Writing Tip: Don’t Be Afraid of Mixing Dialogue and Action
So I’ve been reading a lot of amateur writing lately, and I’ve noticed what seems to be a common problem: dialogue.
Tell me if this looks familiar. You start writing a conversation, only to look down and realize it reads like:
“I’m talking now,” he said.
“Yes, I noticed,” she said.
“I have nothing much to add to this conversation,” the third person said.
And it grates on your ears. So much ‘said.’ It looks awful! It sounds repetitive. So, naturally, you try to shake it up a bit:
“Is this any better?” He inquired.
“I’m not sure,” she mused.
“I definitely think so!” that other guy roared.
This is not an improvement. This is worse.
Now your dialogue is just as disjointed as it was before, but you have the added problem of a bunch of distracting dialogue verbs that can have an unintentionally comedic effect.
So here’s how you avoid it: You mix up the dialogue with description.
“Isn’t this better?” he asked, leaning forward in his seat. “Don’t you feel like we’re more grounded in reality?”
She nodded, looking down at her freshly manicured nails. “I don’t feel like a talking head anymore.”
“Right!” that annoying third guy added. “And now you can get some characterization crammed into the dialogue!”
The rules of dialogue punctuation are as follows:
Each speaker gets his/her own paragraph - when the speaker changes, you start a new paragraph.
Within the speaker’s own paragraph, you can include action, interior thoughts, description, etc.
You can interrupt dialogue in the middle to put in a “said” tag, and then write more dialogue from that same speaker.
You can put the “said” tag at the beginning or end of the sentence.
Once you’ve established which characters are talking, you don’t need a “said” tag every time they speak.
ETA: use a comma instead of a period at the end of a sentence of dialogue, and keep the ‘said’ tag in lower caps. If you end on a ? or !, the ‘said’ tag is still in lower case. (thanks, commenters who pointed this out!)
Some more examples:
“If you’re writing an incomplete thought,” he said, “you put a comma, then the quote mark, then the dialogue tag.”
“If the sentence ends, you put in a period.” She pointed at the previous sentence. “See? Complete sentences.”
“You can also replace the dialogue tag with action.” Extra guy yawned. “When you do, you use a period instead of a comma.”
So what do you do with this newfound power? I’m glad you asked.
You can provide description of the character and their surroundings in order to orient them in time and space while talking.
You can reveal characterization through body language and other nonverbal cues that will add more dimension to your dialogue.
You can add interior thoughts for your POV character between lines of dialogue - especially helpful when they’re not saying quite what they mean.
You can control pacing. Lines of dialogue interrupted by descriptions convey a slower-paced conversation. Lines delivered with just a “said” tag, or with no dialogue tag at all, convey a more rapid-fire conversation.
“We’ve been talking about dialogue for a while,” he said, shifting in his seat as though uncomfortable with sitting still.
“We sure have,” she agreed. She rose from her chair, stretching. “Shall we go, then?”
“I think we should.”
“Great. Let’s get out of here.”
By controlling the pacing, you can establish mood and help guide your reader along to understanding what it is that you’re doing.
I hope this helps you write better dialogue! If you have questions, don’t hesitate to drop me an ask :)
The underdress is made from silk satin and the outer dress from chiffon. The underdress is a simple backless dress with a full skirt, and is fastened at the neck with ribbon. The overdress is a loop that is gathered at the front, back and sleeves. The arm cuffs are there to hold the chiffon in place. I ombré dyed both layers with yellow, pink, purple and blue dye to give the sunset effect. I sewed silk ribbon onto the top and bottom border of the chiffon, and down the centre. At the front the chiffon is bunched at the bottom too. At the back I made a mother of pearl brooch with glass beads attached.
The necklace and armbands were made from black worbla, shaped with heat and painted gold. I then added some mother of pearl over the top, which looks really shiny and pretty in the light
Now all that’s left is the crazy seashell wig, wish me luck! 😭
I hope you don't mind me asking, you do your shadows so well and was wondering how you do them?! They set such an incredible dark mood, it makes your artwork instantly recognizable!! Thanks for your time <3
Im pretty shit at explaining things so i’ll use this for basic example. Firstly if you know how shadows work and stuff then it shouldnt be to hard. Otherwise go study that shit.
So you got your flat colors down for the first step
Next lay down a dark tone set to multiply, idk about 70% i guess? up to you
Start adding some shadows set on another multiply, shadows can be however dark. 50-70%
The add your light source, i used color dodge in this one. Dont use super bright color or it will look like blinding light. (again if you know light/shadows shouldnt be to hard)
I add a touch more dark in the shadows for effect…or something like that.
And there you have it, this maybe helpful lesson was brought to you by a potato, chur.
Heyo! I got asked if I could make a tutorial on digital painting so I’m gonna throw together some advice meant for people who are starting out and want to figure out exactly how this stuff all works. Because it’s hard! What I hope to accomplish here is to make painting more approachable for you.
For those of you who don’t wanna bother reading that, here are the main points:
1. Learn your program and its tools, from brush properties to layer styles. And I mean learn them. Make a cheatsheet that shows you exactly what each button and scale does, both in isolation and in conjunction with other buttons and scales. Refer to this as much as possible until it is intuitive. The end goal is to know exactly what to do to your brush’s settings to achieve a given effect.
2. It’s perfectly okay to use your sketches, linearts, and other forms of line in your paintings. They can help guide the form and there’s no need to make something fully “lineless”! I never make things “lineless.”
3. Study other people’s art and try to think how they could have possibly achieved the effects they did. You can learn a lot just by observing and mentally recreating the process stroke by stroke—muscle memory is a powerful tool at your disposal. This becomes easier to do once you’ve started doing item 1 above.
So where the heck do you even begin?
What I’m gonna do is try to make digital painting as approachable as possible for someone who’s never really done it. The main idea here is that digital painting is just like real painting. So if you’ve ever done real painting, you already kinda know what’s coming.
I’m gonna assume you know the basics of digital art: you can sketch, line those sketches using layers and opacity changes, and fill the lines with color, maybe even opting to add some shading…and you’ll get something like this:
You know, cell-shaded, or maybe the shading’s blended, but you’ve still obviously a line drawing with color put down on layers beneath the lines.
The next intuitive step is to try going “lineless”…but when you remove the lines you get this:
idk about you but I’m laughing at how stupid this looks
When I was first teaching myself to paint digitally, I didn’t really know how to deal with this. Without lines, the form of the subject vanished or became a mess like the above. Even if I was meticulous and careful about placing down the color such that without the lines layer turned on, the shapes fit together, it didn’t look quite right. There’d be gaps, I wouldn’t know how to incorporate the subject into a background, the contrast wouldn’t be high enough, or it’d just in general look too much like a screenshot from Super Mario 64.
Painting requires a different process than the above. You’ll have to let go of some of your habits and conventions. Such as staying in the lines. Such as fully relying on the lines. Like, I love my lines, I love my sketches—but in painting, they are guides for form, and are not the form itself. So let me go through how I approach a given painting:
My painting process starts with a sketch (here a boring portrait for demonstrative purposes). I make the opacity of the sketch layer something like 30%, and then throw down my base colors on a new layer underneath. I’m not being meticulous about the sketch itself, because again it’s just meant to guide my placement of color. I’m also not meticulous about my placement of the color.
We’re essentially sketching with color. Because ultimately what we want is for the color to take on the form and shapes conveyed by the sketch.
There’s a lot going into this about how to use value, how to shade, how to use color, etc. that I’m kinda skipping over because it takes a lot of time to explain…but there are hundreds of tutorials out there on those topics so please, google around! I found some helpful tuts that way when I was starting out.
Something I find v useful is to keep selecting colors that already exist in your image for shading and hue adjustment. This is why I start with really blendy, low-opacity brushes when throwing down color on top of the background. I can then select colors within there that are a mix of the two.
For instance, I’ll select the color of the lines here:
…and use that to shade:
And maybe I’ll select one of the darker shades around his eye, but not the darkest, to make the shading a smoother gradient…and so on.
What I do in general at this point is go over the shapes and lines of the sketch. Such that I can turn off the sketch layer and see this:
I’m replacing the lines with shading and value. I’ll continue to do this as I keep adding color.
This is all super loose. I am not dedicated to any particular stroke. I just want the colors and shading and light source to be right. I’ll use overlay layers to boost contrast or add a hue.
Here are other examples where I used this process:
I am constantly changing brushes and brush settings as I paint. It really depends on what effect I want where. I am also constantly selecting new colors and applying or blending those in. I don’t believe in having some uniformly applied base color and then shading with only one or two…that’s what I’d do if I was cell-shading like the first drawing I showed you here, but painting should be about messing with color and opacity and blending to make millions of hues!
Good rule of thumb: Hard, opaque brushes for applying color. Soft, dilute brushes for blending colors. Sometimes hard, dilute brushes can make some cool blending effects! I personally prefer harder edges on my shading so that’s a brush I use often.
This is getting a bit long so I’m gonna split it up into multiple parts, but really what I want you to get from this is:
1. learn the tools at your disposal until they are intuitive
2. sketch and line are guides for form, not the form itself
3. rather, hue and value will produce the form
And of course, practice makes perfect!!! Every drawing you make, every painting you make, will bring you one step closer to the artist you want to be, and thus every drawing and every painting, no matter what, is a success.
Tutorial: Making the Shot - Pleasant Surprise (Complete Pack)
Hey everyone! So for the past few weeks, I’ve been releasing my first video tutorials regarding making an animated shot from scratch - to its final image. I decided to put them all in one Post so its easy to find! The shot is a remake from a film I did years ago, Crayon Dragon. I hope you guys find this useful in the future! Also if there’s some topics you’d like me to cover, please send them over here! email@example.com
I’ll also try and post tutorials and tips on sbworkshop.tumblr.com so I can just focus on adding my art on my own blog.
A groundbreaking gene therapy treatment which boosts a patient’s own immune cells has been shown to clear disease from one third of terminal patients.
US pharmaceutical company Kite Pharma released results from the first six months of its trial of the new treatment, called CAR-T cell therapy.
Some 36 per cent of the 101 patients on the trial were still in complete remission at six months, and eight in 10 saw their cancer shrink by at least half during the study.
“The numbers are fantastic,” said Dr Fred Locke, a blood cancer expert at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa who co-led the study.
“These are heavily treated patients who have no other options.”
The treatment, which has been dubbed ‘a living drug’ by doctors, works by filtering a patient’s blood to remove key immune system cells called T-cells, which are then genetically engineered in the lab to recognise cancer cells.
Cancer cells are very good a evading the immune system, but the new therapy essentially cuts the brakes, allowing immune cells to do their job properly.
Martin Ledwick, Cancer Research UK’s head cancer information nurse, said: “These results are promising and suggest that one day CAR-T cells could become a treatment option for some patients with certain types of lymphoma.
“But, we need to know more about the side effects of the treatment and long term benefits.”
Patients in the study had one of three types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a blood cancer which affects 13,600 patients in Britain, and had failed all other treatments. Most patients with such an advanced condition only live for six months but half of the trial group are still alive nine months since the trial began, and a third may be cured.
Dimas Padilla, 43, of Orlando, who was warned his case was worsening after chemotherapy stopped working, is now in complete remission after undergoing the therapy last August.
After learning his cancer was probably terminal he said: "I was thinking how am I going to tell this to my mother, my wife, my children,” he said.
After CAR-T therapy he saw his tumours “shrink like ice cubes” and is now in complete remission.
“They were able to save my life,” Mr Padilla added.
However there are still concerns that the treatment has significant side effects, and can even kill some patients, as it puts the immune system into a state of over-drive. During the trial two people died from the therapy, rather than their cancer.
Of the study participants, 13 per cent developed a dangerous condition where the immune system overreacts in fighting the cancer, and roughly a third of patients developed anaemia or other blood-count-related problems.
Nearly one third also reported neurological problems such as sleepiness, confusion, tremor or difficulty speaking, but these typically lasted just a few days.
The scans show how cancer has disappeared after just three months, and the remission has continued
The scans show how cancer has disappeared after just three months, and the remission has continued
Full results will be presented at the American Association for Cancer Research conference in April and the company plans to seek approval from European regulators later this year.
“It’s a safe treatment, certainly a lot safer than having progressive lymphoma,"said the cancer institute’s Dr Steven Rosenberg,
Other companies, such as Juno Therapeutics, have had to halt trials into CAR-T treatments following patient deaths.
Since I’ve been working a little more on sound effects in my comics, I thought I’d post a little tutorial on how I do it in Photoshop. Basically, it involves adjusting the letter size, spacing and baseline, adding some nice strokes and then warping it.
Before anyone tries to jump down my throat about being a stupid SJW who only cares about the race angle, I would first like to point out that I enjoyed the hell out of Daredevil, another Marvel Netflix show starring a white man practicing Asian martial arts. It’s all in the execution, guys. And the execution here is garbage.
Let’s start with the martial arts. For the love of fuck, if you just HAVE to get a generic white man to play the lead, the least you could do was get one who was good at traditional martial arts. There are a lot of them. Charlie Cox, one Netflix recommendation over, pulls off some of the best fight scenes I have ever seen in a TV show (also, the man can act, so that helps too). Last month, I watched a red-belt student of mine in a local production of Macbeth. At twelve, that kid has more talent (in the acting and martial arts departments) than this Finn Jones tool.
Jessica Henwick’s form is nothing to write home about but at least she’s better than Jones. And both our action heroes would benefit greatly from some less shitty fight choreography and editing. (Guys, just adding loud ‘swoosh’ sound effects isn’t going to trick me into thinking the sword is swinging faster. I can see it).
To add insult to injury, the show condescendingly tries to make me believe that this pasty-ass piece of mediocrity is a better martial artist than Colleen Wing?? Just has him casually trounce her in her own dojo. With those wibbly-wobbly stances, son? I don’t think so. This is not real life, nor is it good fiction. This is some flabby-ass white guy’s jerk-off fantasy of being super awesome and showing up the hot Asian chick without any understanding martial arts whatsoever.
The acting in this show ranges from serviceable to painfully inept (lookin’ at you Meachum Jr. or whatever the fuck your name is, I’ll have forgotten your whole existence by tomorrow for all the impression you leave). Even the competent performances in this show only serve to remind me of more interesting characters from Netflix’s other Marvel shows. For example, Jessica Stroup’s acting is similar to Deborah Ann Woll’s performance as Karen Page, only serving to remind me that Karen Page alone is a more interesting character with more compelling scenes than half the cast of Iron Fist put together.
I will say that Colleen Wing is quite appealing and I applaud Henwick for making her both tough and charming, not an easy line to walk. If I wanted to be mean, I could point out that she is essentially just a Claire Temple 2.0 in terms of her temperament and her role as shelter and support to the Main White Guy at the point of her introduction. But I don’t actually want to pick on Colleen. She’s cute and I like her.
Now, back to being mean: STOP trying to make white characters look cool by having them speak Chinese (or any language they can’t speak for that matter, though I feel Mandarin generally gets a special kind of mangling for the crime of being a tonal language). It doesn’t sound cool. I hate to have to be the one to tell you this, guys. It makes you sound like a fucking idiot. Okay, sure, maybe you succeeded in making your white English-speaking audience think, ‘yeah, that’s really cool, he must be super smart and badass, I want to be like that.’ But White people, I am telling you this for your own good: you don’t want to be like that. Because as cool as that butchered-ass Mandarin may sound to you, it’s like a band-saw to my eardrums. It brings everything to a cringing, teeth-grinding halt in the middle of what might otherwise be a perfectly good scene. Remember when Wilson Fisk had a conversation with Madame Gao in ‘Mandarin’? That was the worst part of Netflix’s Daredevil. Worse, it made me embarrassed for an actor I greatly admire. So, to whoever decided it was a great idea to have Wilson Fisk show off his Mandarin, thanks dickhead. You wrecked an entire scene for my favorite Marvel villain.
Oh yeah, and if any of you want to try to tell me I don’t know what I’m talking about, fucking come at me bro. I have a black belt and 10+ years of training in traditional martial arts. I am a Chinese-American woman, proficient in Japanese and Mandarin, and I double majored in East Asian History and Buddhist studies.
Oh, did I mention that our protagonist keeps condescendingly spouting mystical pseudo-Buddhist bullshit to everyone he meets? And then throws temper tantrums when they (shock!) don’t take him seriously? God, I hate this show.
If I want to see better acting, I can go see a middle school play. If I want to see better fighting, I can go to the dojo and watch my seven-year-old green belts spar. If I want to hear Buddhist philosophy mangled by self-impressed white people, I can go to the yoga studio next door.
color your flats like normal. i merge them all into one layer after i color. put it in a folder with your lineart and anything else (as you can see i put the gold hat trim in there as well)
clip a layer to your folder, and fill it with your selected color. i used this mid-tone indigo, but you could conceivably use any hue or shade depending on the mood and color scheme of the piece. i indicated the bean in red of the range of colors that i normally use.
set the layer to multiply and fringe. you can obviously go back and adjust the colors now. my opacity is usually set between 50-75%, depending on the effect i want.
begin erasing where you want your “highlights” to be. i usually use the default pen tool set to transparency (the checkerboard below the color swatch). i’ll sometimes blend out some parts of the shading (the bridge of the nose, etc). i’ll also erase the shading on the eyes but that’s obviously not necessary.
tada! we’re not done yet though. preserve the opacity of your shading layer.
plop on some colors, i used a pure aqua and a mid-tone blue, however like i said before you can conceivably use any colors depending on what effect you want.
blend those out.
make a new layer and clip it to your folder. set it to luminosity, and i’ll usually set the opacity between 5-50%.
plop on some glowy highlights. i used that pink shade and the default airbrush set to 20 density. erase the parts where it intersects (?) with another part. example below.
now i boost the colors. as you can see i added that rainbow smudge, the light blue, and light yellow, all set to overlay.