What Not to Write #1: Dialogue

What Not to Write is a series I'm starting in which I post my opinions on the no-can-do's in writing. A new one will be posted every Monday. Please remember that these posts are completely my opinion and totally subjective. There are always exceptions to the rule. This is just meant to be a fun way to share writing tips.

Today's topic is dialogue. 

Now, to me, dialogue is one of the most important aspects of a novel. It's not only your main character's voice, but even more importantly it's every other character's voice, the minor ones that you don't get to see inside their head. If I read novels with unbelievable, unrealistic dialogue that no one would say, then I automatically just cannot love the book as much, even if everything else is fantastic. 

-Excessively use character's names in dialogue 
-Use text speak in dialogue
-Use language that's too formal

So the whole name bit. Nothing gets on my nerves more than when character's feel the need to almost never say there names out loud. It's redundant. Now, I understand if the characters are in a large group, are looking for each other, it's a personal scene, etc. But just in basic conversation, I don't understand the purpose or reason.

In my book, Miles To Go, I am guilty of using the names more than I'd like to admit. I don't know why we writers are such suckers for this one! It's like we think it sounds good. And it usually does sound fine. It's just one of those things that when you start thinking about it, it makes no sense.

Text Speak
Just please don't. The ocasional OMG is okay if it's tasteful and the situation calls for it. But no LOL or ROFL or LMAO or BRB or whatever other text speak there is that I probably don't even know about. It just makes your writing seem immature. 

Words that I do approve of and think make the writing sound more realistic are works like gonna and wanna. Because, let's face it, who actually says they're going to do something?

You don't want your sixteen-year-old main character to sound forty. And this tends to be a problem I've noticed with adult writers, where their main characters are super mature sounding. And it is such a fine line, because you can't make us sound like that, but you can't dumb teenagers down either.

So those are just a few tips I have for you. If you want a more audio/visual, this topic is one I basically covered in my last Sleepless Writers video. So check it out, and stay tuned for another What Not To Write coming at you next Monday!

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Waiting on Rage Within by Jeyn Roberts

 “Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine to shine a spotlight on upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

Rage Within
by Jeyn Roberts
Release Date:September 4, 2012

In this apocalyptic sequel to Dark Inside"'s "well-balanced, realistic suspense" (Kirkus Reviews"), four teens continue the struggle for survival as they face a world gone mad. Aries, Clementine, Michael, and Mason have survived the first wave of the apocalypse that wiped out most of the world's population and turned many of the rest into murderous Baggers. Now they're hiding out in an abandoned house in Vancouver with a ragtag group of fellow teen survivors, trying to figure out their next move.

Aries is trying to lead, but it's hard to be a leader when there are no easy answers and every move feels wrong. Clementine is desperate to find her brother Heath, but it's impossible to know where he'd be, assuming he's alive. Michael is haunted by the memories of his actions during his harrowing struggle to survive. And Mason is struggling with something far worse: the fear that he may be a danger to his friends.

As the Baggers begin to create a new world order, these four teens will have to trust and rely on each other in order to survive.

I'm just so excited for the sequel to Jeyn's crazy series. If you haven't read Dark Inside, definitely check it out. You will not be disappointed!

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In Honor by Jessi Kirby

Hours after her brother’s military funeral, Honor opens the last letter Finn ever sent. In her grief, she interprets his note as a final request and spontaneously decides to go to California to fulfill it.

Honor gets as far as the driveway before running into Rusty, Finn’s best friend since third grade and his polar opposite. She hasn’t seen Rusty in ages, but it’s obvious he is as arrogant and stubborn as ever—not to mention drop-dead gorgeous. Despite Honor’s better judgment, the two set off together on a voyage from Texas to California. Along the way, they find small and sometimes surprising ways to ease their shared loss and honor Finn’s memory—but when shocking truths are revealed at the end of the road, will either of them be able to cope with the consequences?

I've been excited about this book since I've heard about it. And I was not disappointed! In Honor is a quick summer read that balances both the fun and heaviness of the topics wonderfully.

First off--road trip. HELL. YES. Like I've said before, road trips are so underused in YA and it's one of my all time favorite settings, so when I find one I just eat it up. I think it's the perfect setting to capture that emotional journey that YA readers crave--while simultaneously pairing it with the physical journey. With In Honor, Honor and Rusty are on a trip from Texas to California. Along the way, they end up at a campground in New Mexico and Sedona. I loved the detours and roadblocks and honestly just the time spent in the car. I just love road trips.

While I loved the plot, parts of it seemed a little too well contrived, and that's the only reason I bumped off half a star. Like, I absolutely adored the whole Finn plot. It was so sad, but so well done. Honor's brother Finn died in the military. I could feel how much Honor missed Finn and how much she loved him, and throughout I could tell how much he loved her too. Once you throw in the whole Kyra Kelley thing though, everything just seemed to fall into place too well. In the last letter Finn sent Honor, he included tickets to singer Kyra Kelley's farewell show. So Honor goes on this trip in the first place to see and hopefully meet Kyra Kelley and talk to her about Finn. I don't want to give too much away, but certain things happened along the way that just seemed too perfect. 

So much character love though. Honor was so complex. Jessi Kirby did the irrational behavior due to grief so well with her. And how memories of Finn kept popping up. But Honor wasn't depressing all the time either. She was funny and sarcastic and smart, and just all together a well developed character. I felt with her, but I never thought she was too whiny or felt sorry for her either. So that was good.

And then there's Rusty. Oh my goodness Rusty. So much Rusty love. He's the guy I always fall for in books. The sexy, tortured soul who acts like an ass but is sweet underneath. *Sigh*. And then there's the fact that he's freaking based off of Tim Riggins from Friday Night Lights, so I basically have Taylor Kitsch sexiness in my head throughout the whole book which only made me love Rusty more. And I loved seeing the relationship development between Rusty and Honor. Because it was a slow, ongoing process. One that went from hate to dislike to maybe like to super like. It was adorable.

So overall this book was fantastic. Definitely recommend.
4.5 Stars.

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Giveaway Winner!

First off, hi to all my new followers!
I saw when I got home from camp that I broke 400, which is so awesome! Ah!
So hi everyone, and welcome to The Write Words

The winner of the launch giveaway is...

I'll be sending you an email.
You have 48 hours to respond :)

Thanks again to everyone who entered and I hope to see you around the blog!

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Waiting On Speechless by Hannah Harrington

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine to shine a spotlight on upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

by Hannah Harrington
Release Date: August 28, 2012

The story of a girl named Chelsea Knot who takes a voluntary oath of silence after her gossip-mongering ways yield unexpected consequences… 
Saying she’s sorry isn’t enough.

I'm a huge fan of Hannah Harrington! Her debut Saving June blew me away and is forever one of my favorite books. so I cannot wait to see what else she has in store!

What are you waiting on?

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Teens Should Sound Like Teens!

Hey Everyone! My sleepless writers video for this week is all on the importance of making sure your teenage main characters actually sound like teenagers. Enjoy!

Be sure to subscribe to the Sleepless Writers channel and check out the other videos! We have a hilarious variety of vloggers including a Brit, two Aussies, a moose, and a dude. Mucho accents all around! And just a lot of hilarity and insight to writing. I'm learning a lot from my fellow sleepless writers and friends, and it's such a fun project, so be sure to check out us sommies!

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The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

Old Cover Love Forever

a long, hot summer...
That's what Macy has to look forward to while her boyfriend, Jason, is away at Brain Camp. Days will be spent at a boring job in the library, evenings will be filled with vocabulary drills for the SATs, and spare time will be passed with her mother, the two of them sharing a silent grief at the traumatic loss of Macy's father.  
But sometimes unexpected things can happen—things such as the catering job at Wish, with its fun-loving, chaotic crew. Or her sister's project of renovating the neglected beach house, awakening long-buried memories. Things such as meeting Wes, a boy with a past, a taste for Truth-telling, and an amazing artistic talent, the kind of boy who could turn any girl's world upside down. As Macy ventures out of her shell, she begins to wonder, Is it really better to be safe than sorry?

The Truth About Forever is probably my all-time favorite Sarah Dessen book. The first time I read it was the summer after seventh grade. I was thirteen, and on a full-out Sarah Dessen kick. Three summers later, and like four or five re-reads later, I can still say with confidence that this is one of the best books I have ever read. In fact, the older I get, the more I love and appreciate The Truth About Forever and every aspect in it. Every word. Every scene. Every moment. 

Macy's dad died. A year and a half later, everyone is still coping with the loss in different ways. Caroline, Macy's older sister has grieved and is ready to remember. Her mother throws herself into her work in order to feel in control. And Macy just keeps everything in, trying so desperately hard to be perfect, or at least her definition of it. She's built a wall, and on some levels can't everyone relate to that. How people feel that maintaining perfect on the outside will hide the less-than-perfect inside. Watching Macy start working at Wish, and taking risks, and see her change as the novel progresses is so wonderful. You root for Macy from the start, and even when she pisses you off, you continue to root for her until the end.

Macy starts working at Wish, a catering business run by a frazzled--and pregnant--Delia. Wish is the chaos that Macy unexplainably needs in her life, and she finds herself loving the disorganization of working there. Along with Wish we get an array of lovable characters. Kristy is one of my all time favorite characters. Just her whole attitude about forever, how it's both short and long and how it's all in the few. Also, she has made the word "tragical" a part of my vocabulary. And then there's her sister Monica, and her "mmhmm" and "donnevens." And then there's Bert, the adorable in you just want to pinch his cheek kind of way, Armageddon obsessed one. And then there's Wes.

Wes. Wesley. Just, like, let me love you. Okay? The thing about Wes, is that he's so much more than just a pretty face. And it's so refreshing, the depth there is to that boy. Him and Macy's interactions were always so adorable, watching their friendship develop through playing Truth, Macy realizing that they might have more in common than she thought. And the thing about Wes is that while he's not perfect by any means, he has a past, but he doesn't even know how fantastic he is. He's so humble and honest and just sa Kristy says it best, how he's one of those extraordinary boys. "Quiet and incredible." 

Of course, the writing itself is amazing as well. Sarah Dessen has this way of taking simple words--the words we think but don't say--and making them beautiful. Her prose is something to be jealous of, the dialogue witty and fun and so realistic. God, sometimes I wish I could just BE Sarah Dessen. *bows down*

So yeah. Please do yourselves a favor and read this book. Even if you've read other Dessen books and they weren't your favorite. Or if you've been wanting to read it, but have been putting it off. Read it now, please God I'm begging you. 

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Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

From the Flying Start author of Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour, a powerful novel about hope in the face of heartbreak. 

Taylor Edwards’ family might not be the closest-knit—everyone is a little too busy and overscheduled—but for the most part, they get along just fine. Then Taylor’s dad gets devastating news, and her parents decide that the family will spend one last summer all together at their old lake house in the Pocono Mountains. 

Crammed into a place much smaller and more rustic than they are used to, they begin to get to know each other again. And Taylor discovers that the people she thought she had left behind haven’t actually gone anywhere. Her former best friend is still around, as is her first boyfriend…and he’s much cuter at seventeen than he was at twelve. 

As the summer progresses and the Edwards become more of a family, they’re more aware than ever that they’re battling a ticking clock. Sometimes, though, there is just enough time to get a second chance—with family, with friends, and with love.

I was already a huge fan of Morgan Matson from the get-go. Her debut Amy and Roger's Epic Detour is one of my all-time favorite books ever. I loved the adventure, seeing the country through Amy and Roger's eyes, and watching their relationship develop. Second Chance Summer goes in a totally different direction. It's consistent with gorgeous writing and a fantastic cast of characters. But this story is grounded in family, and is such a beautiful heart wrenching book about love and loss.

Let me just say this first. I KNEW it was coming. She tells you it's coming. Yet--when it happened, I was still sobbing like a baby. 

Taylor Edwards runs when things get tough. That is so, so relatable for so many people. But Taylor runs in a literal sense as well as metaphorical, avoiding confrontation at all costs. And as a result, one small problem accumulates over years and years, becoming so much bigger than it ever needed to be. Who can't relate to that? I loved watching Taylor develop throughout the novel and become a better friend, sister, and daughter, and seeing her realize that it's worth sticking around.

Matson's ability to develop relationships and simultaneously weave them all together always amazes me. Watching Taylor re-form old friendships--and showing how it wasn't easy to do so. I adored Taylor's childhood best friend, Lucy. And Henry. Such a sweetheart. He was a little TOO nice for my personal taste, but I still loved him. AND THANK YOU for being pissed with Taylor at first. But yes, so many feels with them. And the tree house. There's a tree house. That is all I'm saying.

Okay, Marisa. Stop talking about the cuteness. Because the root of the this story is so emotional. And horribly tragic. Because it's not a story that just revolves around Taylor's summer and fixing all the relationships she broke. It's also a story about cancer, and dealing with it's effects. And I should've learned what they do to me after The Fault in our Stars, but of course it didn't. Watching the decline of Taylor's father, seeing how the different family members reacted to it. But mostly, seeing how Taylor reacted to it, because she was closest to her father. Just thinking about it as I'm typing this is making me emotional. 

Taking a turn away from the emotion... *wipes tear*... Thank you Morgan Matson for well written flashbacks! I already knew you were awesome at this from Amy and Roger's, but these flashbacks were even better! Usually, I dread flashbacks because when they're bad they can take away from the story. But these totally added to the story in every possible way. So much love.

I am continually impressed with Morgan Matson, and I can't wait to see what she comes up with next! I could rave on and on about her and her books for pages, I swear!

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Where's Marisa Been? (Shown Through Instagram)

A Brief Update of Happenings in my Life:

1) Writing Like a Fool (& eating Chex Mix)
I'm so close to finishing my current work in progress, titled Miles to Go. I'll talk more about it in another post. But it's a road trip story leading to New York with an interesting set of characters, and emotional subplots. It's been my favorite story to write, and honestly the easiest.

2) Working
Yes, I am employed. At TJ Maxx. Not a bad job, to be honest. And it's nice making money.

3) Going to the beach
This is the moment where I brag that I live 5 minutes away from the beach.

4) Spending Time With Family
This is my cousin, Olivia. Ignore my face and stare at her adorable-ness

5) Youtube. Mostly vlogbrothers
 So, John Green favorited my tweet of this screen cap. It pretty much made my life. See the tweet here.

6) Watching Netflix
 Thank God for Netflix. Right now it's Friday Night Lights, and it's so good. Can I just say TIM RIGGINS LET ME LOVE YOU?

Apart from that of course there's reading and spending time with friends and the works.
There's also mucho summer work.
I'm taking three AP classes in the fall. Shoot me now.

The majority of these pictures were taken with Instagram. I am obsessed! If you have one you can follow me here. And be sure to leave yours so I can follow you!

So, how've you guys been spending your summer?

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A Transformation and a GIVEAWAY

Hi everyone! The huge major changes are here.
Notice anything different?
A LOT to different.

Change is good my friends, and I hope you like these changes.

1) Title Change
This blog is now The Write Words

2) Blog Address Change
Note that the new address is marisaloveswords.blogspot.com

Thanks again to my fabulous friend and blog designer Laura over at Howdy Girl Designs, I have a crisp new layout. It definitely has the more calm sophisticated look I was going for. I love it and I hope you do too. So if you ever need a layout, go to Laura!

One thing to note is that page navigation is no longer at the top.
Instead it's to the right under my short bio --->

Book reviews are back! And since I'm going to student council camp, look forward to an entire week of reviews next week to make up from the lack of.

More writing series are to come:
1) What Not To Write: My opinion on some of the no-no's of writing
2) Snip-its of my Writing
3) I would also love to start featuring some of YOUR writing

So yeah. Sorry for the big hiatus, but life happend. I'm back now and (hopefully) better than ever!
Let me know what else you'd like to see on The Write Words

Of course a giveaway comes along with the new layout.
A pre-order of a book of your choice from The Book Depository.
So spread the word!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hope you like the layout, and be sure to leave a comment letting me know what you think/what you'd like to see!

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