HE WROTE: Dialogue

APRIL 8, 2007
Dialogue in a novel is not realistic. There are several reasons for that. One is that you don’t want to bore the reader and a lot of dialogue in real life is chatter with no purpose. Another is that you lack the non-verbals associated with real life dialogue and psychologists say that a very large percentage of communication is non-verbal. In your prose, there is no tone, no facial expressions, no hand gestures, nothing that in normal face-to-face communication can drastically affect the message being communicated. Because all you have are the words, you must choose them very carefully. Because you are lacking the communication tools you would have in real life, you make up for it with your word choice.

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HE WROTE BACK: Community

APRIL 19, 2007
I’ve usually written ‘Lone Wolf’ type of characters. Which wasn’t good. Because you should have conflict in every scene and it’s hard for a character to have conflict when all alone. In the past couple of years, I’ve focused more and more on developing a sense of community. And a community can even be just two people if they are under stress and pressure.

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SHE WROTE: Community

APRIL 15, 2007
Community is one of the most overlooked aspects of character in fiction. Although not all books are about community, your protagonist and antagonist are probably not living on remote islands by themselves. They’re surrounded by friend, family, co-workers, lovers, the people they interact with every day. Your characters are not only illuminated but also shaped by the people they live and work with.

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HE WROTE BACK: Character Arc

We’re moving into plot next week, so it’s appropriate that we end character on arc, because, as Jenny notes, plot arc and character arc are tied together.Your protagonists, as the people they are in the beginning of the book, if you thrust them immediately into the climactic scene, they would fail. The reason they succeed by the time they make it to the climactic scene is their arc.

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HE WROTE: Character Development

MARCH 4, 2007
You’ve probably heard it said that there are two ways to write a book. The first is to come up with a plot and then find characters to live the story. The second is to come up with characters and then write their story. I recommend doing both. Remember one thing though– it will be people who read your book, and people identify primarily with people, not plots or facts. Many times, your characters are your plot. By this, I mean that once your characters come alive, they direct where the story will go rather than you as they make their choices based on their motivations and goals.

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SHE WROTE BACK: Character Development

Developing characters, my favorite part.

I find my characters first by writing them. That’s what the don’t-look-down draft is for, finding out who your characters are by watching them on the page as they appear. Of course you have some idea of who they are before they start walking and talking, but I’ve found that it’s when I put them into conflict with other characters that they become real.
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