Thursday, September 24, 2009


Oh dear: Still Chapter 19; word count-33,903
As you see, yesterday was not particularly productive. But I do have a
writing tip: Smiling is one of the things our characters do that can be really taxing for the author. While we have other words to chose from (sneer, smirk, grin, beam), the list is slim. So we might resort to -ly adverbs (broadly, widely, stupidly, sadly, wisely, disarmingly). Aack! One of those used every ten chapters is probably acceptable, especially sadly. Sadly tells you a whole lot about the mood of the scene. He smiled sadly at the news his grandmother passed on and is no longer in pain.
Here is the way I got around the problem in yesterdays punt word count. (Picture author beating head against wall over lack of productivity.)
Notice how the line about the smile (called an action tag) sets the tone for how the rest of the man's dialogue sounds in your head as you read.

“Good afternoon.” His smile reinforced his cheerful greeting. “Business has been rather slim these past few weeks. We’re mighty glad you stopped. Come ashore and rest a bit. My mom makes the best traveler’s stew on the river. We’ve clean, soft beds, and bathtubs on every floor, and even a shower on the second.”


  1. this is great! i'm excited to keep reading. i've been a fan since my sister got the first dragon book. i love your books!

  2. What a great writing tip! Thank you very much.
    (I sure can image an author beating his against a wall, because I have actually seen it and done it. :D)

  3. I often have trouble coming up with different ways to say things in my story. Its hard not repeating yourself when writing.

    I love your sense of humor. While reading your books I've come across such funny scenarios and sentences, you've given me many a hearty laugh, and tear of joy! Thank you so much!!

  4. Wow, I totally can understand this! My problem even more than smiling is sighing and raising eyebrows. They both display so many different emotions, making it difficult to not reuse them all the time.