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Writing Monologues

A number of years ago I attended a workshop given by David Page. It was one of the most inspiring workshops I have ever attended. I realize now how important that workshop was to the improvement of my writing, and I highly recommend all new writers (actually all writers new and experienced) to practice writing monologues. The following is just a list of points he gave in that workshop. As I read over them, it occurred to me that they can apply to all writings in the fiction genre. I thought I would share them with you. The list is not long. I hope everyone can find at least one point that will help them.

1.  If you don’t develop a good character, you cannot have a good monologue.

2.  Don’t sit in the easy seat when you want to write monologue. Write about

something you don’t know about.

Note: This is certainly different from what I’ve been told, but you have to

admit it would challenge you, and I love a challenge.)

 

3.  Learn to do interviews.

 

4.  Go to where people tell you not to go — Taboo Land.

 

5.  Find your hook.

 

6.  In order to be somebody, you have to see/be everybody.

 

7.  Got to feel your character’s heartbeat in their monologue. Should have attitude.

8.  Monologue does not have to have just one emotion.

 

9.  If you write something phony, it brings your work to a standstill.

 

10.  Do not write about something you do not have feelings about.

11.  To make it real– it has to have connections to other things:  place, personalities

that are insinuated, etc.

 

12.  Need a tone to your dialogue. Needs to sound individual. Imbed the tone into

the monologue.

 

13.  When writing a monologue, remember what it is– don’t make it its own novel

within your novel.

 

14.  You have to know who you are in order to write good dialogue.

 

A monologue has one main character, and the monologue is written from that character’s POV. You can use either or both exterior dialogue or interior dialogue. The monologue must be more creative and more personal than a manuscript that has more than one character.

 

Everyone is different, and we all have our own methods, but I like to sit down and write a monologue just for the practice. I have found that it can also help me when I get a bad case of writer’s block. It seems to stimulate my creativity. At any rate, it is good practice for improving your writing skills, especially if you are a young writer.

 

Faye M. Tollison

Author of:  To Tell the Truth

Upcoming books:  The Bible Murders

                              Sarah’s Secret

Member of:  Sisters In Crime

Writers on the Move

www.fayemtollison.com

www.fayetollison.blogspot.com

www.fmtoll.wordpress.com

www.booksinsync.com

 

 

 

 

 

Jack the Ripper

One of the most famous and possibly the most famous male serial killers was and still is Jack the Ripper. It was an interesting fact that he only had five victims known for sure. A small number compared to other serial killers who are less known.

Over the years many people have collected statistics, and as a result, law enforcement now has a profile of a serial killer with which to go by. Basically all the victims share a common trait in that they have activated a psychological trigger in the killer’s mind. They generally have similar physical appearances. The method by which they are killed is the same.

A large number of serial killers come from dysfunctional families. They suffer from a complexity of emotions such as feelings of worthlessness or inadequacy. Some tend to kill compulsively because of a need for power or sexual urges. Most feel superior and powerful; women are attracted to the male serial killers. A good number of them are successful people.

Jack the Ripper was responsible for the murders of five prostitutes in the Whitechapel area of London in 1888. They were brutally ad viciously murdered and in some cases had their internal organs surgically removed. It was suggested by some speculations that the killer had either some medical knowledge or anatomical knowledge. Then there were those who felt it could be a butcher or slaughter man.

The murders were begun abruptly, whih is unusual. More likely the filler graduates from attacks and assaults to full blown murder, whereby the distinctive modus operandi is established and individual killings can be identified as the work of a particular person. The point I am trying to make is that the probability that he committed earlier crimes is high. There were five murders sommitted in approximately twelve weeks, but the Whitechapel Murders File actually has eleven murders in it.

In the early days of the investigation it was thought the murders were committed by a gang, but by early September 1888 the police decided they were looking for a lone assassin. To date there are over a hundred suspects. There were more than 300 people investigated and over 2,000 interviews. Eighty people were detained in police custody, and yet the police were never able to find the killer.

There are many reasons that the fascination for this case continues so long after the last known murder was committed, but it is my opinion that it is because the murderer was never found and the case solved. There is a question that I have about this case. It is why the murders were stopped so abruptly. Most murderers do not stop killing unless there is a reason.

Will they ever find out who Jack the Ripper was? We have made great strides in forensics, such as DNA. So if Scotland Yard has been able to keep the evidence intact, the possibility does seem likely. I can only hope it is within my lifetime.

 

Reference: jacktheripper.org

Faye M. Tollison

Author of: To Tell the Truth

Upcoming Books:  The Bible Murders

                               Sarah’s Secret

Member of: Sisters in Crime

Writers on the Move

www.fayemtollison.com

www.fayetollison.blogspot.com

www.fmtoll.wordpress.com

www.booksinsync.com

 

Bookcovers

There are a number of websites where a writer can find a bookcover for his/her book. They are pre-made covers and can range in price anywhere from $150.00 to $600.00 at best.

So what is the disadvantage to these bookcovers? They do not reflect your story. Generally generic, they can be used for any genre. Of course, if this is what you want, then you will probably be satisfied with it. But if you want your book to stand out from the rest, a bookcover that reflects your story will be much more satisfactory.

Stop and think about it for a moment, and you will see what I mean. The first thing a person looks at when searching for a book is the title. If the title does not grab them, they move on to the next book. Once they find a title that draws their interest, they pick up the book and look at the bookcover. Now you should be able to see why it is important to the sale of your book. The title and the bookcover are the first two things that give the reader a good idea what the book is about. Those two things will convince the reader to read the blurb on the back cover and even open the book and read the first page or two.

Now I have seen a number of well-known authors’ new books on the shelf, and their bookcovers are so plain and boring that it is a good thing they have already made a name for themselves. Otherwise they probably would not sell very many of their books.

People who read are visual. We learn to write in such a way as to draw a visual picture in their minds. That is what the bookcover picture should do for your title. It should draw a visual picture of the written title as well as the basic story, hence giving the reader a better idea of whether or not they would be interested in it.

Your illustrator should be someone who is willing to work close with you to achieve the perfect bookcover for your story. If they are not willing to do this, they are probably not worth the money you are paying them. Once you find the right illustrator, you will find satisfaction on several different levels. One, you will obtain a bookcover with which you will fall in love. Two, you will have a bookcover that will help sell your book. Three, you will have a good friend who will, the longer you work together on different projects, know just what you like or dislike; and you will develop a good working relation.

At this point, I would like to give credit to my most wonderful and talented illustrator who has put up with me with utmost patience. Her name is Heather Paye. She will amaze you with her talent. Her website is: htpp://hpayedesigns.yolasite.com.

Faye M. Tollison

Author of: To Tell the Truth

Upcoming books:  The Bible Murders

                             Sarah’s Secret

Member of: Sisters In Crime

Writers On the Move

Books In Sinc

www.fayemtollison.com

www.fayetollison.blogspot.com

www.fmtoll.wordpress.com

 

 

Lizzie Borden–Guilty or Not

A new idea for a book in the future has led me to an interest in female murderers from the past. I have done an extensive research on the women. One of the most infamous was Lizzie Borden. Who has not heard that story? But I have learned a lot about that case that I did not know; and as a result, I have become quite fascinated by her story.

Lizzie was acquitted of the murders. The case was based on circumstantial evidence, rather strong circumstantial evidence in my opinion. After all was said and done, Lizzie’s acquittal appeared to be due to reasonable doubt; however, it was mentioned by one site that Lizzie was acquitted because the jury could not bring themselves to charge a woman with first degree murder, which would bring a sentence of death. The jury, by the way, was made up of twelve men.

Lizzie Borden and a maid admitted to being in the house at the time of the murders. Even though the house was a large two-story home, it’s hard to believe no one could hear any noise of the murders being performed. The attacks were vicious. One victim (the step-mother of Lizzie) actually sustained 18-19 whacks, and the other victim (the father of Lizzie) sustained 11 whacks with the axe. This appears to me to be an act of raging anger.

Fingerprinting was available at that time, but it was not used much by law enforcement. It was new to law enforcement and most local law enforcement was not familiar with it and did not feel comfortable with it. So it evidently was not even considered to help them catch the murderer. DNA was not even available in that day.

The Borden family lawyer, Andrew Jackson Jennings, evidently kept a journal, which was kept private by his descendents.  It was recently turned over to the Falls River Historical Society by a family member. It is presently being transcribed and will be published. Supposedly it is thought to hold new evidence that proves Lizzie Borden was innocent of the murders of her parents. If this is true, who did perform those vicious murders?

It will be interesting to find out what this “new evidence” shows. There is no reports that I could find that after Lizzie’s acquittal there was any further attempt to find who did perform these murders. I thought that rather interesting. Is it possible they still thought Lizzie Borden killed her parents?

Faye M. Tollison

Author of: To Tell the Truth

Upcoming books: The Bible Murders

                             Sarah’s Secret

Member of Sisters in Crime

Writers on the Move

www.fayemtollison.com

www.fayetollison.blogspot.com

www.fmtoll.wordpress.com

 

 

Crime Victims

Centuries ago it was thought when something bad happened to someone that it was God’s curse or the Devil’s; but as modern medicine and science progressed, we have learned to control disease. When it comes to the disease of crime, people regressed to the mentality and vulnerability of the peasants of Medieval times; and as a result, the Satanism craze has gained much popularity. People have the need to blame someone else for their misfortunes and even the misfortunes of others. This is due to our basic human psychology and is also a part of our religious foundation.

We often hear people say that a victim of a crime is to blame for that crime happening to them, that the victim must have done something to cause it. As a result, the criminal can sometimes be exonerated of some part of the blame.

Crime victims fall in three categories: family members, acquaintances, and strangers. Family is the largest group of all murder and violent crime victims. In some groups the victims are chosen because of their vulnerability, such as children. Car-jacking victims are chosen because of the make and model of their car. Serial killers choose their victims because of a fantasy the killer is trying to live out or because of a psychotic delusion.

As a writer you need to understand why your killer is committing murder or other type of violence, and you should know why your victim is chosen by him/her because to know the victim is to know the criminal. They are that closely related, and it will bring a reality to your story that will keep your readers turning the page of your book. Not only that, they will be hungry for the next book.,

Faye M. Tollison

Author of: To Tell the Truth

Upcoming books: The Bible Murders

Sarah’s Secret

Member of: Sisters in Crime

Writers on the Move

http://www.fayemtollison.com

http://www.fayetollison.blogspot.com

http://www.fmtoll.wordpress.com

http://www.booksinsync.com

 

Bookcover Award

TO TELL THE TRUTH has won the Books in Sync bookcover award for August 2012. This bookcover was illustrated by a very talented young lady by the name of Heather Paye. I’m very excited about this!

Faye M. Tollison

A Sophisticated Writer

There are a few tricks to not appearing as an amateur writer, and it is the desire of every writer to sound like they have been writing for many years.

One of the most mistakes a young writer makes is using –ing words and as. Now don’t get me wrong. An occasional use of these is not a bad thing, and sometimes it is necessary. However, most of the time the ing words and as can be dropped or moved to elsewhere in the sentence. It can be placed in the middle or at the end of the sentence.

Example:

Pulling the books off the top shelf, Meg knocked the vase over.

Meg pulled the books off the top shelf and knocked over the vase.

As Cassie picked the bag of groceries up, the bottle of juice fell and broke.

Cassie picked up the bag of groceries. the bottle of juice fell out and broke.

Another way to avoid appearing like an amateur is to eliminate as many -ly words as possible, even those in dialogue. Where there is an adverb, there is a weak verb. Drop the adverb and replace the weak verb with a strong one.

Example:

Angrily she put the file on the table.

She slammed the file on the table.

There are exceptions to this rule. Though not a perfect solution, it does provide effect.

Example:

Eyes cold as steel, she lifted gun–slowly, deliberately.

Clichés. What can I say but no, no way, and forget it. If you use a cliché to describe a character, you run the risk of making him appear like a cartoon character or, at the least, unreal.

There are some other small items you need to consider. Commas, for instance. If you’ve ever listened to people around you, you will notice they don’t always talk in sentences. They often string their sentences together. Doing this in dialogue could make your character sound more real, though it doesn’t have to be just in dialogue. How do you string sentences together? With a comma instead of a period.

Example:

“Come on, I’m in a hurry, we need to leave now.”

Some small things which make a writer sound amateurish are: emphasis quotes, exclamation marks, and overuse of italics. Need I say more?

And my favorite the flowery, poetic figures of speech. Use this method of writing very sparingly or chance losing your reader (he’s probably dying of laughter).

Metaphors and any phrase that draws attention to itself rather than what is actually being said is not sophisticated at all. The more subtle approach can convey the idea and allow the reader to use his/her imagination, and your reader does like to do this.

Profanity is acceptable only if it is appropriate to your character. Otherwise lease it out.

Writing is an art, and it takes a lot of hard work to perfect it. However, it is not impossible to be a sophisticated writer.

Faye M. Tollison

Author of: To Tell the Truth

Upcoming books:  The Bible Murders and Sarah’s Secret

Member of: Sisters In Crime

Writers on the Move

www.fayemtollison.com

www.fayetollison.blogspot.com

www.fmtoll.wordpress.com

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