January 29th, 2009

woods, Elizabeth, camera, April

Writing: Who Said What?

Discussion elsewhere on the web suggested this topic as a way to avoid work this morning.  Until the ice has melted off the pond and I feel like going outside, anyway.

The question came up about extended conversations--when and how to use attribution tags without being boring. We've all experienced conversations in books that were confusing...a long vertical string of short utterances, and somewhere down the page the reader's having to count back up to find out whether it was Bill or Sam who said "But that's ridiculous."   We've also read conversations in which the attribution tags stuck out as if spray-painted in fluourescent orange--they weren't needed, and they made the passage read like something written for a 5th grade class.

So what are other ways to keep readers oriented to the speakers--to know who's saying what--without a constant downpour of "he said, she said, Bill said, Suzy said...?"  

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woods, Elizabeth, camera, April

Snippet Alert

New snippet posted at Paksworld blog.

This one is from Oath of Fealty (next book out)   and the characters involved are Paks, Dorrin, and the Knight-Commander of Falk.  Dorrin has the viewpoint.  

Those not familiar with the Paksenarrion world won't know that magelords made themselves thoroughly unpleasant and as a result were driven out (less completely than some people thought. A few families in Tsais retained magery, but the most powerful achieved results with blood magic.  That there is a real, genuine, first-class-A-1 magelord is about to shock the populace.)     Elves are accepted (they're not human, so it's easier to believe their magical abilities really are innate), wizards are suspect but their powers are known to be the result of long study.  

But magelords?  

They're illegal.  At least, using their magery is illegal.  At least, using their magery is illegal unless...well.  That's part of the story.