The Art Of Writing: Talking Dialogue

So far in the Art Of Writing we’ve looked at structure, outlining and characters. In this article we’re going to examine the use of dialogue, and how to make it an effective part of the story. This will include discussing the use of dialogue tags and ways in which not using dialogue can be just as effective as when you do use it. We’ll also take a look at how to frame dialogue in such a way as to make it a part of the action, and not just a way of dumping information on the reader.

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Book Review – Parable Of The Sower

Parable of the SowerParable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Parable Of The Sower is the first half of Octavia Butler’s Earthseed series, and introduces us to a near future dystopia in which society has all but disintegrated following an ecological collapse. While the novel centres itself on the Western seaboard of the USA, it is implied (though not specifically confirmed) that the effects of the collapse have been felt worldwide. The story is presented through the eyes of the novel’s protagonist, Lauren Olamina, a teenage girl who initially lives with her father, step-mother and step-brothers in a walled community on the fringes of what’s left of Los Angeles. Lauren also has a condition which Butler calls ‘hyperempathy’, an ability which causes her to feel the perceived pleasure and pain of those around her.

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Book Review – Beyond This Horizon

Beyond This HorizonBeyond This Horizon by Robert A. Heinlein

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

[This review may contain spoilers]

Beyond This Horizon, is the second of Heinlein’s published novels, and introduces us to a future utopia where poverty no longer exists and genetic engineering has advanced to a point where it is possible to selectively breed children for increased health, intelligence and longevity. The biggest problem faced by most of this world’s denizens is what to do with their time, leading to a society in which decadence is the norm and duelling with sidearms is considered an acceptable way of resolving disputes. Non-advanced citizens also exist, known as control normals, and are seen by the majority of others as a baseline with which to compare the genetic improvements found in the general populace.

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Book Review – Dracula

Dracula (Penguin English Library)Dracula by Bram Stoker

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I first read this book back in college as part of my English Literature course, and in particular as part of an exploration of how the vampire was represented in literature. Of the half-dozen or so early examples of the genre (vampire lit) I read, this and Sheridan le Fanu’s Carmilla were the two that stuck in my mind the most. I’ve since read both a number of times, and probably will again going forward.

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