Category Archives: Dialogue

Surprising Your Readers in Every Scene

Often we think of surprising audiences with large twists and turns, with thrilling midpoints or shocking losses, but bringing surprise into smaller story pieces, like interactions and beats, can sometimes be equally satisfying in their own way. They also hook … Continue reading

Posted in Action Scenes, Characters, Dialogue, Emotion, Motivation, Pacing, Reader Interest, Reading, Resident Writing Coach, Show Don't Tell, Subtext, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 11 Comments

When Telling, Not Showing, Emotion is the Right Choice

Hi everyone! A past resident writing coach is visiting us with an excerpt on a new course she’s teaching on mastering emotions: C.S. Lakin. This post is a touch longer than usual but it will give you a good window … Continue reading

Posted in Characters, Description, Dialogue, Emotion, Guest Post, Revision and Editing, Show Don't Tell, Tools and Resources, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 11 Comments

How to Craft Engaging Dialogue Exchanges

One of the best places to reveal your character’s emotions is during dialogue. Author Peter Gelfan joins us with some great considerations on how to make these exchanges more powerful, drawing readers in. Read on! Although we like to think … Continue reading

Posted in Backstory, Characters, Description, Dialogue, Emotion, Guest Post, Show Don't Tell, Subtext, Tension, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 7 Comments

Writing Backstory Through Dialogue

Backstory is one of the trickier elements of writing. We have to take our readers back in time to let them know some of the past, but how do we do it without interrupting the flow of the story? Jerry … Continue reading

Posted in Backstory, Character Wound, Characters, Dialogue, Flashbacks, Writing Craft | 31 Comments

Context, Text, and Subtext: What They Are and How They Help Storytelling

In writing tips, we talk about text a lot. But I feel like we don’t talk enough about context and subtext in this industry. Both are vital to good storytelling and often misunderstood or even mixed up. So today I … Continue reading

Posted in Characters, Description, Dialogue, Resident Writing Coach, Revision and Editing, Show Don't Tell, Subtext, Uncategorized, Writing Craft | 6 Comments

The Writer’s Spice Cabinet

Some writers object to thinking about plot and structure because it may lead to formulaic writing. They miss a critical distinction. Why does something become a formula in the first place? Because it works! Here’s a formula for an omelet: … Continue reading

Posted in Characters, Dialogue, Plotting, Resident Writing Coach, Setting, Uncategorized, Writing Craft | 7 Comments

Keep It Fresh: 10 Ways To Show Your Character’s Emotions

Years ago, Becca and I grumbled about how our characters always expressed emotion the same way. My big thing? Frowning. Did my characters EVER know how to frown. They were savage at it. Becca’s characters? Smilers, all of them. SO … Continue reading

Posted in Character Wound, Characters, Conflict, Description, Dialogue, Emotion, Emotion Thesaurus Guide, Experiments, One Stop For Writers, Setting Thesaurus Guides, Show Don't Tell, Subtext, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 14 Comments

Does Your Character Description Create A Powerful Image?

Your job as a storyteller is to create IMAGES. This is true not just for screenwriters, but for anyone presenting a story to a reader or an audience. Whenever we read a novel or hear a speech or see a … Continue reading

Posted in Character Arc, Character Flaws, Character Traits, Characters, Description, Dialogue, Emotion, Motivation, Resident Writing Coach, Show Don't Tell, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 2 Comments

Read More Fiction (A New Year’s Resolution for Writers)

Are we too late for New Year’s resolutions? I hope not, because there’s one I urge every writer to make. Read more fiction. It should be easy for us, right? Here, we’re all story lovers. But I mentor a lot … Continue reading

Posted in Dialogue, Openings, Resident Writing Coach | 24 Comments

Happy Holidays: Our Most Popular 2016 Posts For Writers

It’s that time of year where Becca and I sneak off to the liquor cabinet for some adult beverages to drink some rich hot chocolate in front of a roaring fire so we can enjoy some family togetherness and reflect … Continue reading

Posted in About Us, Basic Human Needs, Character Arc, Character Flaws, Character Traits, Character Wound, Characters, Conflict, Description, Dialogue, Emotion, Emotion Thesaurus Guide, Empathy, Experiments, Fear, Mood and Atmosphere, Motivation, One Stop For Writers, Pacing, Positive & Negative Thesaurus Guides, Setting, Setting Thesaurus Guides, Show Don't Tell, Story Structure, Subtext, Symbolism, Uncategorized, Villains, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 6 Comments