Category Archives: Characters Speak

Oh Oh! Did Summer Adventuring Water-log Your Writing Schedule?

IMG_0301Did you let your writing and your characters snooze for the last month or so like I did, instead of taking them along for the summer fun? Guess what? It’s time to re-motivate, re-dedicate and re-activate your Write Brain.  You might have to re-read what you have written to date, to reacquaint yourself with your story’s progress.  Don’t beat yourself for letting time slide by,  A little distance from your story can be a good thing.  Make some notes as you read through. Hopefully, you will have a new perspective on problem areas. Give yourself a day to digest any big changes you are thinking of making, then, it’s time to dive back in and write on!

Derisively Motivating Quotes (insert writing where needed:)

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing–that’s why we recommend it daily.” -Zig Ziglar

“I am so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word of what I am saying.” -Oscar Wilde

“The main thing is keeping the main thing the main thing.” -German Proverb

(Have a favorite motivating quote? Love to see it!)


She said what?

The final touch for your character; the icing on your character cake; and what makes them totally believable is what they say and HOW they say it. Each character needs to sound unique so that even without a tag, the reader knows who it is speaking. For instance, if I was to say, “Off with her head!” – you know exactly who it is speaking without me having to mention who it is. Unless of course, you are unfamiliar with the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland. The important thing here is that the way a character speaks, like how they act, has to stay true to their character. In this sense, the tag can almost become obsolete.

And speaking of tags, keep them simple. “Said” becomes invisible – if you must “told” and “asked” are also tags that blend in and disappear. If you feel the need to add more oomph to the tag, then perhaps think of using a action before or after the character speaks.

For example: The White Rabbit frowned, shaking a paw at the busload of children’s writers. “There’s not need to add a flowery tag when you have an action sentence before or after the dialogue!”

Get the point?


So lets try this out. Remember that journal you went out and bought? Well, add this exercise:

Writers: write a conversation between your character and a new character you meet  – (note: this needs to be based on someone you may have bumped into or noticed in the supermarket; school; library etc). Remember that the dialogue has to be without any tag lines. You should also include how your character feels about the person, how they act and how they think.

Illustrators: ok so we can’t exactly draw dialogue but how about capturing the actions and expressions as your character meets this new character for the first time. Imagine the dialogue they are having and draw this interaction without words.

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Posted by on June 17, 2010 in Characters Speak