The dark moment is the time when the protagonist reaches rock bottom. All seems lost. This will usually precede the climax (where the major plot problem is resolved), and thus take place near the beginning of the final part of the book.
Not all books need dark moments, but properly used, this point of crisis can intensify the conflict and at the same time, initiate its resolution.
Alicia Rasley in her blog on dark moments sums it up well on this page.
On its most basic level this tells the reader more about the character and the environment they ‘re in. Note the word “tell”. Used correctly it should also “show” the reader more about the character as well.
Unless the POV is omniscient third, the description should always relate to the person whose viewpoint it is. It should only show what is important to that character. Morgan Hawke gives a good example:
Oscar the Grouch is not going to see - or describe - a field of roses the same way as Big Bird. Darth Vader's opinion (and description,) of Yoda is not going to resemble Luke Skywalker's. The Heroine is NOT going to describe the Villain the same way she would her Hero.
Check out Morgans' blogs on the subject:
Dialogue is what people say and is delineated by quotation marks.
Here is a good article on The Punctuation of Dialogue.
Strunk & White's Elements of Style recommends:
"In dialogue, each speech, even if only a single word, is a paragraph by itself; that is, a new paragraph begins with each change of speaker."
Combining dialogue with action is important Morgan Hawke (again) stresses: One character's Dialogue belongs in the Same Paragraph with their Actions BECAUSE when that character speaks, that one character is still acting!
Dialogue always happens after actions. People act faster than they think, unless the action is as an after effect of what has been said or thought.
There is also inner dialogue, the POV’s characters thoughts. Currently publishers vary as to how they treat this. Some put it into italics, others don’t. Together the two types of dialogue make up the character’s “voice”. The current trend is that if the inner dialogue is accompanied by words like he thought, or he wondered then it is not italicized. If the thought are words that could have been spoken as dialogue but deliberately weren't then they are italicized. This is as distinct from
Weaving internal thought along with external dialogue is a great way to show a person’s character. A character could be self-censoring their speech, thinking one thing but saying something else. For example a male character may swear a lot in company with other men, but only in internal dialogue in the company of women. Impetuous people tend to speak first then think.
What someone doesn’t say in dialogue can be just as important as what they say. For the POV character, what they don’t say is usually shown as an inner thought. For the observed character, a lie, evasion may be up to the reader to determine from what has already happened in the story or from the POV’s character observation of the speaker’s body language. This may or may not be correctly interpreted depending on the circumstances.
Writing good dialogue is at the heart of all fiction writing. Entire books have been devoted to the subject. There are also online workshops. Here’s a list of some web articles on the subject: http://www.suite101.com/reference/how_to_write_good_dialogue
Dialogue has to match the tone and genre of the book. Jennifer Crusie’s witty modern dialogue would not suit a regency romance for example. It should also match the character ie the word choice, style, and cadence should be as distinct as possible.
Robert Sawyer has some good tips on writing realistic dialogue here: http://www.sfwriter.com/ow08.htm
Read dialogue aloud and listen to the cadence. The way the words flow.
Watch that dialogue doesn’t become a rant. Break it up with reactions from the listener.
Dialogue cues describe the voice – the tone, quality, pitch, volume and rate of speech.
This becomes non verbal characterization. How they say something gives as much if not more information than what they say.
Margie Lawson runs a great workshop on the subject and her notes can be purchased. http://www.margielawson.com/index.php/on-line-classes/june-writing-body-language
Short lines of dialogue ping-ponging back and forth between characters. Often there are no dialogue tags or dialogue cues.
Basic dialogue tags inform the reader who delivered the line of dialogue, ie he said, she said
Dialogue tags are only needed when you don’t have any other way of identifying the speaker.
Instead of using basic dialogue tags, dialogue can also be identified by tying the dialogue to an action or an internalization, body language, a visceral response or a dialogue cue. These lift the words off the page into a visual image.
“Sit back,” he said.
“Sit.” He pointed at the empty seat.
I am indebted to the great SciFiRomance author Linnea Sinclair for explaining this to me in an email:
All bookstores receive their “inventory” (ie: books) usually on consignment from one of several major distributors. Book publishers themselves do not ship directly to stores. Publishers (or the publisher’s printer) ships to a distributor’s warehouse and the distributor takes orders from bookstores, be they Borders or Barnes & Noble, or Mom And Pop Books R Us. Some of the more well known distributors are Ingram’s (likely the largest), Baker & Taylor and Levy Entertainment. The distributors send out catalogs to bookstores (or in the case of large chains, to the chain’s HQ) and then the store decides who/what to order from that.
Large publishers—like Bantam—have “reps” who visit the top executives and buyers of the large chain stores, like Borders, and they try to get the buyers/execs excited about whatever is coming up next. But the stores still must order through a distributor.