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Sunday, May 15, 2011

May trip to Indiana and New Hampshire

This week I made a trip to northern Indiana to speak to middle school students. Pictured above, I stand with the students at Lakeview Middle School in Warsaw, IN. The newspaper did an interview, which article here:
This last picture is after a successful signing at Barnes & Noble in Manchester, NH. My wife and I (and my son) had a crazy week. We went to a middle school in Indiana on Friday morning, then drove about 16 hours to make it in time for my booksigning at the store on Saturday. The store had 40 books in stock and I sold 36 of them! Praise God!
But today I am relieved to be back at home. The trip was good, but I'm ready to run a bit slower for a little while.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The trick to combining speech tags with action beats

Speech tags and action beats are a sometimes hotly debated subject. I know that in my personal experience I go back and forth on how to best utilize them.

Recently something happened that spotlighted this issue for me:
I was driving back from a book signing in New York. I was tired and a bored, so I stopped at a Barnes & Noble in Albany. There I purchased a mocha and the Star Wars: Deceived audiobook. The first thing that stuck out as I listened to the phenomenal read-aloud was the numerous instances where the author used speech tags, and often combined them with his action beats. I thought at first "This is distracting" but the more I listened the more I realized how well this worked. The writing was strong even with the numerous speech tags, stronger perhaps than it would have been without them. When I arrived home and returned to writing my novel, I let my mind flow freely, as if I was verbally telling the story. This worked extremely well. At least, I am happy with the results.
Below are a couple instances from my 2012 novel The Key of Living Fire (AMG Publishers):

Action beat only:
Cromlin laughed and the sound of it chilled Specter’s bones. “The power of living fire resides here, doesn’t it?” The creature slowly turned its massive head and gazed at Specter. “Were you attempting to stop this man from escaping with the Key [spoiler removed]?”

Action beat with speech tag:
The dragon was silent for a long while, then he angled his boney head downward and said, " I believe our beloved Specter followed the traitorous Auron into... [spoiler removed]"

Q4U: What is your opinion on this? Do you prefer no speech tags, few, or do you like them? Do you enjoy the combination of speech tag and action beat?


"Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones." -Proverbs 16:24

In a world where morality is forsaken and Christ neglected, wholesome books are uncommon. The themes of my writing are love, self-sacrifice, and honor.

I see my generation turning from God to the gods of this world. I see homes torn apart in the pursuit of pleasure and self-gratification. Children are murdered by the millions every year . . . without ever seeing the world outside their mothers' wombs. Through fiction I strive to encourage those who are willing, to stand against these things and be heroes and heroines; chivalrous, gentle, full of righteous indignation, and the fear and love of their Creator.