Flowers, Books, and NANOWRIMO

Flowers, Books, and NANOWRIMO

Flowers for that added love and color from Tom

November is an exciting month for writers and authors. NANOWRIMO. Every November – newbie writers and multi-published authors from all over the world make a commitment to write a 50,000-word novel. The GOAL is to write 50k words for the month. Essentially a first draft. Some might go on to write more words but the goal is to get that 50k. I’ll be joining in the fun on my own, as I revise my WIP (Work in Progress) The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin.

For the writers out there you know the saying that “good writing is all about rewriting.” I’m currently on my tenth draft of my next book. This one’s a big revision – more than fine-tuning the romantic bits and bobs. Writers are always looking to improve our craft. With that in mind, I signed up for the Westport’s Advanced Fiction Writing Group. This is a great critique group led by the talented editor, Adele Annesi. The critiques are mega helpful. I also took an amazing online course October 1-4  with New York Times Bestselling author, Kristan Higgins, Setting as CharacterFantastic. If you’re interested, you can check out the online courses on the CTRWA (Connecticut Chapter of the Romance Writers of America).

But writers also know that in between the rewrites you need to regenerate your imagination and your body. I like to play my guitar—I’m working on building those old calluses again. And my piano too, even if it’s only to tickle the ivories for a few minutes. Walk every day with Tom Claus (my hubby) and Ed, our ninety-three-year-old inspiration, and ballroom dance with my instructor, Henry, sometimes with Tom, that’s the best, really gets my heart pumping. And of course, Tom gives me flowers to inspire me as I write.

Oh, was I talking about writing?

My work-in-progress or WIP, The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin has taken about two years (and counting). One day at a time, one scene at a time. I am also constantly reading one of my hundreds, but who’s counting, craft books, like all those Thesaurus books and Emotional Beats by Nicholas C. Rossis. Which sometimes sends me down a different path in my writing. I will let you know when my Gilded Age Mistresses: The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin is ready for you.

I will be delirious when I type THE END.

Gail Ingis Claus is an author, artist/painter and interior designer. Her upcoming romance The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin will be released in spring 2018. Her current historical romance, Indigo Sky can be purchased on amazon.

A work of art



Tag, You’re It.

Tag, You’re It.

Brite Brilliance  16×20″

When I was a kid, hearing the word “tag” meant it was my turn to find and tag the kids who were hiding, with ‘you’re it’. In baseball, if you get tagged running the bases, uh-oh, you’re out.

These days, I’m dealing with different kinds of tags – dialog tags in my writing. Let me tell you that the hide and seek tags were a whole lot easier than these pesky dialog ones. When I first began writing, I was told that tags are meant to let the reader know who is talking: he said, she said, etc. But having written and published one book, and writing my second, I decided to review the system. In my efforts to be a better writer I began wondering about all the rules and when and how to break them.

The “Less is More” motto has always been my mantra. It’s touched all parts of my life including my career as an interior designer and my work as an artist/painter. My painting Brite Brilliance (on the left) could have included a lot more in the foreground like a tree or trees, people, animals, taller plants, and shrubs,. But I decided that “less is more”. I wanted the eye to focus on “the big picture” and so this is the result. And guess what? I sold Brite Brilliance in no time at all.

Thumbs up! For Johnson’s tags.

Here’s the scoop. According to an article by D.M Johnson, He Said, She Said: Dialog Tags and Using them Effectively, on Scribophile. Simplicity is key. Johnson writes that the “less is more” approach is better than all the alternative creative ways of saying “said” i.e. “agreed”, “countered”, “offered”, “argued”.  Let alone those pesky adverbs: gently, quietly, softly – she said softly, he said quietly. Dialog tags like “he growled”, “she exclaimed, he replied, etc. Tags that try to be heroic are deceptively dragging your reader out of the story. Those tags are stopgaps, disruptions and a way to ensure that an editor, agent or publisher will toss your manuscript into the garbage. They usually check your dialog first, if they see all those fancy tags, they go no further. You’ve been tagged a reject.

A way to see: How does your brain see this image? Is this about two profiles in black or a goblet in white?

Johnson says that dialogue tags (or speech tags) are like signposts, attributing written dialogue to characters. Dialogue tags don’t need to be fancy, splashy, or self-conscious. Their primary purpose is to show which characters speak and when. The greater the number of characters involved in a scene, the more important the frequency and positioning of tags becomes.

Adding adjectives and adverbs to tags to provide specific information about the speaker or the speech—she asked warily; he said innocently. These are called adverbial tags. Sometimes adding an adverb to a tag can be useful, a quick way to indicate a mannerism or emotion (she said quickly; he said coldly) without drawing it into a longer, descriptive sentence. As a caveat, it’s frequently suggested in writing advice columns and books that such tags be used with a careful hand; an adverb can make a tag more obvious and remind people they’re reading a story instead of experiencing it. Still, published authors use them when it fits the situation.

You can apply this motto to everyday life. When you’re organizing your home office, decorating your living room, putting together an outfit for a job interview or a night on the town. Remember, “less is more”.

For more information on dialogue tags check out DM Johnson’s article. She has a ton of great stuff to say.

D.M. Johnson is a published author and an editor dedicated to helping writers achieve their goals. Her background includes a BS in English and marketing. She provides editing and critique services through, offers specialty publishing for unique projects, and teaches writing classes online.

Gail Ingis Claus is an author, artist/painter and interior designer. Her upcoming romance The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin will be released in the spring 2018. Her current historical romance, Indigo Sky can be purchased on amazon.

Click the image! Linked to my Amazon author page


Click the image!. A work of art, linked to my Facebook page





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