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 […]

Are Your Characters Bantering or Bickering?

Are Your Characters Bantering or Bickering?

Today is the last day to sign up for the Outlining Your Novel: Create a Roadmap to Storytelling Success webinar! This 90-minute presentation, hosted by Writer’s Digest, will be live online tomorrow, November 7th at 1 PM EST (although you can listen or re-listen anytime you want for up to a year). I’ll be talking outlines, answering live […]

An Insanely Simple Trick for Tightening Your Dialogue

An Insanely Simple Trick for Tightening Your Dialogue

This week’s video talks about one of the cons of trying to mimic real-life conversations. Video Transcript: I adore good dialogue. Funny, snappy, insightful, punchy—love it. Nothing makes a book come to life faster. And it’s also a ton of fun to write. Whenever I finish a day’s writing session with a comparatively massive word count, you can pretty […]