Don’t Be Afraid to Leave Dialogue on The Cutting Room Floor; You Can Use It Later

Okay, so you know how you end up writing several pages whether it’s your character’s inner dialogue or between two or more characters, only to find that you need to cut, cut, and cut some more? But what if some of that dialogue is important either to the storyline or the development of the character? I’ve come across this issue in the past, and I am dealing with it as I write chapter 8 of Game of Power.  What I found out is that sometimes certain scenes, detail, or dialogue is unnecessary for what the storyline calls for at the moment. Having too much text that doesn’t further along anything at the time can weigh the momentum of the story down. However, the same informational dialogue could be essential for your character’s development. I’ve often had to cut it and add it later either by presenting it differently through the same person, giving the lines to someone else or inserting it in a different chapter. Be careful when adding back in specific details or text so that it doesn’t seem unnatural. Make sure it still flows and doesn’t look out of the ordinary or just placed there for filler purposes.

For example, in my first story Reagan Leeds: Run The World (I won’t give any spoilers away for those who haven’t read it) it was very dialogue heavy and a lot of the chapters were lengthy. Towards the end, there were important conversations that needed to be held between Reagan and other characters that were essential to her story, not just that but required for their development. I had to cut some of Reagan’s inner thoughts and turn them into a conversation she had with someone. Because how would this person know what was on her mind as she was struggling with a family crisis? If I let Reagan drone on and on for an entire page, it would’ve slowed down the pace, but have her openly express her thoughts with others allowed for meaningful banter and things she was able to absorb and reflect on.

I admit many of my chapters could’ve been more heavily edited, but as I grew as a writer, I learned to do these tricks and tips, so the story didn’t come to a complete halt when we got inside Reagan’s head or even some of the other characters who had their POVs.

More recently, in GOP chapter 1.2 The Games Begin when Rico is telling his assistant Cressida about the sexual harassment scandal with Grazier Technology, initially, that was all apart of his inner dialogue and he was only talking to the audience. I needed a way to pull that out and show his relationship as a boss with an employee who’s more than just an employee. Cressida is his go-to person; she knows Rico so well. It also established what Cressida’s role was at Thomas Global Strategies and we can see how things work a bit in their work environment.

I know this was a long post, but I was inclined to write it as I think about the editing process once I’m done with my chapter 8 draft. I’m not in a rush to push the speed of Bella’s story, and her relationships with her family don’t need to be detailed entirely right away. I can give the reader an idea of the Vega family dynamic without dragging out the scene unnecessarily. I hope you enjoy chapter 8.

Thanks and Happy Writing!

-Camille

Go Rogue Go Raw or Go Home

Okay, big words as I sit here typing this with a glass a cabernet at just ten after eleven on a Tuesday night protected in my self-made gilded cage. Part of me realizes that writing takes me out of that cage and open to exploring people and topics I am otherwise uncomfortable with when hiding out when I was too scared in the past to allow things that tested my conscience and my faith. As a writer, I know we want to be heard and connect with our audience, at least that’s what I’ve always been told. Yes, I think you should know your audience and appealing to them is certainly a part of the overall “guiding light” to be a great writer. I don’t think we should get so hung up on creating stories or characters we think the masses will flock to. As I began my new project Reign: A Game of Power I knew out the gate I was writing a story I felt an intense desire to tell. I created characters that I felt were realistic and complex like real humans. Not everyone in this world is likable, no one is perfect, and sometimes we do some really messed up things to ourselves and others, myself included. I felt like I had an obligation to be as real and raw as possible. Did I expect people to dislike some of my characters, yes I did, but I didn’t want to sugar coat anything. Do I expect to get backlash for some of my future storylines and subject matter? Yes, I do, and that’s okay because I’m doing a disservice not only to myself but my readers if the only material I put out contains characters and plots that are Disney-perfect. It underestimates the intelligence of the reader when you try to handle the serious subject matter with kid gloves.

I implore anyone who reads this not to get caught up in making characters that are always likable, above reproach and darn near perfect. Do the opposite of what’s expected. Maybe the star of your novel is a sex-crazed foul mouth bitch who sleeps with other women’s husbands, but she’s a really good detective  trying to solve her brother’s murder (shameless plug see my character Bella’s bio here), Or maybe your protagonist is a major power player who will sacrifice his scruples to get what he wants. Sure, some of my characters are more likable than others, and some are entirely vile, I know this, and I’m the one writing it, but what I like about each one is that they’re all human with many layers. We’re hypocritical, we’re liars, we step on the little people to get ahead, we can be ruthlessly pragmatic, and sometimes we have sex people for some material gain; maybe we’re not on the street corner doing it, but the exchange can go down in many ways. However, even if some of us are all those things and some of my characters are all those things, the possibility of goodness is not automatically or eternally erased. I write this all to say if you’re not going to be honest in your writing, what’s the point in doing it? Don’t be afraid of harsh criticism or potential backlash. Be raw, be bold, but don’t be scared to put yourself out there because it makes you uncomfortable.

Okay, that’s it for this collection of rambling thoughts. I’m not quite done with my cab and I want to pull up Netflix and watch my favorite snobs Frasier and Niles. ‘Until we talk again.

-Camille.

Meet Det. Bella Vega, One of the Players of A Game of Power

Bella has the Knowledge Aspiration

 

Bella has the Ambitious, Self-Assured, and Active Traits

Detective Bella Vega is the first Black Latina of Puerto Rican descent to named a head detective in the San Myshuno Narcotics Unit. She is highly decorated and has been with the department right out of college. Bella comes from a long family line of cops.

Through her hard work and ruthless ambition, Bella has risen in the ranks within the department. Not fast enough for her, however. She believes she should have made lieutenant already for that would surely put her on track to become Chief of Detectives once the current chief retired in a few years. Bella will have a tough road ahead of her, as not only is she up against more experienced officers in higher positions, but her superior, Staff Sgt Det Hartley Fullerton; whom she is having an affair with is also in the pool. Bella knows she is at the very bottom of names that could be considered in a few years because she has not been in her current position as long as some of the other candidates and she is the only female detective in a historically sexist male-dominated department.

Initially, Bella became a cop to impress her father, as he was still on the force at the time. One of her older brothers, Miguel had been killed in the line of duty the year before she graduated college and entered the academy. She was never good at expressing her emotions, and she wanted to in her own way comfort her dad and make him proud. But her efforts are forever lost on him. Her father, Juan, was a decorated officer when he retired. He never encouraged or approved of Bella becoming a cop and told her to get a regular office job after college, the same he told her sisters. Juan has sexist tendencies and doesn’t believe women need to be in uniform, they didn’t have the strength for a police job, and they lacked logic and ran on pure emotion.

The department investigated for years to bring down a most wanted cop killer, but at every turn, they came to a dead end and got nowhere. The more years that go by, Bella knows it will be harder to find out who killed Miguel. He was brutally beaten nearly beyond recognition once his cover was blown and before they killed him. She has taken it upon herself to investigate. In the back of her mind, if Bella found her brother’s killer, her father would finally accept her as an officer and give his approval.

Not only has Bella had to deal with sexism at her job, but the more covert racial microaggressions by some officers on the force with her. The San Myshuno Police Department has recently made more of an effort to recruit officers of color to bring into the unit, hoping to ease the very tense race relations between the Black and Latino communities. There are some who feel as Bella received her promotion because she was a double minority- a woman and a person of color. Bella is not interested in the racial politics of the department. While some officers do hold prejudice views, it’s not all, and of the ones who have been passive aggressive with Bella and other officers of color, Bella gives it right back to them and doesn’t take the bull people try to throw her way. She’s not interested in equality for all; she is only interested in furthering her career.

Bella sleeps with men, whether married or not when it’s expedient for her and if it will help get what she needs for her career. She suffers from sex addiction, but as an addict, she doesn’t always need a reason for her next conquest and no promise of favor earned. It was either sex or drinking, and she almost had an incident a few years back due to alcohol abuse, that if she hadn’t slept with one of her superiors, it would have gone on her record and messed with her chances for a promotion.

Bella’s married, lover Det Hartley Fullerton has had it hard at times as well from some of the fellow officers. Due to the significant level of backlash the department has received in recent years from accusations of police brutality and excessive force, the department sought to place more officers of color on the force and promote from within their ranks. Some feel as if Hartley was a beneficiary of “an Affirmative Action promotion.” In truth, Hartley knows as a black man and the SMPD wanting to ease race relations; he was given the promotion to staff sergeant faster than was routine. But he didn’t doubt his capabilities because he was highly skilled, educated and he was great at police work. If his color were the reason for his promotion, Hartley would never allow anyone to say that he didn’t deserve it; they could think it, but not say it.

Bella has several personal vices and dark secrets that must be kept. As her thirst for power, respect from her father and finding her brother’s killer grows, the more she is tasked with making decisions that would violate the oath took as an officer of the law. It’s not easy to stop, how can she give up now when so many things have been working in her favor? Can Bella handle it? She must if she wants to survive the game of power.

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Character Generators

Hey everyone, check out the new section on the Resources page on this blog right here. I have added some helpful links to character generator sites. These sites that help give you ideas for new characters or to help you develop new ones. Maybe you need help coming up with personalities, traits, backgrounds, etc. Check it out and Happy Simming!

Character Personality Generator

Character Generator

Character Design Inspiration

Postive and Negative Trait Table

Show & Tell

Great tips on how to improve your writing. The vlogger makes some excellent points. Check out the video in the link!

7 Tips to Improve Your Writing

 

“Showing and Telling”. Often in writing, we know when a character is angry or sad. You can write: Sarah was upset.

Okay, great, she’s upset, but is there a better way to show us that she was upset? Did she bang her fist on the table or clinch it? Was her face distorted? What were her movements? Did she run away, slam the door, and storm out the room? These are all things we as authors want to show our audience. I know for the Sims, we can see visually, but don’t rely on pictures only to tell your story. Write as if this was a traditional novel, without any pictures.

Happy Simming!