Believable Character Dialogue

Believable Character Dialogue

It’s a short one this week! I’ve been super busy with magazine articles. Not a bad thing!


Have you ever watched a TV show where the characters are involved in something serious, and they suddenly start talking about relationship problems? For example, maybe they are investigating a crime, trying to figure out who killed the millionaire business man, and one suddenly says, “So how are things working out with Tom?”

The other character then responds. They carry on a conversation about it. Then they find a crushed cigarette butt—the business man doesn’t smoke—and turn their thoughts back to the scene of the crime.

As a writer, this drives me nuts! It’s completely unbelievable! It would never happen in real life. No one takes care of serious business and discusses relationships in the middle of it. No one stops in the middle of running from the bad guys to express their romantic feelings and kiss the other person passionately. No one . . . you get my point. Continue reading

How to Create Your Own Mythical or Magical Creatures for Your Book

How to Create Your Own Mythical or Magical Creatures for Your Book

One of my favorite things about writing fantasy is the shear amount of stuff I am allowed to make up. Characters, names, creatures, lands, magic, and of course the plot. Many of the creatures I use are standards, like unicorns and elves, but some of the others are made up.

One of the characters I made up is called a “vubricon.” The air that it exhales powers a carousel in the second book of my Martina Mackenzie series. The characters who built the carousel were unable to use wind magic to power it because elemental magic has been outlawed except when the user is granted permission by the council. Because the builders have dubious intentions for the seemingly innocent carousel, they decline to ask permission to use wind magic to power it and, instead, imprison the creature in the bowels of the machinery.

In the same book, the borgsten makes its first appearance, as a creature that appears when a magical amulet is used to call it. It is the unintended companion to the amulet, and no one is sure where it came from. The amulet was made by mistake long ago when a Rhihalva man attempted to create a magical amulet to develop a remedy for his sick son. He eventually succeeded, by the way, on his seventh try. Continue reading

5 Stellar Ways to Write Relatable Characters

5 Stellar Ways to Write Relatable Characters
On April 27, I had the privilege of speaking at Kiski Area High School (near Pittsburgh, PA) about writing and editing. I was really impressed with the young men and women there: they seemed engaged in the talk and asked some intriguing questions. I wanted to address a couple of their questions here because I thought it was a topic that many struggle with.

  • How do you get an audience to care about characters?
  • How do you write characters/descriptions so the reader feels their experiences?

Continue reading