…c/o Jane Graves, that really worked for me. She told me to use it if it resonated (my new favorite word) and it certainly did.

After reading the prologue of the current WIP, she commented that I didn’t have a solid through-line to the scene and that she wasn’t feeling the escalation of action and dialogue…what you’ve ended up with here is his internal dialogue telling the whole story rather than the external conflict between the characters driving the internal thoughts. And then she showed me exactly what she meant – which was probably, for me, the best trick I’d ever learned: She pulled out only the dialogue (no tags) and listed it on a separate page. When I read it, I saw exactly what she meant – I had one character answer the other character in his head, making the dialogue appear to make sense to me since I’d written it. When I reread the dialogue, I saw where I had to beef it up in order to make the conversation happen outside the character’s head. It was so simple and it didn’t take much to fix but it strengthened the entire scene. (Of course – the husband read the exact same scene a week before and said – I like it, but it just feels off somehow, like a little something’s missing. But don’t tell him he was right because the balance of power would tip around here, and I can’t have that.)

And I’ve found this works in any WIP. I highlighted the dialogue in a recent scene to make sure I’d balanced it, made sure the characters actually answered each other’s questions. It was a little bit of magic for me. Reminds me a little of what Emma’s talking about today.

Any tips/tricks that you use that just make lightbulbs go on?

Steph T.