CORRECTION: The wonderful Jami Gold has made a correction to this post. Although a number of “Beat Sheets” below are attributed to different authors, they were actually created by Jami herself. She’s drawn from the teachings of Larry Brooks, Michael Hauge, etc. to assemble them, hence their names. The Blake Snyder Beat Sheet was created by Elizabeth Davis. Confused yet? Don’t worry. All will become clear as you read further. Two other suggestions from Jami: first, she recommends this link for her Scrivener Beat Sheet: jamigold.com/2013/12/can-we-use-beat-sheets-with-scrivener . And second, she provides a “clearinghouse” link for all Beat Sheets
I’ve taken some characterization classes and used the checklists from these to better develop my characters. I love the checklists. The classes have been great. They helped me better define and deepen my characters. So I wasn’t sure what I would get out of a webinar on characterization that was something different. Turns out it was a lot in terms of thinking slightly differently.
A few highlights from the talk by author Jade Lee to think about:
Using the Elements – air, water, fire, metal and earth. Think about which
The first books to make me aware of how effective dialogue could be were Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct novels. In some parts of the stories, the dialogue goes on for pages and you can forget who is talking if you aren’t paying full attention to the story. But despite this, or perhaps because of it, the characters become real and the story seems to flow seamlessly. I know that, as a reader, I prefer character-driven stories and I find that dialogue is one of the most effective ways to reveal character.
In my last post, I spoke about showing versus telling.
You can do that through dialogue, as well. Good dialogue serves to show, versus tell.
On the other hand, if too many of your characters’ emotions are being described through narrative, or through tags appended at the end of the dialogue, then you probably need to rewrite your dialogue.
Words such as she grimaced, she laughed, he bellowed, he growled—in place of he/she said—are the mark of an amateur. Just as unnecessary and clumsy in dialogue tags are the –ly adverbs: angrily, grimly, harshly, etc. Again, your… Continue reading
What is your favorite curse word? For anyone who has watched Inside the Actor’s Studio, you know this is one of the 10 questions James Lipton asks each actor. The host was inspired by Bernard Pivot, who hosted the French broadcast Apostrophes, and used the Proust Questionnaire as an opportunity for a writer to reveal his/her personality at that same time as aspects of his/her work.
Swearing and cursing exist in all human languages. As writers, it’s a tool that can be used to convey a personality trait Continue reading