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Tip Tuesday #149

Tip Tuesday features writers' tips on craft, research, querying, blogging, marketing, inspiration, and more. If you'd like to send in a tip, please e-mail me at agentspotlight(at)gmail(dot)com.

Natalie here today. Today we have a tip from Sherry Soule who is a published author (a blurb about her book is at the end of her tip) and blogs at Fiction Writing Blog. Be sure to check out her blog.

So here's Sherry.

I write a popular series on writing description for my Fiction Writing Blog, and I’ll share one of those tips today.
One of my pet peeves is the overuse of dialogue and action (gestures and facial expressions) tags that get used so much they've become stale and cliché. Use your imagination and try to be more creative and limit your use of certain gestures and expressions that are commonly abused in fiction. You may not even be aware of them, but I bet you will be now.
One method that helps, and you may feel silly doing it, is to act out the scene. Think about how you personally would react. Remember, that women are more expressive and animated than men, and most men are reserved and less emotional. Women talk with their hands and generally, men do not. Writers can SHOW the reader more effectively what’s going on or even what’s not being said by including a significant percentage of dialogue beats in their scenes, as long as they are original. Or turn common generic tags into fresh ones. Hope my advice helps!
Here's a blurb about Sherry's book, BEAUTIFULLY BROKEN:

Thirteenth Daughter. Heritage Witch. Demon Slayer.
They say every town has its secrets, but that doesn’t even begin to describe Whispering Pines. The townsfolk are a superstitious lot and the mystical disappearance of a local teen has everyone murmuring about a centuries old witch’s curse. . .
Sixteen-year-old Shiloh Ravenwolf is a heritage witch from the Broussard family, a family both destined and cursed. After she takes a summer job at Ravenhurst Manor, she discovers a ghost with an agenda. That’s where she meets the new town hottie, Trent Donovan. But Trent may be the next victim on the supernatural hit list, and Shiloh is the only person with the power to save him.
Complicated much?
After receiving cryptic messages from a creepy wraith, and then frightening threats from a demon, Shiloh finally begins to understand the mysterious significance of the strange mark branded on her wrist. Now Shiloh must decide how much she’s willing to sacrifice to protect the other teenagers in town.
Unfortunately, for Shiloh, not all ghosts want help crossing over. Some want vengeance.

And you can find Sherry at:



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  2. I do find myself unconsciously using frequently used gestures and actions. This article was a good reminder to try to keep it fresh. Acting out the scene may make you look like a crazy person but it helps make the scene feel real and believeable. Great article!

  3. Ha, ha! I'm so glad to hear there are other nuts out there that act out their dialouge. I totally do that!

  4. Great tip! It's always tough but important to push beyond the cliche and dig deep for something better!

  5. One more thing I need to look for when editing!

  6. Thanks for having me as a guest. I hope everyone enjoys this entertaining post and they are interested in reading the enthralling Spellbound series.

    Happy Reading,

    Learn more about the Spellbound Series

  7. Hi everyone! Here's a link to my post. It might help give you some creative ideas. ;-D


  8. Good ideas. I find my characters doing a lot of the same gestures and I know I need to fix that. Usually I run the scenes in my head, but maybe acting them out would be a good aid. Think I'll try that during my revision work.

  9. Great tip. Acting out a scene really helps even if you simply act it out in your mind.

  10. This is why I love the Emotion Thesaurus. It helps keep the writing fresh. :D

    Great tip, Sherry!

  11. Great reminder. It's hard to say what's the right amount, but I know it when I read it!

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  13. That is a real problem. Sometimes that first draft is so full of cliches it hurts :)Thank goodness for edits.

  14. This is a great tip! I really liked this post.


  15. That's always the challenge, isn't it? Happy Thanksgiving!

  16. Great tips! Wow, your books sounds super! I'm putting it on my TBR list.

  17. I hadn't heard of this book. Thank you both! And I totally agree on the advice. I think it's a sign of a novice writer, when the author must feel like they have to tell every single movement and moment in each scene.

  18. Love ghosts stories! Thanks for pointing this one my way.

  19. EXCELLENT advice! I agree on overuse of dialogue tags. Not only is it irritating, it breaks the flow of the conversation. I'd say consider not using them so much! I've also heard of this book. Sounds great! Thanks, guys~ :o) <3

  20. I just discovered your blog and it's too bad you're not continuing on with Tip Tuesday. Seems like a good series. However, I am hoping that you will still be able to help me out. I just started blogging and I want to automatically send new posts to my social media networks (Facebook, Twitter, etc.). I notice that you both use Facebook. I was wondering if you use any apps that will automatically do this for you? Thanks so much!

  21. I wish you would do more tips! I'm trying to revamp my blog (went on hiatus after my last child) and would love to learn how to get more followers as I start this thing back up. Tip Tuesday seems rocking! I'll bookmark this page and cruise through your other posts.