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I’m Hearing Voices In My Head… and That’s a Good Thing

6 of my Favorite Online “Dialogue Coaches”

Even though I’ve read thousands of novels over the years (yes, thousands), my first-time status as a novel writer has been showing itself when it comes to writing dialogue. Dialogue seems so easy when you read skilled writers such as Georgette Heyer or Dorothy Sayers. Both of them managed to create entirely distinct characters whose conversation is natural, charming, insightful and, in Georgette Heyer’s case, often laugh-out-loud funny.

Both these authors perfectly illustrate a core principle of novel writing, which is to show it, not tell it. For example, as I noted above, Georgette Heyer can write dialog that is both charming and funny. She doesn’t have to tell you that her characters are witty. They (literally) speak for themselves.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is the author who, incapable of writing either charming or witty dialog, fills her characters’ mouths with leaden commonplaces. Then, having left you feeling as if you’re at the world’s most boring office party, she tells you that “Count So-and-So was one of the cleverest people in court” or that “Our hero couldn’t get over how brilliant the object of his desire showed herself to be.” No, the Count was not clever and that desirable object was dull, not brilliant. With dialogue, you just can’t fake it ’til you make it.

Howard Butcher at National Review: Homer Meets Generation Z

The author of Jonah: A Novel of Men and the Sea reveals his literary insights from his teaching experience

Is technology killing students’ ability to read classical literature?

Leslie Nielsen: Accidentally Absurd

Deconstructing Canadian Culture, Part 24: The Funniest Thing in a Movie Where Jokes are Delivered Almost Every Minute

Surely, Leslie Nielsen was never supposed to be a serious actor? Well, I am serious – and don’t call me “Shirley.”

Nielsen – who has always been a sort of Canadian Adam West to me, utterly and earnestly oblivious to how ridiculous he comes off – is an important dividing line between the serious actors I’ve discussed in previous weeks who would often find themselves caught up in the campiest of schlockfests, and the Canadian actors who began as clowns and later craved respect, such as Mike Myers and Jim Carrey.

Plummer and Sutherland brought gravitas to ridiculous roles, and, as we’ll see, Carrey and Myers tried to inject some levity into serious drama. Nielsen is different because – at least initially – he wasn’t going for over the top humour or deadpan seriousness. There’s a Chaplinesque passivity and calm on display as he boldly soldiers through silliness like the Star Trek forerunner Forbidden Planet.

Why I Still Hate Game of Thrones But Love Rick And Morty

So tonight is finally the beginning of the end for one of the most overrated TV shows of all time.

Fighting the Abortion Status Quo With “Heartbeat” Bills

Part 3 in an Ongoing Series

This past week, Amanda Prestigiacomo of The Daily Wire reported on the signing of the “fetal heartbeat” bill into law by the Governor of Ohio, Mike DeWine. As a wonderful next move for the pro-life movement, the new law is intended to protect unborn babies with beating hearts from being aborted. Unborn babies’ heart beats are detectable after approximately six weeks of gestation.

As Prestigiacomo reported, a handful of states have passed such bills, including Mississippi and Georgia. And just to the south of Ohio, the Kentucky state legislature passed SB 9, and Governor Bevin signed into law the Commonwealth’s own “fetal heartbeat” bill. As summed up by a report from the Catholic Conference of Kentucky, the legislature passed several pro-life-related bills before wrapping up their session. One bill anticipates the overturning of Roe v. Wade to provide significant legal protection to the unborn. Another prohibits abortion on the basis of sex, race, or physical disability.

PreTeena: April 8 – April 14, 2019

Sunday Comics!

You won’t want to miss these hilarious cartoons depicting the ups and downs of adolescence. Now each week’s strips will debut on Sundays as the lead strip of Liberty Island’s Sunday Comics feature. If you draw a comic and would like to have your work featured on Sundays, please contact us: [email protected]

Check out Allison Barrows’ new PreTeena blog here.

10 New Shots of Maura the Siberian Husky

*Submit your photographs of nature and the outdoor life to [email protected] to participate in this weekly feature exploring the natural world.*

Gene Roddenberry’s Failed Post-Apocalyptic Series

If you say “Gene Roddenberry”, the vast majority will immediately think “Star Trek”. A smaller fraction will remember “Andromeda”, not quite a failure given that it lasted several seasons though it failed to have a lasting cultural legacy. Yet both of these projects continue a number of trends seen in Gene Roddenberry’s repeated, failed post-apocalyptic series. Yes, there is more than one.

What Was It like to Be Alive in Colonial America in 1775, on the Eve of the Revolutionary War?

Part 1: An Introduction to a New Series

In 1775, people traveled only as fast as they could walk, ride a horse, or sail a boat. A sixty-mile drive today that would take an hour would take two to four days in 1775. Travel by sailing ship from Charleston to Boston might take a month, while travel from Charleston to Britain might take two months or more. And news and the mail moved only as fast as that slow travel allowed.

Stubborn Characters When Writing… and Knitting

Although few would guess it, I am in fact a very methodical writer. I always start with an outline, whether it’s a short one that I can hold in my head or a longer one that I have to write out. Over my years as a lawyer, I’ve written thousands of outlines as a predicate to legal briefs and memos. On occasion, I’ll discover that an argument I set up in outline form doesn’t work in prose, but I can usually make it right just by reorganizing my ideas to improve the flow.

Writing a novel is proving to be very different. I came up with a story based upon my family’s experiences in Europe over the course of the latter part of the 19th century and the first two-thirds of the 20th century — and I put it in outline form. I then built up details about each character and put that information into the outline. Lastly, I did the historical research and into the outline went the history too.

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