Wednesday, October 7, 2015

#IWSG Be Inspired

Hi everyone! 

Life in general has been a bit hectic these past few month, which has left me little time to fret over writing. So this month, for IWSG, I'm keeping things simple and sharing a few inspirational quotes that keep me going. I hope you enjoy them.

Found on

And one more for fun (and because I truly hope it's true) ...

Do any of these quotes resonate with you? How's life in your neck of the woods? 

Thanks to Alex and our co-hosts for keeping IWSG going. For those who aren't familiar with Insecure Writer's Support Group, just follow the link. It's a wonderful group. 

Friday, October 2, 2015

It's All About the Dialogue - 10 Tips for Writing Realistic Dialogue

I love writing dialogue. Done well, dialogue brings a scene alive, builds characters, and advances the plot. But just as great dialogue can pull a reader into a story, bad dialogue can snap a reader out of the scene and have them putting the book down. Below are ten tips to help you create realistic dialogue no matter what genre you write.
  1. Writing realistic dialogue starts with knowing your characters and their world. Sex, age, social status, location and genre have to be considered. Once you know who your characters are, you’re ready to begin.
  2. I like to start by eavesdropping on conversations around me, but I don’t just listen to what’s being said and neither should you. Pay attention to the cadence of the speaker’s voice, word choice, facial expressions, and gestures. Study these same things when you watch your favorite TV series and movies. Stop to think about what you like and dislike about the dialogue in the books you read.
  3. Keep sentences short and succinct. People talk in clipped sentences. Reflect this in your writing.
  4. Break up dialogue with action that helps to convey emotion, mood, or grounds the reader in the scene.  This is where paying attention to people’s actions comes in handy.
  5. Avoid info dumps. Dialogue that’s used as a tool to provide long blocks of back story or exposition doesn’t ring true. It comes across as forced or as the writer stepping in to provide important detail that should have been woven into the story in other ways.
  6. Only include what is important to the story. Take out boring and unnecessary dialogue.
  7. Keep tags simple. Said is overlooked, whereas words such as demanded and interjected can pull a reader out of the action. Good dialogue will convey these things.
  8. Avoid slang and too much swearing. These can date your book or alienate readers.
  9. Keep your dialogue clean. Avoid words like um, uh and oh. While realistic, it reads over the top and doesn’t look well on the page.
  10. And last but definitely not least, read your dialogue out loud. The places you stumble are the places you need to revise.
There you have it, ten tips for writing realistic dialogue. If you have any you'd like to add, please leave them in the comments.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

#IWSG Social Media Dos and Don'ts

Hi everyone! 

Don't forget to stop by Alex's blog for a special announcement. (I'm not sure what it is (since I'm typing this the day before), but I'm excited to find out!

I'll be co-hosting SCBWI Food for Thought this month with my good friends, authors Kym Brunner and Katie Sparks. Our topic is Social Media for Scaredy Cats, and my section is on Twitter. So, to have a little fun with this, I created my very first You Tube video. I'd love to get your thoughts, suggestions are welcome.

Twitter Dos and Don'ts for Writers

Are you active on Twitter, Instagram or another social media site? Do you have any pet peeves when it comes to social media? What's your favorite platform? Any suggestions for writers?

If you have a Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook account, I'd love to connect (if we haven't already)! Just leave your links in the comments, and I'll find you. Or follow my links on the side bar.

This post is part of IWSG. A big thanks to Alex Cavanaugh and our co-hosts for keeping this group going. For those who aren't familiar with Insecure Writer's Support Group, just follow the link. It's a wonderful group. 

Monday, August 31, 2015

WHO R U REALLY? by Margo Kelly in Paperback!

Nearly a year has passed since WHO R U REALLY? by Margo Kelly came out in hardback, and now, Merit Press (the YA imprint of F+W Media) is publishing a paperback version of the young adult thriller! Its official release date is September 4, 2015, and to celebrate, we’re giving away FIVE signed paperback copies! For a chance to win one, simply follow the steps below in the Rafflecopter.

About the book:

When Thea discovers a new role-playing game online, she falls under the spell of Kit, an older boy whose smarts and savvy can’t defeat his loneliness and near-suicidal despair. As Kit draws soft-hearted Thea into his drama, she creates a full plate of cover stories for her parents and then even her friends. Ripped from a true-life story, Who R U Really? will scare you as Thea’s life spins out of her control.

Read Who R U Really?

Here are a few of the exciting things that have happened since WHO R U REALLY? debuted as a hardback:

Won 1st Place in the YA Category for the Idaho Author Award

The Department of Homeland Security took notice:
DHS invited Margo to partner with the STOP. THINK. CONNECT. campaign, which is the global cyber security awareness campaign to help people stay safer and more secure online.

Librarians have applauded the story:

“This book is sure to spark a dialogue between parents and teens as well as tell an appealing cautionary tale to a younger audience and would be a good addition to any middle school, high school, or public library.” The Idaho Librarian

“With all the different trending social media out there, this book is intriguing because the story centers around a naive yet strong-willed girl who falls into the trap of an internet predator. … You will definitely want to read this book to find out what happens!” The Dallas Public Library

Praise for Who R U Really?:

"This tense thriller offers useful lessons." --The Horn Book Guide

"Based on actual events, the story should be required reading for all teens." --VOYA Magazine

"Kelly shows us just how terrifying, dangerous and unknown the world of online gaming can be--especially for a young teen.... The book is well-written and the story believable and engaging...I strongly recommend this book." --The Idaho Statesman

Now time for the give away!

About the author:

Margo Kelly is a native of the Northwest and currently resides in Idaho. A veteran public speaker, Margo is now actively pursuing her love of writing. Who R U Really? is her debut novel, published by Merit Press. The Department of Homeland Security has partnered with Margo to promote online safety. Margo welcomes opportunities to speak to youth groups, library groups, and book clubs. For more information, visit her website:
Find Margo Kelly