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 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 good writing just all luck and gut instinct—or is there a method authors can learn to create clear and powerful […]

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 […]

8 Different Types of Scenes

Any story will require many different types of scenes. Some of this variety will come from content (romance vs. action vs. humor vs. tragedy). However, much of the variety in types of scenes will arise from the needs of pacing. Authors can find great value in understanding some of the different types of scenes, so […]

How to Use Chapter Cliffhangers in Your Fiction

We all want to write stories that keep readers turning pages into the wee hours of the morning. We want readers to reach the end of a chapter and be gripped with an undeniable need to keep reading. We want to them take a look at the clock and promise themselves, Just one more chapter—and then […]

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 […]