Write Numbers Right in Fiction

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Zoe’s book, Tailor Your Fiction Manuscript in 30 Days, is a fresh and innovative refocusing of your novel or novella. Through a few simple—and fun—steps, Zoe helps writers take their not-ready-for-publication and/or rejected manuscripts to a spit-polish finish. Writing is hard work, yes, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. —Eva Marie Everson, best-selling and multiple award-winning author, conference director, president of Word Weavers International, Inc.

Learn more at the end of the post.

For writing numbers for fiction (opposed to articles), my best advice to you is to read this comprehensive article by Fiction Editor Beth Hill. 

I also read through many of Hill’s answers to the comments and questions she received. Check those out too. Below I give you examples for correct forms of numbers for fiction I found interesting.

General Numbers

Narrative:

Jeremy’s tally showed 31,102 people attended the concert. (For numbers greater than 100)

Thirty-one thousand one hundred two people attended the concert. (Never start a sentence with a numeral.)

Jeremy learned fifty-five people attended the party. (Numbers from zero through one hundred.)

Dialogue:

“I learned thirty-one thousand one hundred two people attended the concert,” Jeremy said. (less common and more formal for dialogue)

“I learned thirty-one thousand one hundred and two people attended the concert,” Jeremy said. (more common for dialogue)

Time

Narrative:

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Jeremy arrived at 5:32 p.m. Jess entered at 6:00 a.m. (only one period)

Jeremy arrived at four o’clock. Jess arrived at nine. Elle showed up at ten fifteen.

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Dialogue

“Jeremy arrived at nine p.m. He left the next morning at eight and arrived home at one thirty,” said Paul. “It’s two twenty-three now.”

Narrative:

The head officer told them they’d rise at 0600.

Dialogue:

“Men, you will rise at zero six hundred,” the head officer said.

Mom gave me a stern look. “You will rise at oh six hundred.”

Narrative and Dialogue:

His two o’clock appointment arrived on time. But his three o’clock never showed up. (no hyphens)

Address

Narrative:

Sandy hunted for 638 Hemingway Drive.

Dialogue:

“I’m hunting for Six thirty-eight Hemingway Drive, but can’t find it.

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Hill said that Route 66 is a name and can be used in this format for both narrative and dialogue.

Narrative:

Jeremy turned onto Route 66.

Dialogue:

“I always take Route 66.” (Same logic for a TV Channel. “I like the news on Channel 5.”)

Scripture

Narrative: For encouragement, Jeremy brought up Romans 8:28 and Jeremiah 29:11.

Dialogue: “For encouragement, look up Romans eight twenty-eight and Jeremiah twenty-nine eleven.”

What number rule from Hill’s article did you find helpful?

Buy Page

I finished reading Tailor Your Fiction Manuscript in 30 Days. I have AND will highly recommend it to anyone who dabbles in fiction. It’s one of the best “how to” books I’ve ever read.

—Marsha Hubler, Director Montrose Christian Writers Conference

If you want to increase your chance of hearing yes instead of sorry or not a fit for our list at this time, this book is for you. If you want to develop stronger story plots with characters that are hard to put down, this book is for you. Through McCarthy’s checklists and helpful exercises and corresponding examples, you will learn how to raise the tension, hone your voice, and polish your manuscript. I need this book for my clients and the many conferees I meet at writer’s conferences around the country. Thank you, Zoe. A huge, #thumbsup, for Tailor Your Fiction Manuscript in 30 Days.  

—Diana L. Flegal, literary agent, and freelance editor

Tailor Your Fiction Manuscript is a self-editing encyclopedia! Each chapter sets up the targeted technique, examples show what to look for in your manuscript, then proven actions are provided to take your writing to the next level. Whether you are a seasoned writer or a newbie, you need this book! 

—Sally Shupe, freelance editor, aspiring author

Need to rework your book? Zoe M. McCarthy’s step-by-step reference guide leads you through the process, helping you fight feeling overwhelmed and wrangle your manuscript into publishable shape in 30 days. Tailor Your Manuscript delivers a clear and comprehensive action plan.

—Elizabeth Spann Craig, Twitteriffic owner, bestselling cozy mystery author of the “Myrtle Clover Mysteries,” the “Southern Quilting Mysteries,” and the “Memphis Barbeque Mysteries,” http://elizabethspanncraig.com/blog/  

Zoe has developed a guiding resource for beginning writers. Her method is designed for brainstorming, shaping, and revising the early draft of a manuscript. General and specific tips are offered for applying rules of writing to enhance one’s story for a workable second draft. By exploring the plot line of Love Comes Softly, writers may examine their own work for stronger plot and characterization. Valuable tools are offered that enable the writer to develop a workable draft in only 30 days!

—Yvonne Lehman, award-winning, best-selling author of 48 novels

Tailor Your Fiction Manuscript in 30 Days is chock-full of practical techniques. Numerous examples clarify problem areas and provide workable solutions. The action steps and blah busters McCarthy suggests will help you improve every sentence, every paragraph of your novel. If you follow her advice and implement her strategies, a publisher will be much more likely to issue you a contract.

—Denise K. Loock, freelance editor, lightningeditingservices.com

A concise, detailed, step by step resource for all writers. 

— Jamie West, editor coordinator, Pelican Book Group

Zoe’s writing blog has always intrigued me. As a high school English teacher, I can attest that her tips on good grammar and her hints for excellent sentence and paragraph structure are spot on. But as an author, I also appreciate her ever-present advice that excellent skills are not enough: you must tell a good story, too. This book clearly shows how to do it all.

—Tanya Hanson, “Writing the Trails to Tenderness,” author of Christmas Lights, Outlaw Heart, Hearts Crossing Ranch anthology, and coming in 2019, Tainted Lady, Heart of Hope, and Angel Heart. www.tanyahanson.com

McCarthy crafted an amazing self-help book that will strengthen any writer, whether new or seasoned, with guidance and self-evaluation tools.

–Erin Unger, author of Practicing Murder, releasing in 2019

Writing Character Interviews for Promotions

 

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My guest today is Zoe M. McCarthy (okay, me). Zoe discusses character interviews. Then she interviews the hero and heroine from her book, The Putting Green Whisperer, releasing September 14, 2018. She’s pleased to share that her publisher has a one-time-only 99¢ pre-order special for the Kindle version. The special disappears on the release date.  See the blurb and pre-order links for The Putting Green Whisperer below.

 

Character Interviews

Character interviews can help authors obtain a deeper understanding of their characters. They can also be used in book promotions to tantalize readers to purchase their books.

Are the questions asked for character development different than those for promotion?  Some are. For example, authors need to know their characters’ secrets, but giving away their secrets for promotional purposes would be story spoilers for the reader.

Other questions may or may not be good for promotions, depending on when the reader will know the answers in the book. For example, their past wounds may be revealed early in the story and asking about their wounds in an interview might work. If they only hint at past wounds in the beginning to create suspense, asking them in an interview to reveal their wounds would create spoilers.

Two Tips

  • The character interview questions and answers for promotions should cause readers to have questions they want to know the answers to.
  • The characters’ interview answers should reveal their character.

The Putting Green Whisperer Character Interviews

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Shoo Leonard

1. What do you want to accomplish physically, Shoo?

I want to leave caddying and make it into the PGA, where I hope to be a good example for youth. But before this can happen, I have a couple of challenges to overcome.

2. What are your thoughts about your fellow caddy Allie Masterson?

At first, I thought Allie needed a friend and I was supposed to minister to her. That didn’t go well. Then she revealed one thing that shamed me and other things that helped me understand her. Although she can be intense and prejudges at times, she believes in my dream and works tirelessly to help me. Allie’s my best friend.

image by mohamed_hassan

Allie Masterson

1. What do you want physically, Allie?

I’m glad Dad asked me to caddy for him on the PGA Seniors Tour, but when that ends, I want to teach kids in a good golf program. Some problems have come up, and I might have to research youth golf programs sooner than I thought.

2. What are your thoughts about your fellow caddy Shoo Leonard?

Man, I was afraid you’d ask me that. The great thing about Shoo is he has this unbelievable gift to read the greens. Guys who listen to his directions sink their putts. I misjudged Shoo at first because of our past history when we were kids, but now I’ll do anything to help him make it into the PGA. We’re fist-bumping buddies. And that’s a huge problem.

Interviewing your characters in promotional media. Click to tweet.

What are some good questions you’ve used in interviewing your characters for promotional purposes?

Pre-order Link  $0.99 during pre-order period only.

Suddenly unemployed, Allie Masterson returns home to Cary, North Carolina where she caddies for her father on the PGA Seniors Tour. There, she encounters a man who possesses an alluring gift of reading the contours of the green. Fascinated with his uncanny ability, Allie is excited to meet the Green Whisperer—until she discovers that the easygoing caddy is actually Shoo Leonard, the boy who teased her relentlessly when they were kids. Despite Allie’s reservations, when Shoo is faced with having to overcome a hand injury, she agrees to use her sport science degree to become his trainer…and then she falls for him.

 Shoo Leonard is grateful to Allie for her singular determination to get him ready for the PGA tour, but he isn’t ready for anything more. Still raw from a broken engagement and focused on his career, he’s content to be her fist-bumping buddy…but then he falls for her.

What seems like a happily-ever-after on the horizon takes a turn when Allie decides she’s become a distraction to Shoo’s career. Is it time for her to step away or can The Putting Green Whisperer find the right words to make her stay?

Wounded Heroines as Strong Female Characters

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I’ve heard readers dislike weak female characters. Recently, I published, “Show Your Character’s Wounds?” Together, these ideas may confuse writers. They may ask: Can wounded heroines be strong female characters?

Strong Female Character

First, I’ve compiled a list of traits I believe belong to a strong female character.

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♥ is multidimensional

♥ perseveres and endures; progresses forward in hope

♥ is independent but knows when to seek advice or help

♥ rises to challenges, whatever her environment is

♥ is intuitive, book smart, common-sense smart, or all three

♥ has at least one competency

♥ empathizes; helps others or contributes to society

♥ makes choices

♥ stands up for what she believes in

♥ is flawed but grows

♥ has inner strength to face trials and survive

♥ is essential to the story through her strengths and weaknesses

♥ is the lead; other characters support her

A Heroine With Wounds

A wounded heroine can meet the above criteria, but her wound has caused a flaw. It’s key she outgrows that flaw or doesn’t allow it to paralyze her.

image by Counselling

For many wounds, The Emotional Wound Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi gives “OPPORTUNITIES TO FACE OR OVERCOME THIS WOUND.” I list three wounds and give examples of what a strong female character does to show she’s overcome her past wound.

 

HOME INVASION. When Ann was a child, a thief entered and stole precious items from her house. Early in the story, Ann obsesses over recovering a family heirloom after learning the sale was shady. Now, a fire demolishes Ann’s possessions, including the heirloom. But saving things never enters Ann’s mind while she rescues her daughter. As she hugs her daughter, she sees the heirloom as insignificant. Ann’s wound becomes a scar.

PHYSICAL ASSAULT. When Ella was a teen, a man attacked her. Leery of men’s intentions, Ella doesn’t go out with men alone. Then, she double-dates and enjoys Eric’s company. After dating Eric several times alone, her trust develops. She accepts a client’s dinner invitation to discuss business. He becomes drunk. At her car, he makes advances. She tells him to leave. He persists. She grabs his arm and warns him she’s learned how to defend herself. She asks if he wants to suffer the pain she’s ready to inflict. He staggers away. Ella learns there are safe men, and she can stand up to others who aren’t. Her wound shrinks to a scar.

A PHYSICAL DISFIGUREMENT. Kate has eye pupils shaped like keyholes (coloboma). She doesn’t mind people asking about her condition and is glad to explain that from birth a tissue piece is missing from each eye. What bothers her is when people won’t make eye contact or fail to listen to her because they’re focused on her pupils. Now, she teases her new boyfriend about his noticeable cowlick. He sighs and says, “I was waiting for you to go after my cowlick.” Kate realizes she’s no better than the people who frustrate her. Kate’s wound fades into a scar.

Wounded heroines can be strong female characters. Click to tweet.

How might a strong female character overcome being bullied in her past?

COOKING UP KISSES – has earned an Amazon #1 bestseller ribbon in two categories!

Five scrumptious e-book romance novellas, all for $0.99 or free on KindleUnlimited. Here’s the link.  Here are the blurbs:

 

 

 

THE INVISIBLE WOMAN IN A RED DRESS BY ZOE M. McCARTHY

Candace Parks lives a passionless life in Richmond. The computer programmer returns to the empty family home in the Blue Ridge Mountains solely to evaluate her job, faith, and boyfriend. Her high school crush, Trigg Alderman, who barely remembers her, visits his Gram next door. Sorting her life out? How about nothing of the sort!

 

LOVE ON A DARE BY MARY MANNERS

Alana Mulvaney’s life is in a holding pattern. Consumed by day-to-day operations of the family business, Alana has no time for fun or romance. But a little fun and a whole lot of romance is just what Alana’s sisters have in mind when they learn childhood friend Donovan O’Reilly has returned to town.
Donovan O’Reilly has loved Alana Mulvaney since he moved in next door to her at the age of five. But he broke her heart when he was forced to leave town, and now that he’s returned home to Winding Ridge he has a second chance to prove himself. But is it too late to earn her trust…and her love…again?

HUMMINGBIRD KISSES BY DELIA LATHAM

Toni Littlebird believes that when she meets the man God created for her, she’ll know—and she’ll love him in that very moment.
But then Dax Hendrick roars into Hummingbird Hollow on a noisy, crippled Harley, stinking up the air and chasing away her beloved hummingbirds. One look into the intruder’s eyes and her heart sinks. He’s “The One.” She’d been right about knowing, but wrong about something far more important: She will never love this man!

HEARTS ON THE HARBOR BY ROBIN BAYNE

Cara Peyton is content with her life, her trendy Baltimore bookshop is perfect for her. But when her ex turns up to remodel the store, asking for a second chance, she’s torn and unsure about risking her heart again. Can he convince her to trust him, and God, before the job is finished?

 

 

HIS VALENTINE PROMISE BY DORA HIERS

Another Valentine’s Day and Quinn Randolph prefers to spend it with her sweet rescue lab. Who needs men and their broken promises? Especially Pierce Karson’s! Years ago, his desertion shattered her. Now he’s trying to steal the property she targeted to expand her florist shop! Pierce only wants to belong…and for Quinn to choose him. His Valentine Promise…