…and it’s writing.

A tipsy discussion of writing craft. Writers D.C. McNaughton and Avery Ames imbibe a few drinks while they review and revise their old (and often cringey) writing. Each episode focuses on a particular aspect of craft and features a themed cocktail pairing.

Ep 013: ”Dialogue Tags and Action Beats,” he exclaimed!

November 15th, 2021

DC and Avery discuss whether "said is dead" or "said is invisible", the use of outlandish dialogue tags, and how action beats can break up repetitive dialogue. Featuring an excerpt from one of Avery's very oldest writing samples.

Books mentioned in this episode:

- A Little Life, by Hanya Yanagihara

----more----

Drinks for this episode:

Both of the cocktails this week highlight Interrobang brand vermouth. The Interrobang (‽) is a punctuation symbol that combines an exclamation point and question mark, appropriate for a discussion of dialogue tags.

“The Nod” Cocktail

  • 2oz Interrobang Sweet Vermouth
  • .5oz fresh squeezed orange juice
  • .25oz maraschino liqueur
  • 3oz seltzer
  • Orange wedge (for garnish)
  1. Combine all (except orange wedge) in a highball glass filled with ice.
  2. Stir gently.
  3. Garnish with the orange wedge.

“Said isn’t Dead” Cocktail

  • 2.5oz Interrobang White Vermouth
  • 1oz vodka
  • 1oz grapefruit juice
  • .5oz honey syrup
  • Lemon wheel (or dried lemon wheel) for garnish
  1. Pour all into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
  2. Shake well until chilled.
  3. Strain into a martini or coupe glass.
  4. Garnish with a lemon wheel, or float a dried lemon wheel on top.

----more----Excerpt (Before Edits):

Now that they were all there, she showed Eric and Austin the riddle. 

"Time!" Austin declared the answer proudly, his green eyes flashing as he picked up the now-abandoned remote with a triumphant expression and switched to Comedy Central.

Suddenly Cass felt stupid. She should have figured it out.

"But now what?" Tara asked.

"Well, we find time," Eric laughed shyly.

"But we’ve gotta hurry or we’ll run out of time!" Austin joked back.

"Oh, shut up you guys," Cass said playfully.

"A clock?" Tara suggested.

"But which one?" Austin asked.

"The main clock tower. In the old section of town." Michael suggested. "It's sort of the clock, you know?"

"But it's shut down," Tara cautioned.

"All the more fun." Michael flashed even, white teeth. His dark eyes grew mysterious suddenly. "It'll be an adventure. Come on."

Cass suggested they check the clocks in the house first. They found nothing.

"I guess it's the tower then," Cass sighed, feeling very apprehensive. It was growing dark.

"We'll take my van," Austin suggested.

 

Excerpt (After Edits):

When everyone arrived, she showed Eric and Austin the riddle. 

"Time!" Austin declared the answer proudly, picking up the now-abandoned remote, and switched to Comedy Central.

Cass felt stupid. She should have figured it out.

"But now what?" Tara said.

"Well, we find time." Eric laughed so hard, a booger flew out of his nose.

"But we’ve gotta hurry or we’ll run out of time!" Austin said.

Cass rolled her eyes playfully. "Oh, shut up, you guys." 

"A clock?" Tara suggested. "But which one?"

"The main clock tower. In the old section of town," Michael said. He took out his comb and brushed a tangle out of his hair. "It's sort of the clock, you know?"

"But it's shut down," Tara said.

Michael flashed his even, white teeth, and his dark eyes grew mysterious. "All the more fun. It'll be an adventure. Come on."

They checked the clocks in the house first and found nothing.

Impatiently, after looking for hours, Cass threw a box of glass at a window, and it shattered. "Well I guess it's the tower then," Cass groaned, looking out the broken window. It was growing dark.

"We'll take my van," Austin said.

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