Seedlings by Aaron Paul Lazar

What They Say

“When your story is ready for rewrite, cut it to the bone. Get rid of every ounce of excess fat. This is going to hurt; revising a story down to the bare essentials is always a little like murdering children, but it must be done.”
—Stephen King


Aaron Paul Lazar

Aaron Paul Lazar writes to soothe his soul. A bestselling Kindle author of 22 books, including three addictive mystery series, writing books, and a new love story, Aaron enjoys the Genesee Valley countryside in upstate New York, where his characters embrace life, play with their dogs and grandkids, grow sumptuous gardens, and chase bad guys. Visit his website at http://www.lazarbooks.com and watch for his upcoming release, UNDER THE ICE. Aaron has won over 18 book awards for his novels and finds writing to be his form of "cheap therapy." Feel free to connect with him on Facebook or his website; he loves to connect with readers.


HONORABLE MENTION Eric Hoffer 2013 GRAND PRIZE * FINALIST 2013 EPIC Book Awards  * FINALIST 2012 FOREWORD BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARDS * Finalist DaVinci Eye Cover Award 2013 * WINNER 2011 EPIC Book Awards, BEST Paranormal * FINALIST 2011 FOREWORD BOOK AWARDS * WINNER 2011 Eric Hoffer BEST Book, COMMERCIAL FICTION *Carolyn Howard-Johnson's Top 10 Reads for 2012 * 2X FINALIST Global eBook Awards 2011 * Preditors & Editors Readers Choice Award – 2nd place 2011* Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s Top 10 Books of 2012 * Winner of Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s 9th Annual Noble (Not Nobel!) Prize for Literature 2011 * Finalist Allbooks Editor’s Choice Awards 2011 * Preditors&Editors Top 10 Finalist  * Yolanda Renée's Top Ten Books 2008MYSHELF Top Ten Reads 2008  * Writer’s Digest Top 101 Website Award 2009-2012

Contact Aaron at aaron(dot)lazar(at)yahoo.com.

 

Voodoo Summer (LeGarde Mysteries Book 11)
Available now at Amazon.com

VOODOO Summer by Aaron Paul Lazar

Every family has its secrets…

Summer, 1966: For thirteen-year-old Gus LeGarde, summertime always means Loon Harbor, his grandparents’ idyllic fishing resort on Great Pond. The season is a grand tradition of swimming, boating, and new adventures with his best friends, twins Siegfried and Elsbeth. But this summer, everything changes when a new lodge down the shore threatens the resort—and triggers a chain of events that will transform Gus and his friends forever.

 

 

Pre-order The Seacroft.

The Seacroft by Aaron Paul Lazar

The Seacroft: a love story (Paines Creek Beach Book 2) 1, Aaron Paul Lazar - Amazon.com

Falling for the wrong guy can be hazardous to your heart. Vivian Wood is desperate. After her beloved brother dies of a sudden aneurism and her mother develops Alzheimer’s, she needs a good job and a place to stay. She finds it at The Seacroft, a Cape Cod seaside mansion ruled by ...

 

Books by multi-award winning, Kindle bestselling author, Aaron Lazar:

LEGARDE MYSTERIES
DOUBLE FORTÉ (print, eBook, audio book)
UPSTAGED (print, eBook, audio book)  
TREMOLO: CRY OF THE LOON (print, eBook, audio book)
MAZURKA (print, eBook, audio book)
FIRESONG (print, eBook, audio book)
DON’T LET THE WIND CATCH YOU (print, eBook, audio book)
THE LIARS’ GALLERY (print, eBook, audio book)
SPIRIT ME AWAY (print, eBook, audio book)
UNDER THE ICE: COUNTERPOINT (coming soon 2015)
LADY BLUES (print, eBook, audio book)

MOORE MYSTERIES
HEALEY'S CAVE (print, eBook, audio book)
TERROR COMES KNOCKING (print, eBook, audio book)
FOR KEEPS (print, eBook, audio book)

TALL PINES MYSTERIES
FOR THE BIRDS (print, eBook, audio book)
ESSENTIALLY YOURS (print, eBook, audio book)
SANCTUARY (print, eBook, audio book)
BETRAYAL (print, eBook, audio book)

STANDALONES:

THE SEACREST (print, eBook, and audio book)
DEVIL’S LAKE (print, eBook, and audio book)
DEVIL’S CREEK (coming soon)

 

Seedlings
by Aaron Paul Lazar, author of the LeGarde Mystery Series.

picture

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Illustration © 2006 GinELF

 

June 2016

Excerpt from Write Like the Wind Volume 3 by Aaron Paul Lazar.

"Dialog Tags and Action Beats" Copyright © 2016 Aaron Paul Lazar. All rights reserved.
Excerpt from Write Like the Wind volume 3 by Aaron Paul Lazar. Re-printed by permission of the author.

Write Like the Wind volume 1 by Aaron Paul Lazar

 

Dialog Tags and Action Beats

 

When I first started writing many years ago, I exulted in every new dialog tag I could summon. I preened over "he croaked" and purred over "she grumbled." Finding new and inventive ways to write, "he said" became my quest.

My early works were peppered with gloats, murmurs, and barks. I even started a most coveted (only by me) list.

How many words can you think of to say "he said" or "she said?" Here are some, in no particular order:

Mumbled
Murmured
Expostulated
Grunted
Groaned
Whispered
Purred
Spat
Huffed
Croaked
Barked
Choked
Queried
Cackled
Harrumphed
Stuttered
Muttered
Moaned
Hissed
Grumbled
Whined
Sang
Twittered
Tittered
Griped
Yelped
Cried
Stammered
Shrieked
Crooned
Wheedled
Retorted
Pressured
Cajoled

How many more can you think of? There are probably hundreds.

...

Okay, now that you've wracked your brain for tantalizing tags, let me teach you one very important lesson.

DON'T * EVER * USE * THEM.

What? Such brilliance? Such innovative thought?

Sorry. Forget it. Never use anything but "said," "asked," or an occasional "whispered" or "mumbled."

Once in a great while, if you feel you really need it, slip in a "spat" or "croaked." But I'm here to tell you that dialog tags, for the most part, should be invisible. "Said," is invisible. "Asked," is invisible. "Barked" stops the flow of the dialog. Anything that makes your story stutter needs to be eliminated, including these juicy but totally distracting tags.

Got that part?

Now that I've encouraged you to use "said," I'm going to retract it.

Forgive me, but that's just the way it is. If you can avoid a tag altogether—through the clever use of action "beats"—then more power to you.

Here's an example of changing a passage from lush, useless tags (Case A), to “he said/she said tags,” (Case B) to using action beats instead of tags (Case C):

Case A

I maneuvered the van around the next pothole, and was about to congratulate myself on my superior driving skills when a series of washboard ruts nearly popped the fillings out of my teeth.

"Want me to take over?" Quinn wheedled.

"Why? Am I making you nervous?" I retorted, gripping the steering wheel until my knuckles turned white.

"Of course not, sweetums. You're a great driver. Just thought you might want a break," he crooned.

We rounded the bend and the road disappeared. The crater before us could hold three elephants. Big elephants.

"Whoa! Watch it, honey. Don't wanna blow a tire," Quinn groaned.

Case B

I maneuvered the van around the next pothole, and was about to congratulate myself on my superior driving skills when a series of washboard ruts nearly popped the fillings out of my teeth.

"Want me to take over?" Quinn said, leaning on the dashboard.

"Why? Am I making you nervous?" I said with a frown.

All smiles, he said, "Of course not, sweetums. You're a great driver. Just thought you might want a break."

We rounded the bend and the road disappeared. The crater before us could hold three elephants. Big elephants.

"Whoa! Watch it, honey. Don't wanna blow a tire," Quinn said in a panic.

Case C

I maneuvered the van around the next pothole, and was about to congratulate myself on my superior driving skills when a series of washboard ruts nearly popped the fillings out of my teeth.

Quinn braced himself on the dash. "Want me to take over?"

My knuckles turned white. "Why? Am I making you nervous?"

"Of course not, sweetums." He forced an innocent smile. "You're a great driver. Just thought you might want a break."

We rounded the bend and the road disappeared. The crater before us could hold three elephants. Big elephants.

Quinn's frozen smile barely hid his panic. "Whoa! Watch it, honey. Don't wanna blow a tire."

***

So, what do you think? Can you see how progressing from extreme dialog tags, to “he said, she said,” to using action beats instead of tags can smooth out your writing?

It took me years to “get” this. So don’t be discouraged if you’re just starting. The above examples aren't beautifully written or perfectly rendered. But they should provide the gist of what I'm trying to illustrate.

So, what kind of list can you create that might help you with action beats? There are many hundreds of choices, of course. Here are just a few that I jotted down when I started working on this aspect of writing.

Taps fingers on table
Shoves hands in pocket
Rests chin on hands
Blinks
Counts on fingers
Clasps hands
Tents fingers
Chews fingernails
Folds arms
Plays with pen
Bites lip
Tugs jacket down
Taps foot
Tosses hair
Swoops hands in circles
Scratches back of hand
Scratches ankle
Wrinkles brow
Frowns
Purses lips
Leans against the wall
Leans forward
Locks eyes with …

Good luck marking up your current work to move toward an even better novel.

Aaron Paul Lazar
www.lazarbooks.com


Write Like the Wind cover artwork

WRITING ADVICE: 

WRITE LIKE THE WIND, volumes 1, 2, 3  (audio books)

Aaron Paul Lazar writes to soothe his soul. An award-winning, bestselling Kindle author of three addictive mystery series, thrillers, love stories, and writing guides, Aaron enjoys the Genesee Valley countryside in upstate New York, where his characters embrace life, play with their dogs and grandkids, grow sumptuous gardens, and chase bad guys. Visit his website at http://www.lazarbooks.com and watch for his upcoming releases, UNDER THE ICE (2015) and DEVIL’S CREEK (2015). Aaron has won over 18 book awards for his novels and finds writing to be his form of "cheap therapy." Feel free to connect with him on Facebook or his website; he loves to connect with readers!