Monthly Archives: June 2016

Writing Great Dialogue

640766_72832305Great dialogue in a novel or screenplay is very different from ordinary conversation. In real conversations, people chatter endlessly and often boringly about nothing. But that’s not something you want to include in your novel!

Dialogue in your novel is a form of conflict. As with all conflict, it serves one of two purposes. I should either advance the plot, or develop the characters. If it doesn’t, you can cut it.

It’s also important that your dialogue sounds like someone said it, not like it was polished in a word processor. Here are a few ways to make your dialogue seem more real:

  • Eliminate long speeches. Use quick back-and-forth exchanges.
  • People don’t talk in long, complex sentences. In fact, they rarely complete a sentence at all.
  • Avoid information dumps; people rarely converse about things they both already know. It usually requires a question to elicit a statement.
  • People rarely say the other person’s name in a conversation and almost never more than once.
  • Use lots of interruptions and pauses. Conversations aren’t continuous. Silence is important.

I’ve prepared a five-page summary of good dialogue techniques and some exercises to let you practice improving some horrible dialogue from a very popular best seller! You can download your free copy here: Dialogue Exercises

For more help with writing great dialogue, check out my newest class, Creative Writing Projects. It gives you twelve projects designed to take you from brainstorming to publication, step by step, in twelve weeks. The class is regularly $299, but for a limited time you can enroll for just $39 using this link:

Creative Writing Projects Limited Time Offer Regularly $299 Just $39

Happy Writing!

Steve

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Learning More About Your Character

Young woman is writing something and thinking  (See also my other pics)

One of the best ways to create believable fiction is to structure it around believable characters. But how do you get to know your characters well, and give them the depth of real people?

One excellent way is to create a list of everything you know about each major character. I’ve created a form you can print out and fill in. It makes the process easy, and will encourage you to stop and think about facets of the character you may not have considered.

In addition, one of the most important attributes you can assign to a character is his or her story structuring flaw. The flaw will be something the protagonist must overcome to solve a problem. And for your antagonist, it will be something he or she can’t overcome.

You can download the latest version of my Comprehensive Character Attribute Form here.

For further help with character development, check out my newest class, Creative Writing Projects. It gives you twelve projects designed to take you from brainstorming to publication, step by step, in twelve weeks. The class is regularly $299, but for a limited time you can enroll for just $39 using this link:

Creative Writing Projects Limited Time Offer Regularly $299 Just $39

Happy Writing!

Steve

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