Category Archives: Writing Craft

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Talking Heads (Top 10 Dialogue Writing Mistakes)

#7 Talking Heads Syndrome

Ever read dialogue that made you feel like you’d just cast off in a rudderless boat? The scene seemed interesting, but you just couldn’t get a grappling hook into it. The viewpoint wasn’t clear, and you lost track of who was saying what and weren’t exactly sure where the characters even were, let alone what they were doing. This sounds like a case of the dreaded talking heads syndrome. The writer failed to set the scene in time and space or to give you enough identifying information to navigate the conversation.The result of these kinds of omissions is always a confused reader. Continue Reading>>

Out-of-Character Dialogue (Top Ten Dialogue Writing Mistakes)

#3 Out of Character Dialogue

I just can't help myself. An interesting individual who crosses my path is going to get the once-over. I try not to intrude as I study the mannerisms, expressions, and speech rhythms of complete strangers. Any idiosyncrasy makes its way into my mental filing cabinet labeled 'creating characters.' Sound familiar? If you are … Continue Reading ››

Overusing Beats (Top 10 Dialogue Writing Mistakes)

#2 Overusing Beats in Dialogue

Discovering beats, an alternative to dialogue tags that helps build your story world can be empowering. The temptation, of course, is to salt your dialogue with beats. Characters no longer stand idle.  Oh, no. They smile, laugh, frown, scowl, nod, kick, touch, look, glance, eye, wonder, ponder, remember, and think with wild abandon. It’s enough to wear out a self-respecting character, not to mention any hapless reader who might wander into such a hyperactive story world. Continue Reading>>