Writing craft: Body Language in Dialogue Scenes by Rayne Hall

Body language can add another dimension to your dialogue scene, because it reveals a person’s intentions, feelings or mood.

The five main types of body language are gesture, posture, movement, facial expression and tone of voice.

Gesture Examples

She pointed to the orchard. “I saw him there.”

He slammed his fist on the table. “I’ve had enough.” Continue reading

Writing Prompts to Welcome in the New Year

Don’t Stop! Green means go.
While looking out a window at night (any environment) the main character sees a green light in a distant window blinking off and on in an irregular pattern suggesting a code or signal. After several nights of observation, the MC goes to investigate during the day, only to find an empty home with no electricity.

A Life Better Lived
A popular well-liked neighbor attends a block-party / neighborhood gathering boasting of his new job promotion, financial security, and marital bliss. It is rumored that he has been fired and arrested for embezzlement, his wife has moved out with their children, and the bank has foreclosed on his house. He seems oblivious to his circumstances, even inviting his concerned and troubled friends over to his (now padlocked) house for an evening of beer and video games. (the story lies in the revelation of circumstances and the friends’ supportive and or derisive reaction)

It Takes a Thief
While perpetrating a covert industrial theft and espionage, the MC discovers the head of the company in a career destroying, compromising position. Both the MC / thief and the company head must depend on the other’s confidentiality to avoid personal ruin.

Behind Closed Doors
After a long, hard rainfall, a sinkhole opens in an open field behind the neighborhood. The crevasse reveals an array of subterranean rooms littered with the bones of tortured corpses. The access tunnel to these dungeon rooms leads to a secret doorway in the neighborhood’s favorite elderly couple’s basement.

WRITING CRAFT: How to Give Your Novel a Gut-wrenching black moment by Rayne Hall

If you’re writing a novel, consider a Black Moment about two thirds into the book.

At this stage, everything and everyone has turned against the hero (who can, of course, be a heroine).

The hero is under pressure and close to giving up. Internal and external conflicts have increased to the degree that your hero can’t bear it any more. His girlfriend has broken up with him, his allies have deserted the cause, he has been fired from his job and evicted

Rayne Hall

Rayne Hall

from his home, the villain’s henchmen are closing in, and his big secret has been exposed in the press. Under pressure, he is close to giving up. To make matters worse, his girl has been abducted and will die unless the hero surrenders the proof of the villain’s machinations… and he can neither rescue her nor deliver the documents because he’s locked up in a prison cell.  All seems lost.

If you can think of another way to make it still more difficult for your hero, pile it on.

Make it still more difficult by taking away his means of communication – the mobile phone (British) or cellphone (American), the internet connection, the humans who might carry a message.

Only a tiny shred of hope remains that the hero will achieve his big, important goal.

The hero feels rage, despair and a whole cocktail of other emotions. Consider adding fear: he fears not only for himself, but for the safety of his abducted girlfriend, as well as for the people in the building the villain is about to bomb,  for the survival of the human race, or whatever is at stake in your story.

Turn the suspense volume up as high as you can.  The “ticking clock” technique works well. The hero has only a certain amount of time – perhaps one hour – to escape from the villain’s clutches and rescue his girlfriend, defuse the bomb or save the world. He is aware of the time ticking away. You can emphasise this by actually showing a clock. The hero sees he has thirty minutes left… then fifteen… ten…five…two…one. This builds enormous suspense.

Let the reader feel the hero’s physical responses to the tension: the aching neck, the dry throat, the sweat trickling down his sides.

The blacker you make the Black Moment, the more exciting the Climax and the more rewarding the End.


To learn more about Rayne Hall, her publications and where to purchase them, please visit Meet the Contributors.

Valentine’s Poetry Writer’s Challenge

Calling all poets!!!

I had such a great time with this last Writer’s Challenge, that David and I have decided to host another one for Valentines Day. 

This time, we are going to make the Challenge about poetry. Now, I know there are hundreds of you poets out there in my groups. Now’s the time to come out of the dark and show us what you’ve got.

The requirements for this contest are as follows:valentines_day_love-12628

1) Poem can be any length. No maximum or minimum word usage.

2) The poem doesn’t have to be romantic. It can be horrifying, depressing, loving.. anything! 🙂 As long as it’s a poem, it’s acceptable.

3) Editing: you are responsible for any editing and/or proofreading for your entry. David and I have a lot to do on with our jobs that we don’t have time to edit each and every entry. 🙂

4) No explicit sexual poetry will be allowed.  Passion, and sex are allowed, but do not be vulgar.

5) Submit all entries to davidandadrianna@yahoo.com 

Deadline: January 19, 2014.

Voting: January 20th – January 25th

Winner’s announced: January 26, 2014 

Prizes: a romantic theme painted by A. Joleigh (reserved for winner by the public vote), a book of poetry (specifics will be announced soon), chocolates and a card sent to a Heart-Sweets-Wallpapersecret love or someone you admire from afar.

***Voting Rules. A primary winner will be chosen by the public. Four other winners will be chosen by the hosts (David and me). All will have their poems displayed in the Challengers Hall, with their information and photo.

Finding the Best Word for the Job by Rayne Hall (writing tips)

Specific words make a story vivid because they paint a clear picture for the reader.

“A woman with a dog” creates only a vague picture. By replacing “woman” and “dog” with specific  words you can bring your story alive: Continue reading

Just Desserts by Dyane Forde (Christmas story)

Just Desserts

He’s here.

The clattering on the rooftop followed by the clomping of heavy boots confirms it. After a flurry of grunting and neighing and the stamping of cloven hooves, the commotion on the roof falls silent. I must give the man credit. Sweet-faced and dolled up in red, white and black, the apple-cheeked hypocrite has trained them well. The team of massive, horned beasts cower at his every whim. Continue reading

Winner for the Christmas Writer’s Challenge!

After 635 votes and over 2,000 reads we have our winner!!!! 

Congratulations to the winner of the Christmas Writer’s Challenge, Vanessa Wright!!!!

To read the winning story, click here. Vanessa Wright’s biography, and other information on how to learn more about this author, will be displayed in the next few days.

I’m so proud of every one of these entries. You all did such a great job putting your minds into your work. David and I will go through the remaining entries and choose our favorites to display on the site permanently. The results of those will be displayed in the next few days.

Due to Christmas holidays we will all be a bit busy, but keep your eyes open for our next Writer’s Challenge for Valentines!! This time, it will be poetry only. 🙂 I hope you guys are ready!!! 

Writing Prompts for the week of Dec 21, 2013

A Midsummer Afternoon’s Dream
A warm afternoon stroll in an Edenic garden/pasture/wooded copse induces a lazy nap under a shade tree. During the sleep, the character is visited by fairies and learns the reality of their existence and their instinctive purpose to spread happiness among humans, but they need to enlist the help of the character to gain entry into City Hall where greed is motivating government officials to “develop” the land where they live and destroy their ancestral home.

A Haunting Revelation
A newly purchased home is haunted by the ghost from an unsolved murder several generations in the past. Communication is established and it is discovered the murder was committed by a prominent community/political leader, but revealing that info has consequences both to the established society and from the source of the information.

A Life Better Lived
You are a writer working on a novel and one of your characters has unusual personality traits. The character takes over your body (could be that you are conscious of your actions but not in control, you could regain control after a period and then deal with the consequences of your alter-ego’s actions, or you could embrace the change and alter your life to match your new personality).

A Stockholm Romance
Your female character is taken hostage in a robbery gone bad and is immediately smitten by the “good hearted” criminal. Possible scenarios: she becomes an accomplice; he surrenders and they continue their relationship in prison; he is killed by police and she has psychological issues; or the criminal purposefully shoots (but not fatally) the hostage while attempting to escape.

My Brother’s Keeper
Your extremely close sibling suddenly makes an uncharacteristic bad life-decision (relationship, crime, drugs), cuts off familial communications, and you feel obligated to “save” him or her only to discover dark family secrets.

Writing Battle Scenes by Rayne Hall

Here are some techniques for creating powerful, exciting, realistic battle scenes.

The biggest challenge in writing a battle scene is the point of view. To make the experience exciting and moving, it’s best to stick to the perspective of a single fighter Continue reading

Harmony and Discord by Amy Glamos

It was the wind that woke her, howling through the screens and lashing against the old house mercilessly.  The lone tree that graced their backyard scraped across the roof with its gnarled, naked limbs, refusing to relent.  Mariah turned to the glowing numbers on the alarm clock.  4:23.  Her eyes went to her husband, soundlessly sprawled on the pillow next to her.  The stark black ink of a tattoo peeking out from beneath the sheets called forth bygone nights that felt scattered by a wind just as strong as the one raging outside.  Her Continue reading

The Mall By Nicki Redes

“Mommy, why does Santa only come once a year?”   

Nicki Redes

Nicki Redes

Oliver’s words burst through my stale thoughts. 

“Because he can only make so many toys, sweetie.  Those poor elves would never get a break if there were two Christmases,” I tell him in my chipper mommy-voice.  I sigh, hoping my answer satisfies the four year old boy genius at my side.  At home, in the peace of my own living room, snuggled on the sofa with him and a book, I might be inclined to come up with something more creative.  Perhaps I would tell him all about the North Pole and Santa’s workshop and the eight or nine reindeer and all of the other bullshit that goes along with the secular Christmas story.  Right here, right now, I’m more likely to pull out a semi-automatic weapon and start letting rounds fly into the mall crowd.  And then the speakers, playing the endless loop of holiday music.  Those would be the next to go.  Continue reading


Last month, I recycled that fowl story of how my little burb in the mountains shot and killed Tom Gobbles, our beloved town turkey in celebration of Thanksgiving.  Well, it’s December, which means it is Christmastime, so if you would indulge me, I would like to recycle my real-life childhood story of when I met Santa Claus.  Before your imaginations run wild, he was not the rotund, pink-cheeked icon of Norman Rockwell and Coca-Cola fame; I am talking about the real honest-to-goodness, flesh-and-blood Santa dude.

I grew up in a not-so-well-off family.  My father was a career military intelligence officer Continue reading

A Different Christmas Story by Gary E. Weller

It is supposed to be about family. All of the stories have these amazing families. The classic, ‘A Christmas Carol,’ even ends with a family, two in fact, that have come together because of the magical change caused by the Christmas Spirits and a man understanding

that he was an asshole. Christmas was supposed to be about seeing the change in people. The stories are about seeing what they can do when they reach deep inside and look at themselves. It was about sharing and developing that penultimate bonding of the Continue reading

AFTER 2,000 YEARS: Memories and Reflections on Christmas by Michael Grace

­­­­­­My date of birth roughly coincides with the Advent season. But I neither remember my first birthday, which I am told was quite grand, nor my first Christmas. What I do remember is that in my early years, Christmas meant the following

Over the Years

Firstly, there was the setting up of the Christmas tree. I was never good at it, and mostly it was my father and brothers who unwound, raised, and decorated it. This was accompanied by Christmas songs (Boney M, Charlotte Church, and Josh Groban etc.), Continue reading

A Christmas Tradition By Tanya Miranda

A Christmas Tradition

By Tanya Miranda

Alicia straightens her black veiled cap as it hovers above the rims of her silvery eyebrows. It slides forward with every precarious step down the sparkling walkway. The pins are not keeping it in place.

“Be careful Alicia, there’s ice everywhere. The town cleaned up the snow, but this cold Continue reading

No More Christmases by Martin Conterez

“I’ll be home for Christmas Mom.”

“Oh Mark that’s wonderful news. I’m so happy to hear that. It’ll be great to have you around. It’s been way too long. Oh I should start calling people. Everybody will want to see you. Your sister will be home too, did you know that? I bet I can get your Aunt Kay and Uncle Roger to have dinner too. Maybe we could go to church that following Sunday? What do you think? Who else can we get together with?”

“Mom slow down. I just want to see a few friends and spend some time with you. Nothing big, do you hear me? Don’t make any large plans. I really just want to go surfing with Josh and eat lots of carne asada burritos. I don’t want this to be a big deal. Can you just keep i Continue reading

A Desiccated Christmas by Vanessa Wright

Sweat was running down his back in rivulets and pooled in his underwear. Christmas in the Southern hemisphere at an awesome 37 degrees, dressed in a red velvet suit, white beard, tasselled hat and black boots. He surveyed the manically shopping populace from his fake golden throne.  The true spirit of Christmas was painted on their faces in garish colours as they rushed to and fro. Santa Claus was his name and boosting sales his Continue reading

Working Holiday by Rusty Rimes

“Man it’s cold out here, I think my ass is frozen to this crate.”

“Yeah Tony I know what you mean. You’d think with all the money these bastards make, they could at least put up a heater or two in this warehouse for us.”

“Yeah, you’re right Bill. Especially this time of year, when they really roll in the dough, with all that Christmas shipping crap.” Continue reading

Apple Crumble by MJB Saunders

I wasn’t positive or noticeably enthusiastic this day, although I felt as though I should have been, just because I was still alive. My fingers were shaking with cold and my nose was running like a dripping tap. I couldn’t take my mind off the dog in the garage, the howling and the loneliness echoed through the space between my ears. I struggled to imagine the conditions inside. I would normally sleep through the day on a day like this, but the dog Continue reading

Pixie Dust, Boots and Reindeer by Linzé Brandon

Accolade sat back in the chair and parked her motorbike boots on the desk. Eye-balling the fresh vodka martini with a grin, she relaxed and took an appreciative sip.

“‘Twas the night before Christmas,” she quoted and settled her shoulders back, “and I am going to get rip roaring drunk.”

Pursing her lips, she held up the glass and toasted her boots. “My wish for Christmas this Continue reading


VOTING OPEN FROM DECEMBER 16TH to DECEMBER 21ST!!!! You are allowed to vote up to TWO times. 

Writing Prompts for the week of 12/16/2013

Midnight Blue.
Midnight Blue, the name reverberated through his system like an amateurish sound effect from a cheap sci-fi movie. Midnight Blue.  (You can use any name — in my head, it was an inanimate name, but would also work with a person’s name)

New Family Members
A week before celebrating Christmas (or any holiday) with a new spouse’s family the MC is confronted by a destitute teenage child claiming them as his parent. The possibility exists (males from an unknown pregnancy — females from childbirth that resulted in infant adoption), but no one in the new family knows of that possibility.

He Did What?
Detectives confront your main character at home requesting an interview at the station. During the interview he/she finds out that forensic evidence strongly indicates a normally honest best friend murdered his/her next door neighbor, leaving the MC’s wallet and ID behind to throw off the investigation. The friend claims innocence.

The Lost Week
Your main character awakens and listening to the news discovers it is exactly one week later than it should be and he/she has no memory of the last seven days. Because of a history of mental illness, the character cannot admit the lapse but must deal with the consequences of people confronting him or her about the week’s uncharacteristic behaviors while trying to keep their job and relationship.

KEEP THE BEST FOR LAST: Backloading Technique by Rayne Hall


Here is a nifty technique to give your writing style more impact: Structure your sentences so the most powerful word comes at the end. The last word touches the reader’s psyche more than any other, so make it count.

Short, evocative nouns, adjectives and verbs are best. Here’s a list for your inspiration: RayneHall - Fantasy Horror Author - Portrait by Fawnheartdeath, dead, kiss, lust, treachery, blood, fear, die, kill, deep, cold, heat, dark, boil, pull, grave, grip, grasp, hope, sear, scream, thrill, scar, bone, flesh, skull, wound, pray, pain, soul, child, flee, trap, teeth, curse, escape, safe, love.

These words, on the other hand, have no particular effect: it, then, them, across, through, there, somehow, around,  under, of, off, for, that, be, others, his, her.

Often, restructuring the sentence is all it takes, or perhaps adding, deleting or replacing Continue reading



Have you written a horror story, or are you working on a frightening scene? Here’s a professional technique for making it even scarier.

Solitary adventures are more dangerous than group adventures. In nature, an animal RayneHall - Fantasy Horror Author - Portrait by Fawnheartwhich becomes separated from the herd is vulnerable to predators. To make your scene scary, let your heroine face the danger alone.  Continue reading

Publications by Author Dyane Forde

The Purple Morrow written by Dyane Forde

Book Blurb

The Rovers had been sent to decimate the Southernlands. Instead they awoke its saviour.

Ten years have passed since the Rover army tore through the Southernlands, leaving behind a trail of devastation and death. Most believed the attacks were random acts of51gdgH-7CzL._SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_ brutality. The wise, however, knew the truth: the Rovers sought to destroy the one thing powerful enough to thwart their conquest. They were searching for the Papilion.

A new commander bent on completing the mission left unfinished by their predeccesors, leads the Rovers back into the Southernlands. Fierce and determined, he comes armed with a precious artefact and a secret purpose.

While the Southernlands reel under the new terror, the Purple Morrow, harbinger of hope, appears to Jeru, an unsuspecting and solitary clan hunter. Finding himself enmeshed in a series of incredible events beyond his control, Jeru is compelled to take the first steps towards discovering his ultimate destiny. –— Check book reviews available at Authonomy.  

Available For Purchase

Amazon–paperback and kindle

Amazon–kindle (Canada)



Excerpts to The Purple Morrow

Rise of the Papilion Trilogy: The Purple Morrow (Book 1)  dyane_pm

The Purple Morrow Snippet: Clash of the Clansman vs. the Beast-Man

Some Visuals for Jeru, the main character for The Purple Morrow

Source Inspiration for Kelen in The Purple Morrow


Sneak Peek at the 2nd book in the Papilion Trilogy, Wolf’s Bane photo (7)

To learn more about the author, you can visit Meet the Contributors 

About the Author, Dyane Forde

Dyane Forde’s love of writing began with an early interest in reading and of words in general. She was always amazed at how linking words together in different ways had unexpected and pleasing results on others. People enjoyed what she created! This sparked a life-long desire to write all types of things, from short stories, novels, flash fiction, poetry…she enjoys trying genres and forms of writing which are different from what she’s used to; every story or book represents new joys and challenges. Dyane views Dyanewriting as an amazing and intimate communication tool, meaning that it becomes a means through which she seeks to connect with others on a level deeper than intellect.

Dyane is a social worker by profession. Learning to see the world through other people’s eyes as well as sharing in their pain has influenced and enriched her as a person, as well as her writing. She is also a wife, and mother to two children, a cat named JackJack and a dog named Sparky.

She can be reached at her writing blog at www.droppedpebbles.wordpress.com, where her other writing projects, and information and samples of her upcoming books can be found. Please write! Dyane loves to hear from her readers.

Writing Prompts for the Upcoming Week December 9th

Hi everyone! 🙂 It’s Adrianna. I thought I’d throw in some writing prompts of my own, since I hadn’t as of yet. You know me and my sick sense of humor LOL. Let me know if you can think of anything. There is NOT a word minimum, 😀 so your stories or poems can be 200 words, 500 or 5,000+. I hope everyone is having fun preparing for the holidays. The air outside is fresh, the snow is falling and streams of decorations light the nights. (sigh) Hope you have a safe and pleasant holiday ahead of you.


1)   Death fell onto the city, homes collapsed and nothing remained except and ash from the burning bodies. An orphaned child pushed his way through the destroyed house, Continue reading