Friday, June 5, 2020

Sheldon's Cooper's Pithy Sayings

"Sheldon Cooper here, along with my talented associate Amy. Today I want to change our format to pithy sayings. Share with us your nuggets of hometown wisdom."

"And we have a bite." Amy pushed a button. "What's your name and what's your game?"

"I'm Ed, a Hollywood producer, but I used to work in a lab. If you tell Jane Doe not to operate a centrifuge with an unbalanced load, make sure she knows you're talking about the machine."

Sheldon grinned. "Do you see what he did there? The conditional statement has been re-assigned to. . . ."

"Yes, Sheldon. I really don't think we need to dumb these down. Who's on the line next?"

"My talent," said a matronly voice, "is comparatives. I'm good at it because I'm deeper than cemetery infrastructure."

"Clever," Sheldon mused. "A cemetery necessarily has deeper infrastructure than the norm. Can we all guess why?"

Amy placed a hand on her forehead. "Sorry about that, folks. One of us is subtlety challenged. Got any more comparatives?"

"Sneakier than an elbow biter."

"Statistically valid," Amy decided. "It's like the suckers know to sneak up from behind. I get ten bites on the elbow for one everywhere else."

Sheldon frowned. "I'd love to see your source data, Amy. Anywho, next we have Gene with his 'why' game."

"Why do we never have the same  number of hot dots and buns? Why don't cowboys duck that obvious punch? Why does your pal Leonard nervously twiddle his fingers?"

"Why am I listening to this?" Sheldon pressed the next button.

A younger man. "If your last name is Chocstraw, don't name your kid Van."

"I wouldn't do that anyway," Sheldon insisted. "Van is so pedestrian. Amy and I have compiled a list of prospective names against the time that we. . . ." Both hosts went red-faced. The new caller sounded like a teenage girl.

"If you dream you're two inches tall, watch out for the cat."

"Or a mouse," Sheldon added. "A dog. A spider of sufficient size."

"There was only a cat in the video game."

"And. . . .next?" Sheldon hit another button.

An older guy. "How do you make a stuck grocery line start moving? Get in a different line. Now that one's stuck, and the first one moves right along."

"Good old Murphy's Law," Amy said. "One day we'll pin down the calculus behind it."

"Here's a cartoon caper," said a gravely voice. "How does Charlie Brown cure Lucy of yanking away the ball before he kicks it: kick the crap outta Lucy instead."

"Now that's curious logic," Sheldon said. "It would only make Lucy all the crabbier. She'd devise an even more devilish stratagem against Charlie."

"Is this guy for real. . . ."

"Subtlety," Amy reminded. "I don't know what to say, other than we're out of time."

Sheldon did the honors. "One cannot literally be out of time, as it implies being outside the time/space continuum. This is Sheldon Cooper signing off, although one cannot literally 'sign' a broadcast. . . ."

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Punctuating Dialogue Correctly

Whatever your techniques, I'm sure I will need to review this too in every manuscript.

Learning how to punctuate dialogue is important when writing the conversations between your characters.
Punctuating dialogue might not sound like a very exciting topic or a lot of fun as a writer to study – but it is very important in making sure your dialogue exchanges between characters make sense to your readers!
Good punctuation will help your readers connect to your characters and help you write a stronger book.
If you’ve done all of the work of planning an outline for your novel and worked on developing your characters, the last thing you want to do is lose readers by making common grammar mistakes!

how to punctuate dialogue

Most dialogue sentences are made of two parts: the dialogue, which is the spoken portion of the sentence, and then the dialogue tag, which identifies the speaker.
In this example, we have the following sentence, spoken by Martha.
“I am going to the zoo,” said Martha.
The sentence which Martha speaks is the dialogue. This is the part that ends with a comma. The second part is the dialogue tag. The dialogue tag is what identifies Martha as the speaker.

Avoid Run-On Sentences – Use Multiple Sentences if Necessary

It’s easy to want to create run-on sentences. Fortunately, it is also easy to avoid them.
Below is an example of a run-on sentence in dialogue with way too much punctuation.
“I love this dress,” said Sally, “I’m going to wear it everywhere, not just to the wedding, but also to the grocery store, the library, and the pancake dinner.”
This above example has several mistakes in it. First of all, you should not put a comma after a dialogue tag. It’s best to use two separate sentences.
“I love this dress,” said Sally. “I’m going to wear it everywhere. I’m not just going to wear it to the wedding. I’m going to wear it to the grocery store, the library, and the pancake dinner.”

Do Use a Comma for Action Within the Dialogue

“I love this dress,” said Sally, carefully taking it out of the closet.
“I think it’s hideous,” said Mark, wondering why on earth she would want to wear something that reminded him of pea soup. “You do realize it’s the same color as pea soup, don’t you?”

In this instance, we DO use a comma, because it separates the dialogue tag from the action. In this case, Sally is doing a physical action as she takes the dress from the closet. Mark’s action is not a physical action. However, it still counts as a verb and an action all the same.

Rule #6: Know How to Punctuate Dialogue in Reverse

In all of our examples so far, we’ve put the dialogue tag at the end. However, both the dialogue tag and the action can come before the dialogue. In this case, you simply end the dialogue with a period and use a comma after the dialogue tag.
Mark whispered, “I love you even if you are wearing an ugly dress.”
Looking into his eyes, Sally said, “Thank you for understanding.”

Basically, when the dialogue tag or the action comes first, you simply reverse the dialogue punctuation marks for the comma and the period.

Rule #7: Multiple Paragraphs of Same Speaker

When you have a character who is speaking a lot, it is okay if you need to use multiple paragraphs. Simply omit the end quotation mark at the end of the first paragraph and begin the second paragraph with a quote mark.
This can sometimes be confusing to readers, but there are times when it is appropriate.

“Listen, I have a lot to say about why I love this dress.” Sally straightened her posture. “This dress was my grandmother’s dress. She wore it when she first came to this country in 1936. She had nothing – no money, no food – but she had this dress.
“That’s where I am today. I have nothing. Nothing! No job, no money, no car. I have this dress. It worked for my grandmother, maybe it will work for me, too.
“I’m wearing this dress, and there’s nothing you can do to stop me.”
Again, sometimes it is better to break up your dialogue with different speakers or to add action – but it’s not always necessary. Largely a lot of this will depend on your own unique type of writing style, type of work you are

Additional Dialogue Punctuation Resources

Many writers can find the task of correctly punctuating their character’s dialogue to be overwhelming. Hopefully these punctuation rules for dialogue will help you improve as a writer.
Need more dialogue writing tips? Check out our article on 6 Tips for Writing Dialogue.
You may also find that a good style manual can be a great resource to have on hand as a desk reference as a writer.

Writing dialogue punctuation does not have to be difficult. With practice and a basic understanding of these rules for when to use commas, quotation marks, and periods, you can easily add dialogue to your stories confidently.
writing and what your goals are as a writer.

For my dialogue, I have a notebook.  When I hear something said, or read phrases, I put them in for future stories etc.   I also think a character sketch is good, and write out phrases that you think your character would say or react to a situation and so on.   What is your method?  I have a "lab" that happens to be social media.  Some of the most nastiest comments have made my characters stronger...haha.  Seeing various viewpoints have also enabled me to strengthen plots and so on.    Happy writing!

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Crisis at Six Forks

What was this, a sporting goods emporium or a theme park? Bud Randolph, CEO of Six Forks Palladium, didn't like what he saw. Country tunes  set the theme elsewhere, but this corner basked in some kind of new age fairy music. An overhead bar read "Now playing: Aldebaran by Enya".

While it was true this had once been an aquatics park, no one had expected the mermaid gig to catch on like it did. The original skylight illumined a new waterfall that churned up a sparkling mist. Crowds thronged the plexiglass barrier that arced around a deep, curved lake. White paint brightened the depths, including semicircular steps emerging onto a fanciful island, where a treasure chest rested beneath a fake palm.

As Bud watched, a green mermaid with red hair surfaced to empty a bucket of coins into the chest. He caught the name "Ellie". He drew closer, noting a man with a scuba tank filming at the bottom. How much was that costing him?--not to mention all the toys. A blonde in white sailed a submarine across the lake to a waiting brunette in blue. Two pirate ships bobbed at anchor next to a pile of cannon balls. This was the "battleship" game in which two players lobbed balls to sink the opponent. Was that a turtle? No, just a realistic copy flippering along in the current.

He'd already decided to pull the plug when things got even worse. A custodian collected money for a lively video trade. Two dollars bought your phone a tour in a waterproof case. Bud edged close to a pair of black ladies who delighted at the results. Their name cards said Joyce, about seventy, and Rachel, maybe fifty.

Rachel's video followed a sedate course along waterways branching from the lake. The view flowed beneath pedestrian bridges, looked up at watery faces peering down, then passed close to a blue mermaid passing the opposite way. A funny one, this one, as her hand briefly blocked the camera.

The music changed tempo to feature "In the Amber Room by Faith and the Muse". Now the mood was somber and medieval.

Joyce's video cruised along the surface toward the waterfall, suddenly dived beneath to look straight up into a maelstrom of bubbles. A neutral-buoyancy octopus whirled past. The view skated along submerged steps toward the green mermaid, who scooped coins with a shovel. A hand reached out to smack the green rump. When the redhead turned round eyes about, blue flukes waggled in her face.

Joyce and Rachel laughed like kids, when they should be checking out grills or fishing gear.

The view next wound into a curved tunnel, surfaced inside the Mermaid Palace. Food machines and lockers lined either side of brick tiles the ladies sat on when taking a break. Until now, no one had seen this inner sanctum. The journey passed an undulating sea horse out in the lake, then surfaced in a sheeting of water. Joyce's smiling face beamed above her arm reaching down for the phone.

"Use the blue mermaid next time," Joyce advised. "That girl crazy!"

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

Binia, the blonde in white, made it her business to know all the bigwigs, and wasn't fooled by the CEO's casual Friday spiel. Seated next to the other two, she divided attention between him and a whimsical card game (2.95 at the gift shop). She didn't even notice when a small frog man with paddling legs bumped against her fin.

Sirtis, aka the blue mermaid, tossed down a pair of starfish cards. "All I needed was that other starfish, Ellie. I think you skanked me out of it."

"Whoa, missy, wash your mouth out!" Ellie retorted.

Hardly paying attention, Binia motioned to the visiting cameraman. His obscure cable channel planned a series on promotional themes like theirs. He surfaced and raised his goggles. "Al, check out the guy in jeans and sweatshirt. Did you know he's our CEO?"

"No fooling?"

"I don't like the vibes," Sirtis said. "He's not a happy caballero."

Binia conferred briefly with Al, who rose dripping, his camera still shouldered.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

Al maneuvered through self conscious folks who didn't feel up to being filmed, confronting a surprised Randolph. Now if he could remember what Binia told him to say. "Mr Randolph, isn't it? I understand you have two stores here on the east coast, and have an eye on the midwest."

"We're kicking it around," Randolph said in careful politician mode.

"My cable channel is based out there. We're doing a series on store themes. So far, yours is the best, even if your other one doesn't yet have a theme. Think of it--a different theme for each store. You could become known for it."

Randolph looked like a man with gears spinning upstairs. "Tell you what--how'd you like to interview some of my customers?"

Like Binia said, the free advertising angle never failed. Al returned her salute. Since the skylight admitted the noon sun straight down, it was time for the trio's water dance, this time set to the pulsing Goth of Collide's "Lucky Thirteen". Apparently it was Sirtis' turn to pick a tune.