The Magic of Expanded Dialogue Tags: Tips to Build Strong Characters and Draw Readers into Your Story

Notebook w-pen

by Amy McElroy Certain writers possess a power to weave a story like a tapestry with the perfectly arcing plot, just the right amount of narration lacing the edges, and life-like dialogue. Readers dive in to meet the characters as if they are long-lost friends—or enemies. Every scene takes place down some familiar trail that reminds readers of the dusty … Read More

adminThe Magic of Expanded Dialogue Tags: Tips to Build Strong Characters and Draw Readers into Your Story

It Takes a Collective


For this woman who can offer detailed commentary on character development, sensory description, and use of dialogue in a manuscript, but who didn’t know web code from content, thought Glimmer Train sounded like a glam rock writer’s conference, and spends most days ready to throw her computer out the window, it takes a collective. When Jordan Rosenfeld, one of the … Read More

Amy McElroyIt Takes a Collective


Undergrowth-Amy M

Photo Credit: Jennifer Barney.  “We all travel the Milky Way together, trees and men…”  John Muir On the road to my old house, the green of these hills and pastures calls like a carpet begging to be to danced.  A giggle escapes my lips at the renaming of these country lanes in the last 20 years for the ease of … Read More

Amy McElroyUndergrowth

The Guitar

Guitar_0861_web-L_Sharisse Couleter

by Amy McElroy It’s always been one of my favorite stories about my father: a twenty-three year old White House staffer, loudly protesting Nixon’s innocence across the country as the newspapers shouted accusations of spies and lies. Meanwhile, I stayed home writing letters: “Please Daddy, I hope you never have to go to make a speech again,” with a backwards … Read More

Amy McElroyThe Guitar

The “Toilet” Feeling

by Amy McElroy I was giving one of those ridiculously long, lectures from the front seat of the minivan the other day, rattling on about  how I consider honesty and integrity, along with kindness, two of the most important things in the world.  But, I said to Emma, my quest to stay on the honest path has sometimes made an … Read More

Amy McElroyThe “Toilet” Feeling

The Dying Fire

Dying Fire--for Amy's post

by Amy McElroy On the reality show “Survivor,” contestants are voted off with the ceremonial snuffing out of their torches, and host Jeff Probst’s constant reminder that, “In this game, fire represents your life.” There’s something primal to that metaphor, something deeper than a reality show gimmick, as I’ve learned over the past month. First, my dog of seventeen years, … Read More

Amy McElroyThe Dying Fire

My Big Truth: Make Time Stop

"Marwari Stallion #1" by Tom Chambers,

PHOTO CREDIT: “Marwari Stallion #1″ by Tom Chambers, At this time of year when tradition dictates we consider resolutions for the future, I—ever the planner, the worrier, the what-if or could-be dreamer find myself staunchly resisting. While my toes grip the metaphorical sand, my knuckles clutch the all-too-real yellow counter in Nana’s kitchen, and the unscratched, shiny, dining room table, unable … Read More

Amy McElroyMy Big Truth: Make Time Stop