You need a good straight man (or woman) to bring your comedic, heroic, or otherwise unconventional characters into sharper focus.

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In your attempt to create characters your readers crave, these five steps can help you get to know and understand your players well enough to write living, breathing three-dimensional characters on the page.

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When writing phone conversations, does your one-sided dialogue give insight into the character of one or both participants or the relationship between them? Is the conversation moving the plot forward?

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I’ve never met a writer who hasn’t wanted her reader to get completely lost in the words on the page. While there are many things that separate fact from fiction, there’s one thing that all writers ignore at their peril: a good, hard, honest self-edit. Let’s talk dialogue. Fiction writers learn quickly that there’s nothing as terrible as stiff, unrealistic dialogue to pull a reader out of the story. The first place to start is by cutting out as many dialogue tags as you can.

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