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Notes, tutorials, exercises, thoughts, workshops and resources about writing or storytelling art

How to Format Dialogue in a Story

Depending on the type of story you are writing, your dialogues will be subject to different standards. Getting acquainted with them will save you many headaches.

1. The Film and TV Script

TThis is one of the most rigid formats as it is a technical document used by film crews in order to develop the final product. The dialogue will be center-aligned. The speaking character’s name will be capitalized, the stage directions (if any) will appear just below the name, and the lines of dialogue will be at the bottom. Here’s an example:

How to Present Your Characters

Whether real or fantasy, human or animal, characters are part of every story. That’s why it’s very important for your words to breathe life into them. It’s up to you to make sure they are perceived as real by your readers, but how is this done?

Introducing Characters in a Story

You can always resort to a third-person narrator in order to describe your characters, but that’s not enough sometimes. If you want to create lively characters, there are six more effective ways to do so without using a narrator. Let’s analyze them one by one:

The Key Elements of the Creative Process

I have always thought that learning how your brain works is one of the best ways to overcome any resistance or fear of writing as this knowledge with enable you to make the most of your creativity.

This is why I want to tell you about the creative process (also known as the search for an idea or solution to a problem) which is an internal battle we all have to fight before we begin to write.

Every creative process goes through four stages: preparation, incubation, illumination, and verification.

How to Introduce Conflict in a Story

Let’s imagine a man called Peter leaving the gym and running to his car with his duffel bag over his head to protect himself from the rain. When he reaches the car and is about to open the door, he stops because he sees Laura, his best friend’s girlfriend, kissing another man on the opposite sidewalk. The girl is wearing a pair of sunglasses, but all the same, he recognizes her.

How to Introduce Conflict in a Story

Peter stands in the rain for a while as he watches the scene in disbelief. The couple enters a café, so he gets into his car but does not start it. He just sits there with his mobile phone in his hand. The screen displays the name and picture of his friend next to the call icon. More than once, Peter almost dials, but he finally decides not to.

Eventually, regardless of the rain, he returns the phone to his bag, gets out of the car, crosses the street, and enters the café. Laura is sitting at a table, chatting away with her companion. Peter approaches them and sits in front of the girl. Looking at him from behind the sunglasses she has not yet removed, she asks, “What are you doing here?” Peter ignores the question, sneers at her, and says, “Would you call this a little mistake too, or is it just me?”

How to Create Unforgettable Protagonists

The hero is the protagonist – the one who carries the weight of the story. A tale can have more than one main character (in some cases like Psycho, there can be a change of protagonist in the middle of the story). When there’s more than one protagonist, they can act in two different ways.

Main character

Plural – They share the same goals and suffer the same misfortunes or enjoy the same rewards in their struggle to achieve them. Such is the case of Robert Aldrich’s film The Dirty Dozen or Enid Blyton’s Famous Five..

Multiple – They have individual goals, rewards and misfortunes. Sometimes, what’s good for one can be bad for another. Such main characters appear in George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire.

Regardless of the number of protagonists a story has, they must be appealing to the readers. If they like them and identify themselves with them, they are more likely to be interested in your story. Let’s take a look at the characteristics of unforgettable protagonists:

The Importance of Secondary Characters

As you know, the characters are a fundamental part of any story. They are a must. But what type and how many characters do we need? One could say that we only need a protagonist (the character to whom the events of the story happen) and an antagonistic force or character to oppose the protagonist’s desires or goals. These two elements would be enough to tell a story.

How to Create Secondary Characters

This simplicity is well reflected in short stories which only include the main characters (the fewer, the better). But in the case of longer works such as the novel, adding secondary characters to the equation will give greater depth to the story and help you drive the plot to its conclusion. The construction of secondary characters, as with any other aspect of writing, opens up a world of possibilities, but there are a number of common supporting roles that are useful in any story:

23 Tips to Become a More Creative Writer

While surfing the net some time ago, I came across a list of tips titled “33 Ways to Stay Creative.” I found it very inspiring and decided to adapt the original to the world of writing. In addition, I added a brief explanation to each of the points on the list. As a result, I have the following 23 tips to becoming a more creative writer. I hope you enjoy them.

Ways to stay creative

1. Make Lists

Sometimes we feel overwhelmed in thinking there are hundreds of things that must be done. However, if we write them down in a list (differentiating between tasks and micro-tasks), we realize it’s not such a big deal. In fact, they can be finished one at a time and crossed off our to-do list. This leaves the brain better organized, we feel more relaxed, and we can make space for creativity.

Key Elements of a Story: The Flashpoint or Inciting Event

The flashpoint or inciting event of a story is its first turning point and has the function of bringing chaos where there was order.

Key elements of a story: the flashpoint

It is the point of no return and the trigger that gives rise to conflict and action. All in all, it is the event that provides the writer with a story to tell. Here are some flashpoint examples:

Coming Up with a Good Book Title

For many of you, it’s possible that one of the most difficult parts of the writing process is coming up with a title for your story. This is also a challenge for me.

How To Title Your Book

Consequently, I often research the subject of titles and pay attention to the titles I like best in an attempt to figure out why they are so catchy. I know I’m still far from mastering the subject, but I have already identified a number of keys to writing a good title, and you may also find them useful!

Coming Up with a Title

The Uruguayan writer and poet Mario Benedetti said, “The title is an important part of the story; it lights it up.” A good title must light up the text it precedes without revealing its mysteries; it has to be suggestive, intriguing, and attractive. As if this isn’t enough, it must also match the style of the story. But how are we supposed to do all this?