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The Clear Enigma of An Oxymoron

Before enigma is defined for those who don’t know, one can be found in the title. If an enigma is clear or obvious then it’s not an enigma or a secret. And there is the crux. Definition An oxymoron is a figure of speech such other poetic devices such as a metaphor or simile is […]


How Readers Get To Know Characters

Everything in a novel means more once a reader gets to know and love the main characters. It’s like life. You care more about your family, friends and neighbors than you do about someone who lives on the next block or a stranger you’ve never met. What’s helps novelists is to understand the various ways […]

Advice For Novelists From Hollywood – Part 2

Advice For Novelists Part 1 contained suggestions on a new approach to evaluating how a novel is written. Rather than following the typical rules taught in most workshop, Ted Baehr, media critic and Chairman of the Christian Film and Television Commission and publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Movieguide, a website and biweekly journal that evaluates motion […]


Gender Differences In Fiction

No matter what kind of novels—romance, suspense, thriller, adventure or family saga, it usually involves a story which reflects the action and dialogue of both genders. Even when a story is told in first person from one point of view, the reader sees the action/reaction of the other character and can hear their dialogue. If […]

She Said; He Didn’t.

“Hi. How are you?” “Fine. Thanks, and you?” “I’m doing well.” “Glad to hear it.” Would you like to read a novel that offers this kind of dialogue? I doubt it. Dialogue is not conversation. Conversation can be boring. In fiction genre, dialogue serves two basic purposes—to move the storyline forward by providing backstory or new […]

Dialogue and The Telephone

Two questions came to the comments on my recent blog covering the topic of dialogue. I thought the questions were meaningful for other writers and will repeat them so others can benefit. The questions involved dialogue during telephone conversations. A reader asked these questions: I’ve been told when writing telephone conversations not to include the […]

Enhancing Dialogue

Dialogue becomes real when the character’s speak as real people do. We don’t talk in full sentence, and we don’t stand like sticks as we have conversations. Real people emote. Their voice tone and volume change. Their body and facial expression show the emotion and internal reaction to what’s being said. So action and body […]

Intimate Storytelling – Part IV Sentence and Thought Tags

A simple method of improving your writing is learning how to use dialogue tags and presenting character’s thoughts. Though this may seem trivial, these techniques are important in helping you become an author who knows how to write. One way to approach this is to ask yourself how would a real person say this or […]


How characters respond to each other goes far beyond what’s said. Words are easily spoken, but the truth is not necessarily there. People often say what they think others want to hear. This happens in real life and works well in fiction. People observe what’s being said by watching the person’s facial expression and body […]

Tension and Conflict Part 5 – Methods to Create Tension

Earlier I described the difference between conflict and tension. Conflict is the action of two opposing forces. It is the butting of heads between ideas, needs, desires and wants, or it can be a single individual wanting two opposing things. What makes conflict important is the tension it creates. Tension is the emotional response to […]