Nancy's Books

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Dialog Tags/Swifties/Contests

Dialogue tags often consist of only two words, such as “he said.” Said is the recommended verb because the word become invisible to the reader. There’s an interesting dialog tag called Tom Swiftie. Or Swiftie. Or Swifty. A Swiftie is a sentence in which a phrase and the dialog tag become a pun. The name dates back to the early 1900s when author Edward L. Stratemeyer wrote a series of books about a character named Tom Swift. Stratemeyer also created the Bobbsey Twins, Nancy Drew, and the Hardy Boys. He didn’t actually write the series, but he created the characters and developed the plots for his books. Various writers wrote the stories.

Here are some examples of Swifties:

"The number of people not attending class today really bothers me," said the professor absent-mindedly.
"I like modern painting," said Tom abstractly.
"I find my job painful -- every inch of it," said Lear achingly.
"There's room for one more," Tom admitted.
"Here's your allowance for the next two weeks," Tom advanced.
"Fire!" yelled Tom alarmingly.

Am I suggesting that Swifties are a practice we should strive for in our writing? Hardly. But we should view these as a glaring reminder that a simple dialog tag, such as “he said” is often all that is needed; otherwise, the dialog tag can become a distraction to the reader.


Each issue of Literary Laundry is accompanied by a writing competition. All pieces submitted to us for review will be entered into consideration for our Awards of Distinction. Cash awards are offered for the following:

$500 for best poem
$500 for best short story
$250 for best one-act drama

Deadline December 1, 2010.
Details at

The Angel Animals Network 2010 True Story Contest is now accepting submissions of stories about animals helping children, parents, and families deal with chronically difficult situations and circumstances or temporary tough periods in a child’s life.
Deadline: September 15, 2010
Details at

Birdsong Micropress Winter 2010 Poetry + Prose Contest
New York literary zine Birdsong is now accepting submissions for our Winter 2010 Poetry + Prose Contest. A prize of $50, publication in birdsong #14, 10 complimentary copies of the zine (edition of 200, full color, screenprinted cover), and a featured spot in our Brooklyn reading series in mid-December will be awarded a single person in each category. Submit a 12 pt. standard font .doc file of up to three pages of poetry, or 1500 words of double-spaced prose.
Deadline: 10 October 2010
Details at

For students:

Kids Are Authors is an annual competition open to Grades K-8 and is designed to encourage students to use their reading, writing, and artistic skills to create their own books. Under the guidance of a project coordinator, children work in teams of three or more students to write and illustrate their own book. Two Grand Prize winning books will be published in each of these categories: Fiction and Nonfiction. The winning books
will be published by Scholastic and sold at Book Fairs throughout the country. Each Grand Prize winning team receives:
· $5,000 in merchandise from the Scholastic Book Fairs School
Resource Catalog to be awarded to the public/private school
or non-profit organization of their choice.
· 100 copies of their published book
Other prizes included.
Deadline March 15, 2011
Details at

No comments:

Post a Comment