How Can Fiction Writing Techniques Amp Up Your Nonfiction? Video Tutorial

PoIf you're only or primarily a nonfiction writer, you may not have thought about blending good fiction writing skills into the mix.

Just like a good novel, your nonfiction, how-to or self help book will capture your reader's attention much better when you see the world through the eyes of a storyteller.

Watch this video tutorial to see how.

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Ronda Del Boccio

#1 best selling author, speaker, and Amazon Top Reviewer

About Ronda Del Boccio

Ronda Del Boccio is an award-winning and best Click for Member Home Pageselling author of both fiction and nonfiction. She tells transformational tales and helps visionary authors turn their dreams and imaginings into published books. See and order Ronda's books on Amazon.

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Fiction Writing help: How Do I Write Great Dialogue?

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(NOTE: Post updated to add new material to aid with dialogue writing).

I love writing dialogue! The characters speak and I take dictation. At least, that's how it feels to me. Here is a snippet of dialogue from my work in progress, They All Died Smiling. Kassidy, a writer/demon hunter, talks with her friend Floyd:

While finishing an assignment for the paper, I dialed my phone. “Floyd, I’m borrowing your studio for a half hour this afternoon, OK? Thanks. I appreciate it.”

“Uh…you’re welcome. Thanks for asking ahead of time.” I heard the smile in his voice and imagined him brushing a stray lock of blond hair out of those eyes that look like the sea.

“My pleasure. You won’t be in the throes of artistic fervor this afternoon. You will be at the gallery for your viewing.”

“You truly are a mess, Kass. It’s a showing, not a viewing. A viewing is what they do for dead bodies.”

Floyd was a good verbal sparring partner; I let him tease me in honor of our first meeting. I made that faux pas for real when interviewing him for a story about green pottery. Having come right from a wake to the gallery, I accidentally used the wrong word.

“Floyd, just the reception room, not the part full of your cherished creations. And I promise to make it up to you.”

“Ooh, that should be fun. I’ll hold you to it. You owe me big time for using my space.”

“Yes, I do.” My face flushed. “Sell lots of pots.”

“It’s a good thing you put an s on that.”

So many authors I know struggle with dialogue. Maybe I as a blind person have a distinct advantage over you sighted people, because I pay so mush attention to what I hear.

What's at the Root of Dialogue Problems?

My observations tell me that problems with dialogue come from 2 main issues with writing dialogue:

Dialogue Problems

Continue reading "Fiction Writing help: How Do I Write Great Dialogue?"


How Many Words in a Novel, Novella, or Short Story

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How many words is the minimum for a novel? Where does a short story become too long to be called a short story?

Value yourself - Miracle Mindshift Month

Since some of my writer friends and I were wondering this, I looked it up.

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America specifies word lengths for each category of its Nebula award categories:[10]

Classification Word count
Novel over 40,000 words
Novella 17,500 to 40,000 words
Novelette 7,500 to 17,500 words
Short story under 7,500 words


Writer's Digest says this: 

Q. How long is the typical short story supposed to be? How about novellas and novels? Are there guidelines with regard to word count for a first-time novelist? —Molly HeylA. There are general guidelines for each literary category: Short stories range anywhere from 1,500 to 30,000 words; Novellas run from 30,000 to 50,000; Novels range from 55,000 to 300,000 words, but I wouldn’t recommend aiming for the high end, as books the length of War & Peace aren’t exactly the easiest to sell.Agent Lori Perkins of the L. Perkins Agency in New York says it’s much easier to market a first-time novelist’s book if the word count falls between 80,000 and 100,000 words, or roughly 300 double-spaced, typed pages—the average novel length.

Essentially, it will vary somewhat according to genre, and there is not one solid rule. But if you have written something that is approaching 20,000 words (80 pages), you have a novella. If  you have 200 or more pages, you've crafted a novel.

Keep writing. DOn't fuss over word count. First, be in service of the story. Deal with the rest later.

Follow your BLISS,

Ronda Del Boccio

#1 best selling author and speaker

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Writing Skills: How Important Are Commas?

How important are commas?

I'm part of a writing critique group, which is a group where writers help each other improve their writing. If you're a writer, find one of these groups near you, because it will truly help you enhance your work.

One of the members seems to be on a mission to correct everyone's comma usage. He's what we call a "grammar nazi," more concerned with rules than storytelling. He wrote a whole paragraph about where I should have used commas but did not. His only comment on the story was he didn't know what the market was for it.

Reading his comments on one of my stories led me to create the comic below.   He makes me want to tell him, "There, their, they're. It'll be all right, alright?"

Bitstrips comic: Ronda is too sexy for commas

Commas, commas everywhere.

If you hadn't noticed or didn't know, comma usage has changed a lot. It used to be that you would use one before a subordinate clause all the time. Now not so much. Language shifts. Grammar shifts.

How important do you believe commas are?

My sense is this: Tell the story and let your editor put in or take out commas based on their preferred style. Commas can be easily changed. Good storytelling is an artform!

What's your opinion? Answer as a comment and let's get a fun conversation going.

Follow your  B.L.I.S.S.,

Ronda Del Boccio

#1 bestselling author, speaker and mentor

#grammar #writingskils #AwakenedAuthor


Writing Challenges: My 30 Day Short Story Challenge Day 1

I love writing fiction, and I decided to challenge myself to write a story a day for a month, starting today.

The first story is loosely based on a guy who saw Bigfoot in Lampe Missouri over 30 years ago, when he was a young man on a date. When he told me about his experience, he actually said the line that became the title of the story: “She had a curfew. I had a van.” I loved that line so much, I used it as the title.

Writing Challenges

Here's a sample of the 30-Day Short Story Writing Challenge Day 1 story.

Excerpt of “She Had a Curfew…I had a Van” (a Bigfoot story)

by Ronda Del Boccio copyright 2014

My sisters never took a liking to fishing, but I got real lucky with my girl. She likes to fish near as much as I do, and she don’t mind cleaning the fish neither. We had made a full day of it at the lake fishin’, swimmin’ and…carryin’ on as young folk do.  We ate our catch for supper. We had a couple beers too, but don’t tell her dad.

Sunbeams danced on Table Rock Lake as the sun set, making a feller remember God’s in charge and not us puny people. We stood ankle deep in the water, arms around each other, watching the sun kiss the lake goodnight. All too soon, it’d be time for us to kiss each other goodnight on account of her curfew.  Sometimes it’s hard havin’ a girl who ain’t quite legal to make up her own mind on things like when it’s time to go home.

It’s real hard to think of much of anything when she’s so close to me. I forget all about God and the beauty of the lake and everything else, even fishin’, if you can imagine that’. Well, if you’re a guy, I know  you can imagine that..

I'll post an excerpt each day and share some writing tips along the way.

Today's writing tip: Focus

Keeping on a writing schedule means you have to be able to focus. Naturally, I have other things to do, like anyone else, so to keep on task, I turn off other distractions and do nothing but write for the half hour or hour I'm devoting to it.

I'm giving myself an hour for the story.

What is your personal writing challenge this month? Join the conversation and make it public!

Follow your B.L.I.S.S.!

Ronda Del Boccio, the Story Lady

bestselling author, speaker and mentor, creator of the B.L.I.S.S. Butterfly Author Success System.

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