Showing posts from August, 2019

How to Get the Most Out Of Your Characters – Part 2

Part 1 looked at creating a compelling character using realism, emotions, fears, goals and motivations. They’re elements that an interesting and memorable character should have. But there are even more ways to get the most from your characters. The one thing characters do in any given situation is they display certain behaviours, depending what is happening. Actions often speak louder than words, so the reader will be looking at how your character acts and what he says. If you have developed your character well, they will have their own personalities – which in turn determine how they act. How would they act in a tense scene, or a confrontation scene, an action or love scene?   And what they say, and how they say it, is also important. That’s why dialogue plays such an important role in characterisation. Characters have to carry emotion not just in their actions, but also in their conversations – characters can sometimes be profound in what they say, in a way that resonates wi

How to Get the Most Out Of Your Characters – Part 1

Your characters don’t just tell a story. They carry the story. Great characters make the story. When planning a novel, characterisation, along with plot and subplots etc., is one of the most important elements. We want characters that are different from each other, not just in personalities or mannerisms, but in how they do things. That’s often how we judge other people, and so we have to ensure they’re interesting enough for readers to want to get to know more about them. Firstly, every writer knows that characters need to be relatable. They don’t have to be loved or even be likeable – they can be hated – but they need to be interesting enough to relate to the reader.   And to do this we give characters fears, goals, motivation, weaknesses, strengths and lots of conflict. These ingredients draw the reader in because they are all relatable, too. We all have fears, we all have goals, we all have things that motivate us, we all have strengths and weaknesses and we all have all ma

Handling Dialogue Tags

Dialogue tags are not as hard to get to grips with as writers think.   They’re the ‘he said/she said’ punctuations showing who is speaking, but because the reader is so used to seeing ‘he said’ etc., these tags become almost invisible.   And that’s what writers should aim for – to make sure dialogue tags don’t get in the way of the reader’s enjoyment of the story. Attributions are a functional element that shows which character is speaking. It helps to prevent confusion during dialogue. Dialogue attributions can be placed before the character speaks, between the dialogue or afterward, for example: John said, ‘I don’t think this is the right way.’ ‘You know,’ John said, ‘I don’t think this is the right way.’ ‘I don’t think this is the right way,’ John said.​ This functionality allows writers to build seamless dialogue. ‘Said’ is a universally accepted verb that readers won’t even notice, and therefore won’t slow down the narrative. This is why it’s the preferred word, bu