5 Tips for Creating Believable Fictional Languages

Gone are the days when you could speak gibberish in a movie or a novel—think Princess Leia’s scene negotiating with Jabba the Hutt in Return of the Jedi—and pass it off as obscure, exotic fictional languages. Today, when your characters speak fictional languages, your audience expects these languages to sound real, with natural-sounding vocabulary and […]

Most Common Writing Mistakes (Flat Plots)

Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 61: 5 Types of Clunky Dialogue

When you write excellent dialogue, you will simultaneously sharpen the rest of your narrative tools. When you write clunky dialogue, however, it’s unlikely readers will be able to engage with the story on any level. Happily, dialogue is usually one of the most enjoyable and intuitive parts of writing narrative fiction. We all do dialogue […]

How to Write (and Not Write) Expository Dialogue

Dialogue is one of the most versatile of all narrative fiction techniques. It allows us to characterize, to create both context and subtext, to entertain via humor, and to share some of the best and punchiest prose rhythms in the entire book. Because it is the only narrative technique that is a “true” form of showing, […]

How To Craft Dimensional Dialogue

How to Write Subtext in Dialogue

Part 5 of The Do’s and Don’ts of Storytelling According to Marvel Good dialogue comes down to five factors: 1. Advances the plot. 2. Accurately represents characters. 3. Mimics realism. 4. Entertains. 5. Offers subtext. These are also pretty much the “levels” in which we master dialogue. When we start out learning to write, our main concern is that the dialogue […]

How to Write Funny Dialogue (What I Learned Writing Storming)

How to Write Funny Dialogue (What I Learned Writing Storming)

This week’s video shows you the two important (but often overlooked) ingredients in figuring out how to write funny dialogue your readers will love. Video Transcript: Today, I’m excited to welcome you to the first installment in a month-long series featuring important writing lessons that I learned in the past few years while writing my […]

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 […]

Get Rid of On-the-Nose Dialogue Once and For All

Get Rid of On-the-Nose Dialogue Once and For All

Know what sets apart the okay writers from the great writers? Subtlety and subtext. This is true in absolutely every area of storytelling, from narrative to plotting to character development. But the lack of subtlety and subtext is perhaps nowhere more obvious than in dialogue. I’m talking, of course, about on-the-nose dialogue. When I pick up a potential […]

Are Your Characters Talking Too Much?

Are Your Characters Talking Too Much?

Dialogue drives both narrative and character development. The key for creative writers is including just enough dialogue to meet those needs and no more. The last thing you want is to have your characters talking too much. Many novelists approach a scene by writing until they feel they have included sufficient dialogue to meet their […]

The 4 Different Types of Conflict in Dialogue

The Four Different Types of Conflict in Dialogue

Today, I’m guest posting over on Jane Friedman’s blog, with the post “The Four Different Types of Conflict in Dialogue.” Here’s an excerpt: Conflict in dialogue provides authors with one of their best opportunities for jazzing up their stories and powering their plots. Slow scene? No problemo. Just throw in a nice, heated little argument. What […]

The Sneaky Secret Life of “As You Know, Bob…”

Just a quick heads up: I’m going to be taking a break from videoing for a month or two, due to some minor health issues. I’ll still be posting the text posts on Wednesdays, and you should be seeing the videos return by mid-spring. Cheers! *** Among writers, the “as you know, Bob” trope has […]