Life’s A Pitch

Life’s A Pitch

Public speaking is held as one of the top ten fears in people’s minds. But it doesn’t have to be.

I’ll be talking on how building professional speaking skills can improve your writing success at May’s meeting of the Nonfiction Authors Association.

If you write nonfiction please join us. I’ll be sharing my Writers Toolbox:

P – Preparation, Practice, Presence

I – Information

T – Tales, Techniques

C – Connect

H – Hook.

Join me Wednesday, May 31, 6:00 pm at Rediscovered Books downtown Boise.

See you there…

Sherry Briscoe


4 Ways Dialogue Can Go Wrong

4 Ways Dialogue Can Go Wrong

Having a hard time writing dialogue? Here are some ways it can go wrong, and what to do about it.

  1. TRIVIAL. When characters talk to each other, the reader doesn’t need to listen to the trivial, or unimportant things we all say to each other. We ask about the weather, chat about the inconsequential details of our days, or just generally avoid talking about anything of substance. That type of dialogue clogs your storytelling and drags down the pace. Cut the trivial and only leave the meat of the discussion.
  2. BORING. Even once you’ve cut the trivial junk, dialogue can still be boring. Deep philosophical discussions, complicated explanations, and dry, technical explanations all bore the reader. Instead, enliven the discussions with conflict, disagreements, or something that leaves the reader wondering what happens next. Think of each bit of dialogue as conflict brought to the surface of the story. Build a tiny narrative arc into each set of dialogue.
  3. UNBELIEVABLE. After eliminating trivial and boring dialogue, you’ve still got to make sure it’s believable. Would the characters actually SAY that? When a character is too foolish, too opinionated, too extreme, then you have to wonder if it rings true to the reader. It’s a fine line to walk: you want the characters to be bold and bigger-than-live, but you must make those huge characters believable.
  4. TOO FORMAL. Another thing that can go wrong is the wrong level of formality. While the principal of a school may talk formally, probably your character’s voice will come through in a more informal way. Use contractions. Shorten sentences and use sentence fragments. Leave out the fancy words and let your characters loosen the ties and corsets.

Dialogue is crucial and you can easily get it right with practice. Cut the trivial and boring, make sure the dialogue is believable, and let the characters relax. Don’t let a reader close a book after one chapter just because you blew the dialogue.

The 12 Steps of Fiction Writers Anonymous

The 12 Steps of Fiction Writers Anonymous

Is writing a passion, an addiction, or both? Find out how it affects you and get tips to become a published author without upsetting the balance of your life in this fun, entertaining, and interactive workshop.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Library! at Cole and Ustick, 7557 W. Ustick Rd, Boise

Noon to 1:00 pm

Free workshop for teens and adults.

How To Write Body Language

How To Write Body Language

While dialogue says a lot, your character’s body can say more.

Here are 5 things to consider with body language:

  1. Use body language to add depth to your dialogue.
  2. More than 50% of human communication is non-verbal.
  3. It shows how your character’s emotions affect his actions.
  4. It helps to show rather than tell.
  5. Use it in moderation. If overused, it can slow your story down.

Some examples of emotions portrayed through body language:

Impatience – nod quickly, tap fingers, sigh, check the clock, tap feet, increase pitch in voice, look away

Jealousy – tight lips, sour expression, narrow eyes, crossed arms

Reluctance – cross arms, make fists, drag feet, pinch nose, put hands over ears

Shock – hands over mouth, mouth open, gasp, freeze and stare with wide eyes and raised eyebrows, smack palm against forehead, step back


Writing Contest

Writing Contest

The Idaho Writers Guild is sponsoring their annual writing contest and YOU can enter. No membership required, no restrictions. This contest is open to everyone everywhere!

So pull out your work, dust it off, and send it in.

Deadline is March 5, 2017.

Categories include:

  • Short Story
  • Novel first 10 pages
  • Non-fiction (either memoir or essay)

go to for all the juicy details and hurry, time is running out!

$100 for the first place winner in each category, and $50 to each second place winner. Plus all entries receive the judges scorecards with valuable feedback.

3 Ways to Mark Time

3 Ways to Mark Time
  1. A character’s interior perception of time passing. Maybe your character has an internal clock that never fails them.
  2. Creating setting details which evoke time. Spring or winter. The first flowers blooming in the garden. The last leaf falling from the tree.
  3. Transitions from scene to scene. “The next day…” “She looked at the clock beside her bed, 4:30 am, just as good of time as any to get up.”

5 Writing Tips

5 Writing Tips
  1. Write about your writing tasks. The secret of writing is…writing. Writers write. It sounds funny, but write about your writing. It gets you writing! Write what you’re happy about, what you’re mad or sad about. Write! Write what you did today, or what you wanted to do today.
  2. Take your writing with you. I always have a notepad or my iPad with me so I can write notes and ideas. Write names you hear, places you see, or just a scene in a restaurant you witness. Write in bits and pieces, then later you can add it in where it fits.
  3. Draw something. Adult coloring books are all the craze right now, have some color pencils in your bag and be ready to doodle anytime the words don’t come. Keep the creativity flowing.
  4. Use your imagination. It’s a powerful thing. Let it run free like a small kid jumping into rain puddles. Just let your mind wander and see where it goes. Don’t worry about it, just have fun with it.
  5. Create a happiness list. You really are as happy as you decide to be. If you’re miserable, think about the things that make you happy, and create a happiness list. Focus on at least one happy thing a day. It will change your entire outlook.

Sherry Briscoe – Gypsywriters –