Search Results for: action beat

An Easy Way to Immediately Improve Your Character’s Action Beats

An Easy Way to Immediately Improve Your Character’s Action Beats

This week’s video shows you how to take your dialogue’s action beats upon a notch by focusing on symbolism and subtext. Video Transcript: A novel cannot live on dialogue alone. Dialogue may be the most fun part to write; it may be the most fun part to read. But you can’t build a whole story […]

Most Common Writing Mistakes: Misused Speaker Tags and Action Beats

Don’t jeopardize your characters’ witty dialogue with punctuation and stylistic mistakes. Let’s a take a look at two means for indicating speakers and varying the rhythm of speech and narrative: the speaker tag and the action beat. How Not to Use Speaker Tags The speaker tag, which in its most basic form consists of the […]

Motivation-Reaction Units: Cracking the Code of Good Fiction

Motivation-Reaction Units: Cracking the Code of Good Writing

What’s the secret to good prose? What makes it work—not just on the aesthetic level of vivid and poetic word choices, but on the deeper and ultimately more important level of functionality? In short, is there a method authors can learn to create clear and powerful prose—or is it all luck and gut instinct? All […]

Visceral Reactions: Emotional Pay Dirt or Fast Track to Melodrama?

Are visceral reactions emotional pay dirt or a fast track to melodrama? The answer of course is: both! But let’s back up the cliché truck. The word “visceral” is thrown around quite a bit, but not everyone understands what it means. A visceral reaction is an instinctive, gut-deep bodily response to a stimulus or experience. Without getting too complex, neurotransmitters (chemical […]

Are Your Dialogue Beats Repetitious?

Even the most scintillating dialogue scenes require more than just dialogue to stay afloat. They need dialogue beats—and good ones at that. You must pad the characters’ speech with dialogue tags (he said, she whispered, etc.), internal narrative, and body language and action—otherwise known as action beats. Often dialogue beats will flow naturally from the […]

Critique: 6 Tips for Introducing Characters

Most of the time, I hate real-life introductions. For one thing, I almost always forget the person’s name in the rush of shaking hands, smiling, and saying something charmingly banal. Then there’s the small talk, important but often tedious. Squirm. But that’s most of the time—because occasionally I run into one of those special people […]

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Critique: 10 Ways to Write Excellent Dialogue

For many people, dialogue is the heartbeat of fiction. As arguably the only true form of “showing” in written fiction, it offers an inexhaustible source of energy for dramatizing characters, catalyzing conflict, and enhancing every available opportunity for entertainment. That’s why it’s so important to take full of advantage of dialogue, and that’s why we’re […]

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Critique: How to Use Paragraph Breaks to Guide the Reader’s Experience

Paragraph breaks are something akin to a writer’s turn signals. They silently—sometimes almost subliminally—tell readers what’s about to happen and how they should react. As you may remember (or not) from school, a paragraph break in technical writing is meant to indicate a new thought. (I have clear memories of being required to find and […]

writing large casts of characters

The 10 Rules of Writing Large Casts of Characters

Large casts of characters are the thing these days. Rowling, Martin, and Marvel—just to name a few newsworthy examples—victoriously (and sometimes not-so-victoriously) throw casts of hundreds at screen and paper. Understandably, writers rush to emulate—both because, on a head level, this seems like the obvious path to success, and because, on a heart level, we […]

Brainstorming the Wound in Your Character's Backstory

Tips for How to Choose the Right Sentences

What is writing but choosing the right words in the right sentences in the right paragraphs in the right pages in the right chapters? But even though words and sentences are the smallest of integers within our storytelling, they’re actually one of the most complex. How do you choose the right sentences? Is it a process […]