Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Monday, June 1, 2009

Of Dialogue and Voyeurism

Dialogue can make or break the reality in a story. If the characters use unrealistic dialogue then it drags the believability level of the entire story way down.

An important role of dialogue is to help develop your characters into, well, characters. That being said I'll give to you the holy grail of advice regarding dialogue: Every character should have a distinct voice. This really should be a given, but I said it anyway. If the characters all talk the same, use the same words, etc. then you essentially have one character that you call by different names, and talks to him/herself. Not very fun to read. Another note along those line is to try not to put too much of yourself into your character's dialogue (unless the character you're writing is supposed to be like you). Of course, we, the readers, won't know it's like you, but, you, the writer, will be biased as to the believability of a character's word choice if you use the word daily. Get what I mean?

I find dialogue fun because there are so many possibilities. Your characters can say anything, as long as it fits into their realm of reality. Use dialogue to provide back story, move the plot along, or even to add a little comedy after a particularly dramatic scene (Shakespeare, anyone?).

It is also important to remember that body language is, or should be, a big part of fiction dialogue. When people speak they aren't standing stationary; hands are flailing, feet are tapping, eyes are rolling. Not to mention the countless facial expressions. Sometimes whole conversations are had without talking. Get creative,


Observe and recall: Go to a crowded place that's easy for a voyeur to blend in with their subjects like, dare I say it, Starbucks, and observe the way people interact with each other then try and recreate it in your story. Not only will you be doing research, but you'll also be thoroughly entertained. I've heard some pretty crazy things on my voyeur trips.

My point is writing dialogue doesn't have to be a chore. Make it fun. If you don't enjoy every aspect of writing then you probably shouldn't be a writer.

Thank you and have a nice day!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Quick Update

Sorry for going so long without posting. I've been really busy. Things have slowed down a lot now which gives me more time to write for the blog. I do have summer classes so my posts won't come as frequently or as in depth as they used to, but do expect them.

I haven't abandoned WP or WW. They just had to take the backburner.

This was just a quick update. I'll have an actual (possibly worthy of reading) article on Saturday.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Naming your Work

Titling my work has become a large part of my writing process. In fact, it's usually the very first thing I do. Before I have any characters or scenes, even before I have a real story I come up with a title.

My titles are usually the basis for the main idea of whatever I'm writing be it poem or short story. That way whenever I feel like I'm straying away from the main point of the story I can read my title and it brings me right back to where I need to be.

One reason I'm writing this post is because recently I wrote a short story that I've yet to name. I didn't stick to my usual process of title first then write, and now I'm stuck with a nameless story. When this has happened to me in the past I've just went with the name of one of my major characters or a particularly important line. None of those seemed to fit with this short story. Because the story isn't character driven it would seem artificial to use the name of a character as the title.

So I thought maybe I'll go with an action that was performed or describe an important scene in five words (any more than 7 and the title would be too long for my taste), and that seemed like a more thesable idea.

What began as "Untitled short story"
evolved to "Alexandera"
then moved on to "Descent into the Realm"
and then became known as "The Demon-hybrid Huntress"

The title still needs some work, but I feel better working with any title rather than "untitled."

I also take advantage of name generators. It's always fun to see the titles these things come up with.
Here are a few of my favorites: Title-o-Matic
Band and Song name generator
Title Generator


Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday Links

New Writing Woes Post.

There are some really interesting, well written articles over at Writing World that you should definitely check out sometime. Like this one on Motivation. I'm really in need of motivation at the moment so it was a good read for me.

That's my find of today.

In the spirit of Friday the Thirteenth, I've written a horror prompt for you guys. It was originally scheduled for Monday, but since today is the day of horror I thought it'd only be filing that it be posted today. I'll post my response to it tomorrow.

Horror Prompt: Tomato Soup for the Serial Killer Soul

Write a flash fiction story from the perspective of a serial killer a la Chicken Soup for the Soul. You know, an "inspirational" tale meant to help others who encounter a similar situation. Your character must be believable, but not remorseful for what
they've done. Describe at least one murder in excruciating detail.

Have fun with it, and I encourage you to post your own response in my comments.

Have a great day!!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Impromptu Vacation

For recent updates and why I haven't posted lately click here .

Expect the new posting schedule to be effective Tuesday February 10, 2009.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Getting Into the Minds of Your Characters

My favorite part about writing fiction is being able to create characters; people who live only in the minds of the readers.

Whether or not a character I create is based on different parts of myself I make sure that they have their own voice and personality.

When creating new characters it's important that they each have their own fingerprints, or individual traits that, when put together, make each character unique. Two sisters, say twins, can't have identical fingerprints or it could get really confusing to the reader. Anyone who's ever been around twins knows that they often have the same voice and/or mannerisms, but there is always something about them that makes them different enough to their family and friends who can easily tell them apart.

You, as the writer, are responsible fer getting your readers close enough to your characters that they can distinguish one character from another without having to read their names.

1. Get to know your characters before you introduce them to other people.

When you introduce a new friend to your family you are saying, "I can vouch for this guy. He's a good person." When you're writing it's pretty much saying the same thing to the readers. If you don't truly know your characters then you can't, on good conscience, introduce them to the reader because you don't know if they'll turn out to be bad people (unless that's what you were going for).

You may be saying, "How could I not know my characters? I created them." That's true, but when you treat them like living people they become something more than words on a page. When you keep them internal then you are more inclined to put too much of yourself into who your characters are. I liken this to having a pet, a dog. Your dog can't talk to you but you still take the time to name him and acknowledge that he has a personality. When you talk to your dog you don't do it in your head. You actually talk to him, but don't expect an answer. Try doing the same with your characters. Project them outside of yourself so that you see them the way a reader would. Ask them questions that you would ask someone that you just met and wanted to get to know better.

Here's an example of how I question my characters. Character Interview

2. Get to know the people your characters know.

What kind of people do your characters associate with? Who are their coworkers? Who don't they get along with and why? These questions will help form a fuller picture of your characters personality type. It may also reveal your characters' morals, social status, and how they interact with other people.

3. Create scenarios for your characters.

Put your characters into situations, ranging from mundane to life altering, that occur before, throughout, and after the course of the novel or novella. How do they react? What did they do to get through each scenario? How did the way they react change over time? These will be the events that help shape their personalities.

You may have noticed that I didn't mention naming the characters. That's because I usually name my characters last. Sometimes their names are based on their personalities and other times they are just randomly picked from a name generator. There will be more on naming and generators in a later post.

Get it together

I'm rushing to get the rest of this blog up and running.

What I have left to do:

  • Writer Resource links
  • Write my first real entry
  • ad other random little things