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 […]

Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 34: Repetitive Dialogue

Forget all the other writing rules, but always remember this one: The reader’s time is valuable. Readers don’t want to listen to us or our characters repeat ourselves—especially in repetitive dialogue. It’s surprising how easily repetitive dialogue can sneak into our writing. Half the time we’re so close to the material, we may not even […]

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?

This week’s video explains the important difference between characters who are bantering and characters who are bickering—and how to write both. Video Transcript: I love witty banter. I mean, really, who doesn’t, right? A little playful, quick-witted dialogue can season up any scene. Tell me there’s bantering in a book or movie, and I’m going […]

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 […]

Exclusive Dialogue: When Readers Don't Know What You're Talking About

Exclusive Dialogue: When Readers Don’t Know What Your Characters Are Talking About

A good story will always be a balance between providing readers necessary information—and keeping them curious by not giving them all the info. Nowhere is this more true than in dialogue. Make no mistake. This is a tough wire on which to balance. Give readers too much juice, and they’ll not only grow bored, they may also feel […]

Writing Scenes You Haven’t Seen

Compelling fiction is driven by scene. We can feel omnipotent when writing a fictional scene, wielding complete control over every detail, every action, every sensory experience. But there are limits to that power; what we include must seem real to the readers. Creating a sense of the “real” is a particular challenge for writers of historical fiction, who must stay […]

Most Common Writing Mistakes: The Do’s and Don’ts of Dialect

Who doesn’t love a good accent? British, Indian, French, Spanish, Irish, Australian, South African, and Japanese actors, among many others, all bring added spice to their roles on the American big screen. And I suspect the same holds true in reverse (when I visited Australia several years ago, someone told me she loved my accent, which was a […]

Why You Should Steal From Other Authors

Confession time: I pilfer the wealth of other writers’ words on a regular basis. I filch characters. I purloin themes. I steal plots. In other words, I am a big fat thief. And I want you to be one too. Yeah, okay, so most of that was said tongue in cheek. Obviously, I don’t go […]