walk. It is hard work and often mentally challenging. While writing itself is exciting, the process of pre-writing, writing and then re-writing, publishing and marketing and promoting, can take its toll. Not to mention the barrage of “Thou shall write like this” advice and the author’s own personal life. Who knows what kind of stress the writer battles during production and what kind of sacrifice it took for you to hold that book in your hands. Authors are people too and like any other person, we have lives outside the page and outside the blog, trials and tribulations to endure that can make finishing a book mentally taxing. Writers under this kind of mental strain must somewhere underneath the clutter of depression and self-loathing, find the motivation and the confidence he or she needs to approach the page again. He or she must root themselves in the present moment and find the strength to endure. That writer, he or she, must learn to BREATHE.


“BREATHE: Letters of Writespiration to Keep You Inspired, Motivated, and Writing” is the first book in a series of books that is my next project. A string of letters from me to you, the writer. It does not yet have a release date. I am also not having any fancy launches for this. After The Nora White Story, I am focusing on seriously finishing and producing my memoir which can take some time. These books will be small projects of mine in-between my larger projects such as novels and the memoir.


If you’d like to know more and to read some of the letters before the first book is released (which won’t be for some time), be sure you’re subscribed to my email list. I am doing some redecorating, such as an all-white background for a neater look. I am also sharing Chapter Four of my memoir in the next issue (Chapters 1-3 will be available to download to new list members or veteran members who missed it.) Also, if I have not gotten around to promoting your book, it will be in the next issue as well. Your patience is always appreciated.

Dear Writer: STOP Releasing So Many Novels!

Interesting perspective. For the series, I’ve always thought it wise to put some time between the release of each book. Don’t rush. Give us time to read Book One. It also helps the Author.

A Writer's Path

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by Michael Cristiano

As I’m sure you know, dear readers (or Mom… Hi, Mom!), I’ve come to a couple realizations over the past year or so since the release of my first novel. The biggest revelation, the one where I decided to go back to writing for myself, I’ve written about extensively already, and you can read that post here…

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