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 Name Your Characters

How to Name Your Characters

Many of us fall in love with a name and present it to a main character. We get to write it thousands of times. We get to develop a character that fills the name and gives it the depth we want.

If you’re like me, you love naming, and finding the perfect name can really make your day, if not your week. This is why I always devote a chunk of time in my writing session to naming characters, cities, and other things that need names.

Note: don’t do it in the middle of writing! Don’t stop yourself when you suddenly have something or someone without a name and go research for three hours to find the perfect one. Just write “name” or something that will help you know what goes there, and then highlight it so you can return and research later. Don’t interrupt your writing session if you’re in the middle of writing a scene. The perfect name will wait.

So how do I discover the perfect name for a character if I don’t have one planned already? I look at several things first. 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