Do you want to write interesting dialog?

Even when your characters are a bit long-winded?

Well, thanks to Lisa Hall Wilson, I’ve got a few good tips that might help.

Adding beats to your dialog keeps the pace moving. Below are some of her suggestions to get the beats right and keep your reader engaged.

Make every beat count in a story.

  • Show what the character is doing as they speak.
    • Rocking
    • Walking
    • Picking at a thread, twirling hair…
  • Use tone.
    • Soft, loud, hateful…
  • Show how the character is feeling about what is being said.
    • Sad, thoughtful, tense…
  • Show the actions of other characters and ambient noises
    • A minor character walking away, clinching fists…
    • Strangers in the area
    • dishes clinking
    • People singing, arguing…
  • Internal dialogue
    • But, word of caution- don’t overuse or the action will slow down.
  • Avoid too much stage direction with dialogue
    • You don’t want the reader simply observing the scene taking place, like someone in a movie theatre.

Above all –

write beats that move the story forward and engage the reader.

Read more of Lisa’s suggestions for writing great dialogue at this link.

How To Use Beats To Keep Long Dialogue Passages Interesting Even If There’s No Action by 

Writers, what do you think?

Do you write a lot of beats in dialogue?

Get any good ideas for your current work in progress?

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How to make your characters likable?

Or…

Is it necessary that every character be likable?

Faceless woman

Need all characters be —

pleasant, nice friendly, agreeable, affable, amiable, genial, personable, charming, popular, good-natured, engaging, appealing endearing convivial, congenial, simpatico, winning, delightful, enchanting, lovable, adorable, sweet, or lovely?

Recently, I just finished a book but didn’t like a single character. However, I did want the main character to succeed. This strange and bizarre book kept me captivated.

So, back to my first question, is it necessary for any or all characters to be liked by the reader?

Faces in a puzzle

This is an issue I’m struggling with right now. In my current WIP, I’m not sure my main character is likable. I want people to like her, emphasize with her and pull for her, but I don’t want her to come off whinny. I hate whining. Even in real life.

How do we accomplish giving characters qualities that a reader can relate to, but still see their faults?

And does every character need to have likable attributes? What about the bad guys? Do they need a few redeeming characteristics? 

See I have lots of questions and only a few answers. So jump right in and help a writer out in the comments.

Okay, here’s what I’ve figured out so far.

  • Likability means a reader “likes” watching a character. Hmm…
  • Interesting and entertaining can attract a reader too.
  • If I understand what makes a character tick, it’s easier for a reader to relate.
  • No one is perfect, even the good guys. Show their flaws.
  • Avoid a “too good” character. No one likes a goody-two-shoes.
  • A kind-hearted act can make a character seem loveable.
  • A tragic backstory will make a reader root for the character.
  • Let the reader see a character’s vulnerability.
  • A sense of humor can go a long ways toward likable.
  • Avoid making a character “too bad.” Readers want to believe everyone has some redeeming qualities.
  • The name must fit the character.

And one last question…

Do you write the likable characteristics of a character in the first draft, Or do you add those traits in the second draft?

Want to read great articles on fleshing out a character? Then click and read.

Make your characters L.I.E.

10 Methods to Make Your Character Likable 

What Makes a Character Likable?

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