Advanced Techniques (And Insights) for Jaw-Dropping Dialogue

Does your dialogue drop jaws in all the right ways?

…Does it light up the story like an imagination on fire?

…Does it build momentum?

…Does it raise curiosity, recapturing your reader with every exchange?

…Do your characters’ personalities show in every breath?

…Does it sound the slightest bit unnatural or forced?

I would contend that dialogue is one area where writers should focus. MASSIVELY. Work on it until it until it’s your strength. Play with it until it’s your joy.

When dialogue suffers, the whole story droops. Poor dialogue dilutes the characters, slows the pace, and often, it tattles on the plot.

Or abandons it in a dark alley a few streets over.

It’s no wonder many readers jump ship at the first sign of monochrome chitchat.

In contrast, brilliant dialogue captures the reader and doesn’t let go.

You know that and you want to make it your own. To have conversations that no other writer could have written and no other characters could have had.

So you look at your dialogue. You have the basicsbasics… and MORE basics down pat.

Is there something you’re missing?

Stick around and I’ll show you the ropes of this strange alchemy:

  • using every single line to feed the larger story,
  • learning to intrigue the reader with every exchange,
  • and surprising the reader in new ways.

With knowledge and practice, you’ll soon be consistently concocting your own dialogue-y brilliance, you dialoguist, you.

Put it to use: Before we get started, find an exchange you’d like to improve. We’ll be working on it throughout the article.

Let’s get brewing.
Keep reading to level up your dialogue…

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Yes, Unforgettable. Really.

Est. 8 min. read: We’re going to cover a lot of ground. You ready?

Unforgettable is a HIGH bar.

And yet the word is thrown around like every two-bit post can deliver the secret, this indefiiiinable quality that will change your character into a legend if only in your reader’s mind.

Frankly, “unforgettable” has become a clickbait buzzword.

But the real meaning of the word is NOT completely lost…


An unforgettable character is one that can be recalled long after a story is finished.

Like Sherlock Holmes. Or R2D2. Or Kvothe.

Those names are taken. Forever.

Because the characters are unforgettable.

Creating such a character is the ultimate writerly achievement, creating a legacy, something that will live long after you’ve gone.

It seems impossible.

Utterly beyond your reach.


Don’t let yourself aim low.

It might be tempting because you don’t think your character is in the same league as Sherlock or the others, but that’s a cop out.

You see…

Every character, even the ones you can think of off the top of your head, started as an idea.

And every writer started with underwhelming efforts.

Even better, there’s a rhyme and reason to what people find memorable.
Read on, grasshopper…

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The Perfection Intervention 24-Hour Book Challenge

It is 4:40pm and I’m stuck in bed with a strained ankle. I had a total of 5 hours of sleep last night, so maybe that has something to do with the crazy notion I’m having.

This article will be different from any article I’ve ever written. I’m live blogging my attempt to pull together a draft of my notes-in-progress zero draft for The Perfection Intervention.

Am I an idiot? Quite possible.

This has me scared out of my wits. Not that I was probably in my wits when I decided to do this a few minutes ago.

I have no prep. About three pages worth of notes and a pretty cover I put together while I was supposed to be making more notes. I don’t have any emails or announcements written for this post. IT’S ALL GONNA BE FROM SCRATCH.

And when I’m done, you’re going to be able to get the imperfect result. No editing. No proofreading. I‘m laying it out there.
Join me for the live blog…

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The 5 Absolute Dimensions of Character Personality

Is there anything about your character that you don’t know?

I don’t mean insignificant things like favorite food or what’s on his bedroom floor, which—I know—might be one and the same. There is an (occasionally helpful) trace of personality there, but no real substance.

Those things aren’t him.

Imagine your character walking down the street. A normal street, a normal day. Does he swagger or cavort or stroll or stride? (Tell me in the comments!)

It’s the difference between going through someone’s stuff and meeting them. One is simply more effective, especially when you know what you’re looking for.

Your character’s walk is a clue to his personality, his presence. But it’s just one small piece, no matter how real.

The fullness of personality still awaits.
Read on for the scoop…

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Rock Your First Chapter, No Excuses

I know you. You want to captivate your reader right off the bat.

…To wipe out any chance of putting your book down before the story has taken over and become a mind-movie.

That takes some SKILL.

Luckily, skill is knowledge with practice. And rewriting. (Yeah, it’s unavoidable.)

So today I’m going to show you how to approach your first pages with minimal stress, and how to avoid common problems that haunt those first few pages.

Oh, and we’ll dissect some first lines. Yummy. Read on, my writing geek…

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