#WIPPet Wednesday – Sounds about right.

You know how two WIPpet Wednesdays ago, I was bothered by how to make Felipe seem affected by his brother’s death, but not too sympathetic? I figured out a way to do that, namely, by ending the scene about halfway through what I had written. He reacts quite strongly at first, and became more vulnerable later, but there was a spot I could stop when he was still being cranky. Thanks for your suggestions on that. The idea that the way he dealt with the news and treated others in the light of it was something a few of you brought up and was what made me take this direction.

In today’s WIPpet, which takes place at the end of the first day of the big festival at the start of the novel, Ava and Cait are trying to convince their respective younger sisters, Bridget and Ginny, that they did meet Prince Felipe that afternoon. Ginny is annoyed at me at the moment because originally she got to meet him in that scene as well, but now that Ava’s part of things, I decided to swap them.

“Did you really meet him?” Bridget asked.

“We did,” Ava said. “It seemed he was running away from meeting princesses.”

“And what did he think of you two?” Guy asked.

“He said we were charming,” Cait replied with a quirked eyebrow.

“He didn’t even seem to mind when Cait started scolding him,” Ava added.

Cait!” Ginny moaned. She looked mortified, as though Cait insulting the prince might have blackened her own name in some way.

“Well, that certainly sounds like Cait,” Guy replied. “No man is safe.”

That’s my girl. 🙂

Question: does it feel like there are too many dialogue tags in here? I can’t really see any other way to do it, since there are five of them talking, unless I mention actions as well. They’re not really doing much, though; just standing around waiting for their parents to come and meet them.

In other news, I’ve made a tentative goal of working through two chapters of revision each week. They’re not really long chapters, so I think I should be able to manage this. That’ll give me a completion date of around the end of May (approximately). I’m hoping to commit to A Round of Words in 80 Days again when Round 2 starts next month, and this will be my main goal for that as well.

Anyhoo, I think I might leave this here for today and head off. To join in on WIPpet Wednesday, simply post an excerpt from your current WIP that somehow relates to the date, and then hop on over to My Random Muse and join us on the linky. Catch you all soon! 😀

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12 thoughts on “#WIPPet Wednesday – Sounds about right.

  1. kathils says:

    I didn’t really notice the dialog tags, so they must not have been bothersome. 😉 If you feel they are, replace some with action instead. That’s a good way to let everyone know who is talking, as well as to give some insight into the character and their mood. I love that Cait doesn’t care if it’s Prince or pauper. My kind of gal.

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  2. Amy says:

    I wasn’t bothered by the dialog tags. I tend not to be bothered by a lot of things writers aren’t “supposed” to do unless it really interrupts the action. I think in this particular case, it would disrupt the flow more to comment on their actions rather than just using simple tags. Also, I liked Ginny’s reaction to finding out Cait scolding the prince. 🙂

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  3. L. Marie says:

    I love Guy’s question: “And what did he think of you two?”
    Some speaker tags are unavoidable in a conversation involving several people. If you want to cut down on them, you can let narrative action work for you. For example:

    “Did you really meet him, Ava?” Bridget asked.
    “We did.” Have Ava do something here—maybe she smiles or moves in some way so that you understand that she is the speaker. “It seemed he was running away from meeting princesses.”
    Guy laughed (or whatever you want him to do to establish that he will say the next line). “And what did he think of you two?”

    You won’t need Guy’s speaker tag if you start the paragraph off with his action. Readers will track with you that he’s the one talking.

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    • Kate Sparkes says:

      Have Ava pick her nose. Wait… don’t do that. Never listen to anything I say.

      I didn’t notice the dialogue tags until you mentioned them, but it would be nice if you could replace a few with actions.

      I recently read a story that had the worst tags EVER… after that, everything I read is wonderful. 🙂

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  4. ReGi McClain says:

    I think, for this short a blurb, the tags are probably fine. Not as interesting as actions, but not really an issue, either. If the whole scene involves a lot of dialogue, it would probably be good to switch to actions, or give someone a slight accent that sets him/her apart.

    I’m interested in seeing how this story will turn out once you’ve made all your edits. It sounds like it’s coming along nicely. 🙂

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  5. Elaine Jeremiah says:

    This is a great scene Emily and no there aren’t too many dialogue tags. I like to know who’s speaking in a conversation and I can get really frustrated sometimes when I can’t work out who’s talking.

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  6. Ruth Nestvold says:

    With so many people, you definitely need the dialogue tags. But if you want to vary it a bit, you could have them walking somewhere to meet their parents rather than standing around. Just a thought.

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  7. Eden says:

    First thing… no, the tags didn’t bother me at all.

    Second… Even when people are standing around they aren’t stationary. Gazes shift from face to face as mental focus changes. People move their balance from leg to leg to keep from getting stiff. Breath catches. People swallow sometimes convulsively. Fingers twitch…

    Any of these could be used to show characterization if used well. Thing is to not clutter up a fairly clean scene here with too much stuff that alters the flow of conversation.

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  8. shanjeniah says:

    I’m not bothered by the tags, and the above suggestions are great. I have one that no one’s mentioned, though, so I’ll pitch it into the mix…

    From beta-ing this, and the context, I’m imagining this happens outside the palace grounds, at the end of the festival day. I’m guessing there’s maybe still a lot of people and action around. Are there vendors, a wind that blows away someone’s hat, people getting cozy or angry nearby? Does the light do interesting things to the scene? Is there a lot of garbage tainting the majesty of the place, or was it an orderly gathering?

    Some details of the scene woven in with character actions and Ruth’s great suggestion of having the young ones do the moving to the parents, not vice versa, and the dialogue tags would be as invisible and as useful as the air.

    I’m loving the changes, but I wouldn’t want Ginnie mad at me! =)

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