Friday, October 03, 2014

Please Welcome Suspense Novelist JC Gatlin

Omnimystery News: Guest Post by JC Gatlin
with JC Gatlin

We are delighted to welcome author JC Gatlin to Omnimystery News.

JC's new novel of suspense is Prey of Desire (Blurb, Inc.; February 2014 trade paperback and ebook formats) with a mystery that spans 25 years. Some secrets are better left buried …

JC's guest post for us today is a conversation about "He Said, She Said", or how to avoid dialog tags.

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JC Gatlin
Photo provided courtesy of
JC Gatlin

  "Dialog tags are the little obvious fragments that writers add to the end of speech to identify who is speaking and what feeling the character is emoting," she explained.
  "So dialog tags are kind of like emoticons for writers," he laughed.
  "Exactly," she agreed.
  "Well, you didn't have to tell me you agreed. I already knew that based on you saying 'exactly,'" he snarled, offended.
  "Why are you telling me you're offended?" She put her hands on her hips and leaned toward him. She studied his expression a moment, then wagged a finger at him like an old schoolmarm. "You should show your feelings, not tell them." 
  "I don't understand what you mean?" he queried, baffled.
  "You're a writer." She straightened her back and folded her arms across her chest. "You should show not tell. And of course this includes dialogue."
  He shrugged. "But I like to use 'said' after my dialog to identify who is speaking," he said.
  "That's fine." She put a hand on his shoulder. Her face softened. "Adding 'said' to dialog is okay when used in moderation. It generally doesn't interrupt the flow of the narrative. Just don't break out the thesaurus to describe how they're talking. Your reader should feel that through your character's dialog and action."
  "You're kidding?" he vociferously expostulated. "You mean readers aren't impressed with all those verbs and adverbs?"
  "Those verbs and adverbs are distracting. They pull the reader out of the story." She stepped back and waved a hand, as if grasping an invisible object and flinging it across the room. After a moment, she looked him directly in the eyes. "Those words scream 'Look at me! Look how clever this story is written!'"
  "Really. In fact, you sometimes don't need dialog tags at all."
  "And the reader can still follow along?"
  "Yes. Especially when there are only two characters having a conversation."
  She watched him a moment as they stood in silence. He lifted his hand to his face and scratched his chin. He looked deep in thought.
  "I guess that makes sense." He reached for her and grasped her hand. His face brightened. "The words that come out of my character's mouth should be strong enough to convey the emotion. If I need an added oomph then I should describe what the characters are doing while they talk."
  She returned his smile and squeezed his hand. "Exactly."

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JC Gatlin loves Florida and Texas, and most of his stories feature those state's rich landscapes as backdrop. He has been reading mystery novels as far back as grade school, where the adventures of Encyclopedia Brown first inspired him to not only read and write, but to problem solve. As an adult, he reads everything written by Mary Higgins Clark, Dean Koontz and Andrew Gross, to name a few.

For more information about the author, please visit his website at or find him on Facebook.

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Prey of Desire by JC Gatlin

Prey of Desire
JC Gatlin
A Novel of Suspense

They said the disappearance of two high school students over 25 years ago was mystery that couldn't be solved. No one ever said it shouldn't be.

Following the abrupt end of a relationship, college student Kimberly Bradford finds comfort in the friendship with her over-the-top neighbor, Mallory. And, Mallory encourages her to get back out there. She would of course if it weren't for the thrilling little love notes and gifts she's been receiving.

Kim thinks they're from her ex-fiancee, not realizing he's been murdered. Worse, whoever is sending her all the extra attention is not only in her inner-circle, but has a connection to that unsolved murder some 25 years ago. That connection puts her life in danger, and exposes secrets better left buried around her closest friends and family. Print/Kindle Format(s)


  1. Great way to show how dialog tags can interrupt story flow. Great post!

  2. Thank you, Clare. I had fun writing it.


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