Releasing your inner dragon

Writing dialogue: How to engage the reader when characters are talking

February 29, 2024 Marie Mullany & Maxwell Alexander Drake Season 4 Episode 7
Writing dialogue: How to engage the reader when characters are talking
Releasing your inner dragon
More Info
Releasing your inner dragon
Writing dialogue: How to engage the reader when characters are talking
Feb 29, 2024 Season 4 Episode 7
Marie Mullany & Maxwell Alexander Drake

Send us a Text Message.

Join Drake and Marie in another dialogue on dialogue! This time they discuss how to write good dialogue, how to keep the reader engaged and the purpose dialogue serves in your story.

Writer's room (50% off for lifetime membership):

Membership for Just In Time Worlds:

Give us feedback at releasingyourinnerdragon(at)gmail(dot)com


Drake's Contact Details:
Starving Writer Studio:
Drake-U:  - Use RYID25 for 25% off!
Writer's Room:

Marie's contact details:
Just In Time Worlds:

Show Notes Transcript

Send us a Text Message.

Join Drake and Marie in another dialogue on dialogue! This time they discuss how to write good dialogue, how to keep the reader engaged and the purpose dialogue serves in your story.

Writer's room (50% off for lifetime membership):

Membership for Just In Time Worlds:

Give us feedback at releasingyourinnerdragon(at)gmail(dot)com


Drake's Contact Details:
Starving Writer Studio:
Drake-U:  - Use RYID25 for 25% off!
Writer's Room:

Marie's contact details:
Just In Time Worlds:

look at how I roll this out,

I start off with something fairly innocuous, you know, rig yourself like a rogue wave is chasing us.

Everyone should.

Kind of get the gist of what she's saying with that.


When he's like, I'm not going anywhere with.

You. But just to make sure I do have her.

Say it in English and I'm doing air quotes for those that can't see where she says.

Now get how do you how do you dirt sailors say it get dressed? So just to make sure that the.

Readers understand that rig yourself by saying rig yourself. So she was saying get dressed, but then she goes right back into her.


Own speaking.

All right. So in continuing our discussion on dialog in the last session, we talked about.


Things and whatever, and I do want to kind.


Revisit one of those things. But before we get into their.

Let's, let's really this, this episode.

Let's kind of sit down and really kind of break apart some examples that we think are good. And it's a little.

Bit kind.

Of narcissist because we're going to read our own writing and say how good it.


So I guess I want to start off by saying we're not saying that we're the best writers in the entire world. We're saying we know why we wrote what we wrote. And so we're going to use them as an example to show you why we did it. You can agree, you can disagree. Let us know in the comments below.

You know, we're fine. It's subjective. We get it. So we're not saying you have to write this way. We're just going to show.

You how we.

Think and how we write, and hopefully that'll help you out. But let's start with with subtext, because I think you have a really good scene in The Hidden Blade. I'm pretty sure it's in The Hidden Blade it’s in the new.

It's in the Lion Vessel. The third book.

The third book.

Yeah. So let me let me just say what I was trying to establish in the scene. So it's a it's a scene that takes place between Nigeria to heal and, ah, a now Nigeria is the chief priestess of the religion and her husbands are to heal and our Saya who are respectively a priest of the right hand God, the God of creation, and the priest of the left hand God the God of destruction and when they're having this conversation, they're talking about religious matters.

And I wanted to remind the reader what what the attributes of the gods are and how the two men interact around those attributes. So I needed to do that and have them have this discussion about the conversation that they just had with somebody who isn't a part of their religion, but that has just been questioning them about the tenets of that religion.

So that all happened before the scene that we start on. So now I'm going to share my screen.

Let me let me while you're doing that, do you understand? And because when you were saying that, I realized that we do need to have one more caveat.

Yes, we're going to be.

Pulling things from existing work.


Deep into them. Like this is from the third book.

So don't worry.

If you're not following the motivation behind the characters or who the characters are or anything like that, we're literally this this we're going to be talking about dialog. And so we're going to use these examples to show you examples of that. So focus in on that. If you get a little confused on like, Wait a minute, who is Da Saya and how does she have two husbands and what is all this?

Yeah, you got to read it. She has her.

Books available so you can go get those and you can read all of them and catch all the way up and learn all this really cool stuff. So don't. I just want you to lock in on that. I don't want you to get lost in the. crap. I'm thinking about all these other things and not thinking about the dialog examples that we're talking about here.

So don't worry about the story. Just worry about what we're going to kind of show you through the dialog.

Right? So we're going to start with the line here, which is when Darrisaw says, What was that about? All star sire? There's Austin Templeton. And that is also just a cue to the reader that they're switching to a different language, one which cannot be understood if they are overheard.

Actually, let's let's.

Take a second for that. Yes.

Because there is so there's there's there's only a couple of ways because your reader reads English. Yeah. So so like, yes, you can do what.

Tolkien did and you can spend.

Eight years inventing.

A mythical language that actually works because you're a linguistics professor and have spent 50 years studying language. But the reality is, is that almost no one's going to read that. So when I'm reading Lord of the Rings and I hit a paragraph in Elvish and, you know, it's got all the Elvish words in it, I don't read it because it's gibberish to me.

I just skip that paragraph because the next paragraph is the exact same paragraph.

But now in English.

So that's one.

Way to do it. I'm not faulting Tolkien for doing it. Maybe I'm jealous that I can't do it.

But I'm still not going to do it.

Because to me it just seems a waste to write stuff that no one can read. And again, yes, there are a few people out there that know how to speak English, so do not hit their comments. It's like.

I can speak Elvish.

Like, okay, great, good for you. There's three people in the world you could talk.

To now I'm thinking.

So that is one way. Another way is what she's done here.

Where you still just.

Write everything in English. It's just the way it's written.

But you have a cue to make sure.

You allow the reader to to say, Hey.

They're doing this, and there's literally.

Nothing wrong with that. This is actually probably the most common way to do it. And correct me if I'm wrong, I'm going to do a third way, but if you have more ways.

These are the only.

Three ways that I can think about on my head. So in Genesis, one of the things that I did was there is a race that has their own language and I'm not going to make up that language. So I needed a plot device because there is no main character that is of that race. So I made up the spotting device because there is a main character within that society.

He, you know, he, he goes there and he's basically living amongst them as a student. And I gave him a magical device that translates their language in his head.

Now, I don't use.

Speech tags, so I could never say something like there as I asked in Temple Tongue, because that's a speech tag. So what I chose to do is and it caused my publisher great grief, especially for the digital books, is all of their language that is converted into English basically is written in a script format.


So and I never explain it, except for the fact that because the character doesn't know that this magical item does this. And so every time it does it, it turns ice cold. It's a necklace and it turns ice cold on his chest. So the first time it happens.

He's like, What the crap.

And because he doesn't realize they're not speaking English. So there is a there's an oddity to the character, and then the character figures that out. And so that's how I teach the reader. When you see this script, because obviously the character can't see the script, that's my cue that that the characters should not understand the words that are coming out of this character.

You know, there's other characters mouth. And so that was the third way, and that's the way I did it through the Genesis saga, where it's just a script and then.

I can I can think of one other way. So you changed the font.


You could change the punctuation. You could teach the reader that when you use a square bracket, it's in a different language. Or when you use stars, it's in a different language or something like that. So you could you could use punctuation to achieve that as well, I suppose.


And we even did that in Magic for Magic, where we have a character who talks inside of another character's head. So we put the little asterisks around it to let you know that.

That's not being said out loud.

It's only being said in this character's head from this other character and that is a stain. You're right that that's kind of a becoming a standard way to format as well.

Basically, it just.

Comes down to you don't have to invent a language.

And write paragraphs.

Of this gibberish to make the reader feel like they're seeing another language. There are other ways to go about that, either just, you know, not doing anything special with the text or punctuation and just telling the reader, Hey, here's a clue. I'm just going to let you know this is not in their language using punctuation to teach the reader, but then you have to teach the reader.

And we did that in Magic Falls. The first time Ghost speaks lairon is like.

Wait, what?

Who's talking to me? What the crap is going on? And so we get that and then, you know, same thing. Like I just said when I changed the font, that was another way. But in all aspects other than the first, although in the first, it's kind of you have to teach them a language, but in all aspects what you're doing is you're teaching the reader this special thing about your book.

And then once you do that, they'll go with it. They will just be fine with it. So anyway, I was.


It wasn't on the docket to talk about, but since you had it right there, I was like, You know what? That is actually something I don't think I've ever heard anybody talk about is.


Would you go about having people.


Teaching the reader that these things aren't being said the way you think they are? So that when like because in your scene sometimes when they're speaking in Temple Tongue.

The other characters are clueless. Yeah, no.

Idea what's going on.

And they act it, you know, they're uncomfortable. I mean, it's just.

Like, you know, we've all been or most of us have been around that time where you're with three people and everybody's friends and talking along and then three start talking in a language that you don't see and you're like, Well, I'm the odd man out. So anyway, just that was an I thought that was an interesting rabbit.

Many Europeans have been in that situation. I don't know how often it happens to Americans.

It happens with us only really with Spanish. And I do kind of speak Spanish.

So yeah.

But it can happen to you in America and in Europe quite often.

It is a thing that.

Happens when you're.

An American in Europe.

Then it always happens.

Anyway. So what was that about that I saw Austin Templeton, The Hill dug up a handful of sand making a hole beside the blanket. She wants to convert. That one dancer took some of the hills miniature mined dump and dribbled it to form a tower. She believes in her own power. The waves pounded onto the beach and sucked back into the surf, leaving a salty tang in the air Naira leaned on her elbows.

It won't be the first time a leader has followed the faith without belief. Those questions were certainly leading somewhere. We have a long ride to the rebel camp of theirs. Tahil extended his pit to become a moat around Darisia's tower, I'll bet a chime to a pea she speaks to us again. We must find out more from Mikel.

Naira said if his information is correct. This woman holds the key to a place where the followers of the gods already live in great numbers. We need her more even than we need Alund, Darisia asked. Alund Is a prince about to enter rebellion? That he'll smash the tower Ebony first drilling the soft sand down layer by layer to form a crater.

His status depends on his dukes, and we have one of them right here asking complicated questions. She is a far more powerful ally. Darisia smoothed out the hole to heal it made and started heaping sand again. I hope we're doing the right thing. We came here seeking the voice of the goddess. Nero placed her hands over his drawing him away from his destroyed construction.

I know my loves. Before this, I worried that we had left the path. But we cannot forsake these people. They believe that their souls could be destroyed. How can we leave them in bondage to such an idea? The hill called his arm over her shoulder. We are called, we will answer. Leaning into his embrace, Naira drew Darisia to lie beside them

The sun stroked, warm lines across his skin and the waves. susurrated on the sand light scintillating through his sowah charms, the refractions, a reminder that her life belonged to divinity. Quietly, she made her peace with the prophecy. Then we are committed to the hidden three. Darisia grimaced As long as no one tells me I can't be married to the two of you.

The Hills grin flashed white over their dead bodies. So what I was trying to show here with, especially with the construction from the sand perspective, right, is Tahil doing the protection, which is what he does, but he protects by digging the mud. But then he's also an element of the God of destruction. So he literally destroys the tower.

Right. But Darisia doesn't berate him for it. He doesn't feel as though this injured him because this is the nature of the gods they serve. He then starts building it again, which is their cycle, and Naira breaks the cycle by drawing Darisia away from his destroyed creation. Because she is the balance between the two powers. That is, the role of the Goddess is to balance the two powers of creation and destruction.

And and then the conversation around this is all is basically still on the religion, but the actions form the basis for reminding the reader how the religion works.

Yeah. So there's.

There's two.

Layers of things that are going on here. 100% of the narration.

Is they're.

Building their power and, you know, utilizing all of that. And 100% of the dialog is, Hey, we just had this conversation, someone that could be she's actually trying to convert.

Or it could be that.

She just knows that this is a way to give her an edge. At least that's what I took from from this.

So you have two very.

Distinct things going on here, but it's still layers together all at the same time. It also does a third thing.

It shows.

The connection. And between the three, you know that there isn't a jealousy between their threesome relationship, that there's a you know, they all understand each other's role in this relationship. So that's also in there as well.

Yeah. And to me, like that is the thing the dialog needs to achieve. It needs to cement the characters and move the plot forward. Right. And which this does. But then why specifically chose to highlight this in this podcast is because, like both of us believe in cutting out speech tags when we can obviously I do use them as you can see here, but much of the identification of who's talking is done through the actions.

But if you can tie those actions back into the dialog in some way or in some relevant way to the world building or something like that, then you can achieve another layer of something through the actions.


to go the other.


I would like to



So in my current work of progress, I've got a race, so I'm taking a big risk With my current work in progress. I'm heavily writing.


This is something that is a no no. It's something that I've wanted to do my whole career, but no publisher would allow me to do it. And now that I have left the industry, I can do whatever the crap I want to do. It's my.

Game. I'll play it How I want But I've spent three years testing these accents.

And testing over and over and over again and going way too heavy and annoying everybody and way too light where it really didn't add anything and and trying to figure out the rules and.

How to.

Actually do it without pissing readers off and so on and so forth.

However, there's there's five plus two.

Characters that kind of speak uniquely. The seven different rule sets that I had to come up with for language. So I guess I am kind of doing a token did and in a way, but when I was working on the fifth one, I was.

I was stumped like.

Like one of them uses yes and no in other uses no nix and I another uses aye and ja. And like one use one race uses no body but the other uses no one. Anybody, anyone And all that one uses maybe one uses may have one uses will, one uses shall like. There's all these different things that I can do.

But when I got to the fifth one.

I was just like.

I don't I'm out. Like, I don't have anything else. Like, what do I do? And I got.

This idea that since it was an island race, they were going to speak gibberish. They were never going to say anything that they were talking about and that they were that everything they said was going be an.

Allegory, Everything. And I also didn't want.



Pattern to it, although you will see a pattern here that I just haven't had time to go in and try to figure something else out. And what I mean by that is they don't say yes the same way every time. They don't say, you know, whatever I.


It's this free flowing language that just doesn't mean anything. And like I said, there.


There's three times in this piece where she says, true as the tides, because I was just lazy and I was just like, I'll figure it out later because I do want to come up with two different ways to say true as the tides, where you just know that she's saying that's true, but I just left it in there because.

You know, this is this is literally as.

Sure as the moonrise.

But that's not nautical.

Absolutely. It's the moon drives.

The moon.

Drives the tides to that.

Believe me, mariners know all about the moon. They know when it rises, They know when it sets. They know all of it because the tides are so relevant to their lives.

Yes, that is 100%. But like I said, that's the only thing in here that I'm not 100% happy with. This is literally a chapter I'm currently actually writing. So you guys are going to see as close to my raw writing as I ever let anybody see. This isn't fully edited. I'm not even if we scroll down the chapters not even finished.

So this is literally the thing that I'm writing this week as we're speaking. But this is also my introduction to this.

So, you know, we talk a lot about.

Training the readers. You have to.

Train the readers what what you're.

Doing and what you're trying to accomplish and so on and so forth. So let me share my screen and we'll kind of get into this. So the only.

The couple of pieces.

Set up that you need from this that you already got before you got here, these are two students in a magical.


It isn't like Harry Potter or anything like that. It's different. But the girl that we're going to meet, which is the Islander, everyone finds her amazingly annoying. The teachers want to get rid of her.

She's it's like a ten year process.

To learn this stuff. So she's been here forever.

And the other.

Character, the main character, the POV character, he excelled in magic and he's actually been invited to go to this other place to to train under these special mages. And so he's excited about that, and that's kind of what he's thinking about here. So I'll just start there and I'm going to read and then we'll go back and we kind of look at some things because you'll see how I train the readers.

I'm trained. This is the first time they've really had access to this, this island speaking, this island culture. And so you'll see how I train the reader to understand what they're going to be dealing with as they go through here. So I'll just start off here. And by the way, we are sharing all this stuff on YouTube. So if you're listening to some podcast and you want to go back later and hit up YouTube, I highly recommend that you do that.

So you can actually see what we're reading. At the same time. So the Elmoriens is where he's going or, you know, the people that he's going to go study under. The Elmoriens themselves were an enigma. He'd read descriptions of them, but he'd never been able to find an illustration of one. It didn't matter. In less than two moons he'd be able to see them with his own eyes.

His heart.

Sank two moons.

Nearly 610 days in the middle of endless water. He couldn't imagine what it'd be like traveling so long without ever setting eyes upon land.


Jintra had picked on him relentlessly over the fact that he'd be seasick the entire voyage, though he had no idea exactly what that entailed. Puking, she said, lots and lots of puking. She would know she was Silawayian after all, and like so many from the island nation, her family were sea traders. By her own account, she'd been birthed in the middle of the great ocean.

Still, if a girl can deal with life at sea.

It can't be that hard. As if summoned by.

His thoughts, his door burst open and the brown skinned woman rushed into his.


Rig yourself like a rogue wave is chasing ya. He gave her a deadpan stare. I'm sure there ain't no reason to knock before entering a young man's bedchamber after curfew when girls ain't even allowed in the boys quarters. Malant resisted the urge to pull his spare blanket over himself. While it was embarrassing to have a woman see him in his bed gown, this wasn't the first time she barged in on him like this.

She's worse than my sister.

Jintra scrunched up her face as if she'd bitten into a lemon. Believe me, there is no treasure in your galley. I desire to behold. Her eyes went wide.

Now get How do you dirt sailor said get dressed.

The tide is ebbin and we must catch the wind or miss it, shaking his head pulled his travel back into his lap and opened it. No idea what you think we’ll miss, but I ain't going nowhere with you this late. In total disregard of his words, he began sifting through a sack, searching for an initiate robe. Whatever crazy, whatever craziness she has in mind, she's going to make.

Me do it whether I want her or not. They've been.

Friends. Was too strong a word to describe his relationship with Jintra It was more that he was the only student at the academia with manners enough to be kind to the island woman. Though the sea Trader's daughter's brashness pushed even his good upbringing to the limits. Jintra cost to arms.

So hoisting sails for a glimpse of the lionman and to your fancy then, huh. Malant jerked as if she'd slapped him a Kithian

How could we?

His mouth shut with a click. He never understood how the silawayian woman pulled things off.

But jintra had a knack for.

Breaking the rules. He now understood the reason behind the saying on a Silawayian tongue. Truth and tide shifted. Just same.


This would be impossible.

And saying even loudly.

The school grounds. He squinted one iota.

And don't go trying.

To tell me senior initiates can leave because I know better true as the tides. But what I have rigged under my robe will see us sail past the gate.


Reaching down. She grabbed the bottom of her garment and started to pull it up. Heat shot through Malant as her ankles became exposed.

What in another plane are you doing?

He spun around to face the back wall so fast his bag of belongings ended up on the floor. A giggle was his only answer. Worse, the woman's robe landed on the bed beside him, slamming his eyes shut. He swallowed hard.

Are you crazy?

Swing your keel, silly. Ture as the tides.

I'm decent.

You ain't ever decent. Even when fully clothed. He pulled in this, pulled another giggle out of the Islander butterflies, filled his stomach. Jintra always seemed to do the wrong thing, or perhaps the right thing if the right thing was annoying everyone around her. But it was normally just in what came out of her mouth.

At least as much as can be understood. Anyway.

To say Silawayians were a strange people would be an understatement. But Jintra was something more. Not that he had much experience dealing with the island people. In fact, Jintra was the only Silawayian he'd ever met. Still, he didn't think she was right in the head.

But lewdness that's going too far.

A hand gripped his shoulder and tugged, attempting to pull him around. He sat defiant, but after a moment allowed himself to be rotated. He did, however, keep his eyes shut tight.

For the love of the.

Sea Mother.

Cast your gaze.

With reluctancy he cracked one eye open. What he saw made both his eyes pop wide. Jintra stood before him, dressed in a dark blue robe, silver starburst, lined the cuffs and him and embroidered her right breast sat the three sunned emblem of the Order of Shapers.

What? How.

The black haired girl burst out laughing, learned it as the first Nightwatch took the helm this eve. she spun, running her hands over the silk and over the silken fabric. They covered her from shoulders to sandaled feet.

I'm a Sulok full and true man.

I couldn't believe it. Then I thought struck.

Right. What about your graduation ceremony?

The overseers claim no time to catch that wind time. Just when he didn't think the conversation could get stranger, Jintra found a way to do to make it do just that.

What's that got to.

Do with anything? Instead of answering him, she walked out of his bedchamber. He blinked a few times over, courteous.

That woman.

Before his impatience got the better of him. However, she returned, carrying a large bundle.

It seems the order has chartered a prestigious.

Mercenary troop for a very important mission. Their crew is short one healer and the overseers feel I'm the perfect frapping to plug that leak. A wide grin split her face.

They cast off with the dance for first light moment.

I had no idea what a flapping was, but the entire explanation felt suspect to him.

I'm that seems. He trailed off even though.

He was a country bumpkin and still didn't feel at home. Here in the big city of Motley, Gentry's inability to ferret out people's motivations made him look like a social savant. Not that she was slow. The opposite. In fact, at least with books and lessons, she simply had troubles. Interacting with people was all. It could simply be the difference in her people's dialect and how they relate almost everything to some nautical term or another.

Something that took Malant more than a moment to get used to. But he didn't think so. She seemed more awkward, and I think that's probably good enough as far as that. So that's the fifth accent of this world. Basically. It's not an accent at all. It's just random gibberish, kind of. But no one, none of my beta readers in my critique groups or anything like that have ever.

Lost the.

Gist of the conversation. They don't have to think about it. They have to go, you know, whatever. But if if you

look at how I roll this out,

I start off with something fairly innocuous, you know, rig yourself like a rogue wave is chasing us.

Everyone should.

Kind of get the gist of what she's saying with that.


When he's like, I'm not going anywhere with.

You. But just to make sure I do have her.

Say it in English and I'm doing air quotes for those that can't see where she says.

Now get how do you how do you dirt sailors say it get dressed? So just to make sure that the.

Readers understand that rig yourself by saying rig yourself. So she was saying get dressed, but then she goes right back into her.


Own speaking.

But I let her get stronger and stronger and stronger in her allegories as the conversation goes, until we get down to the part where, like when she says, where is it, where she says learned it as the first Nightwatch took the helm this eve.

They're not on a ship, but they like they even.

Refer to people's own bodies as wholes or ships or whatever. Your life as a ship. Like everything relates to.


Aspect of it. So this is the first line that.


Potentially there that could throw people off because there is no first nightwatch, there is no taking the helm. Basically she's saying she literally just learned it, you know, because this is already again, there's been other chapters. So you already know that that this is nighttime from a day. You know, during the day she was an initiate and now she's a mage.

And so that's what they're discussing. That's the significance of the robe. And again, you got that beforehand. But then just to take it a bit further, I have the line where she says the overseers feel I'm the perfect frapping to plug that leak. Now I use that on.

Purpose almost no one is going to know what a frapping is. I could have used the So.

For those that don't know in a sailing ship back in the.

Day, you to if you got a.

Small leak, you.

caulked it. So I could have used that. I could have.

Said you know the overseers feel I'm the perfect caulk to fill that leak or cog or plug or whatever. And everybody would have gotten that.

If the leak is a little bigger.

Then they use something called.

frapping, which is still caulk.

But it's got like hemp rope mixed into it and bits of cloth or anything to kind of help, you know, make it more gummy and fill a bigger leak or whatever. But since I know my audience is probably not going to know what frapping is, when Malant says, I have no idea what that.

Is, one.

It connects the reader to the character because they're.

Like, absolutely it is either, but it is also permission to.

Not know what it is.

It's I'm telling reader this word is not important. You don't need.

To know the definition of this.

You are. You're fine.

So again, it's.

The only thing.

That's real is the reader is not real. He doesn't need to know what frapping is, the readers. The only thing that's real. And so what I'm doing by that is a bunch of things. You know, first of all, I'm I'm taking that that gibberish language up a notch to where I know you're probably not going to understand what they're saying.

But then I'm also giving you permission to know that there are certain words that they're saying that really.


Where you're going to get the context of what the conversation is.

The word flapping.

Doesn't give you what it is. You know, you've got plug the leak. That's really all you should need. You know, the overseers feel I can plug the leak. You don't need to know fracking to plug the leak. So again, it's just it's just this process of thinking about I know what I'm doing is going to.


Difficult for some people. So let me mitigate that difficulty as much as possible. Let me start off easy. Let me build to it.

Let me, you know.

Constantly train that. That's why, you know, he has the inner monologue thoughts about not doing the narration. Thoughts about to say solutions were strange people was an understatement, blah, blah, blah. So I'm not only building Jintra as a character, I'm also building out these islanders as a as a as a, you know.

Culture of people.

So there's a lot going on here. Yeah. And yet it's still gibberish.

And I think I think that this is a really good demonstration of using strange idioms and expressions which will still be clear to the reader what they're supposed to mean you know, you can use and you should. I talk about this all the time when I'm talking about world building, world building cultures and so on. The importance of language, the importance of idioms that makes sense in the context of the person who is talking, you know, building up your expressions, drawing on your magic system, embedding your magic system in your culture by using expressions related to your magic system, things like that.

And but what you have to be aware of when you're doing that is at least the first few times you need the reader to be able to pick up either from context or from somebody saying, I don't get it, you know, please explain it. You need you need to like help the reader understand the terminology. And that is what you do here very easily.

The one or two spots where there is hesitation on what it means. You have Malant interject, which works perfectly. Yeah.

But it's even like to go off your world building thing. If we go back to where I started with this now this is chapter ten or it will become chapter ten.

So the reader has.

Already been aware that months in this world are called moons, weeks are called ten days that that that has been taught, that has been threaded through.

But I'm still.

Constantly looking for opportunities to kind of drive that home. So in the line where it says his heart, you know, when he says in less than two moons, he'd be able to see them with his own eyes.

I then take.

That as an opportunity to go, you know, I'm still going to pound what, because I'm still only in chapter ten, so I'm still going to pound the reader what that means. And then that's why his heart sinks and he thinks to moons. And then the narration comes back in with nearly six, ten days in the middle of endless water.

Really, the the audience is going to focus on the middle of endless water. But it's, again, just my way. We're still in the early parts of the book and I'm still making sure that I'm driving home to my reader without telling them. I don't tell them that two moons, you know, that a moon is 310 days. I don't have to because I can use.

The the event that's happening within the moment to look for organic ways.

To do that.

Worldbuilding without ever, you know, saying, you know, there's nowhere in this book that goes a moon is six or is 310 days in a ten day is ten days long. I mean, I named it ten days for a.

Reason because I didn't want to use week.

And I will say that one of the things that I quite enjoyed doing in lion vessel because I have two different cultures in lion vessel alright and for the first time these cultures interacted and and so I actually had a moment where the one character set a time unit and then went hold on. And then I was like, she counted on her fingers, converting these time units into those time units.

And gave it in those time units, yeah, and stuff like.

That is so fun.

I mean, me and you literally.

Live by that because, you know, you'll be like, you know, it's.

It's two degrees here and I'm like two degrees what does that mean in Fahrenheit.

And or I'll be like, yeah, no, it's freezing here. It's 60 degrees. And you're like, okay, what is 60 degrees?

And that's like, that's not freezing. So yeah, it's, it's, that's so real world. And anytime you.

Can do that, it.

Makes your world feel so.

Much more real and so much more engaging and so much more immersive. And it is the reason why I wanted to do the accents. Now I will let everybody in on a little secret because I am still terrified of this decision I made. And during this rewrite, I can't tell you, especially in the beginning, how many times I would do the accent and then I would give up on and I'd change it all.

I just rip it all out and write it normal. And then I would be like.

I really like.

The accent. And I'd go back and try it again and and now I'm just done, you know, I'm definitely doing it. But I do have a safety net, so there's actually gonna be two versions of everything that I write. There's going to be a classic version and a cultural version. And so the culture version is going to be the way I want it, which is with the accents.

And then for those people that do that, just.

Absolutely detest.

Reading, you know, droped Gs on the ing words and y and t, and all of that. I'm going to write a classic version where I just rewrite. I'm not rewriting anything really. I'm just, you know, it's like we look at here where she says, Read yourself like a rogue wave as in yeah, I'll put you there because I'm not.

I am going to leave. I mean, I have decided that that the Silawayians speech is going to stay.

Because that's still.

Just English. But like when he says, you know, knock before enterin and it's a dropped G with the apostrophe, I'll take that out on the classic version. There are some other things that there's another race that.

They being there.



So they don't say, Why don't you go to the store? They say, Why don't you go into the store? So they be.


The all of their action verbs and not all verbs, but they're action verbs. They're kind of a cross between a Jamaican and Japanese culture. So that's why I'm kind of pulling like so Malant. His cultures were already and I pull from Scottish.


American redneck so you know.

Ah yeah.


If if you ever need another accent you can always drawn on the Finnish language and not have a future tense.

You know.

So I would drawn on the Finnish accent but I want my readers to.

Be able to read the words. you got some big ass words.

We speak perfectly good English up here but we don't have any future. I know.

No future. Well, that's because at any moment you could freeze to death.

So theres just a lot.

There's a lot to think about with dialog and accents and all that. And so, like I said, that's why I've decided to do a classic version and then anyone who gets the digital versions will get both. I'll just put both in every single digital version. If you're going to do the physical version, you have to pick which one you want, because I'm not going to.

I mean, this novel 230,000 words long right now, and I'm like, this chapter's being added. So it could be up to 250,000 words. I can't make a 500,000 word book like no one will print that. So you will get if you're going by the novel, you have choices between the culture version and the classic version, and you need to buy accordingly to what your reading taste is.

But I do.

I would really weep if I lost a reader because of my decision to write accents.

Well, this this section with the teaching, the reader and so on, I think dovetails nicely into the third part we want to talk about, which is supporting the reader through complicated conversations. And now this is primarily.

What cut you off. Yeah.

Just because I have, although I'll take control later, so I guess I could do it later. But since it's right here and I have control of the share screen.

Last last.

Podcast we talked about.

A piece.

Of dialog that was in My Name Is Earl, The TV show, and it works really great. So just don't look at this and close your eyes and just imagine, you know, that the actor is up there and they're in a pool hall and he's kind of flailing his arms around a little bit. They basically been trying to help this woman out who lost her husband.

And they've just found out that they that the woman didn't lose her husband. He faked his own death and he's actually in hiding from her. And that gives them a moral dilemma, especially Randy, who's a little bit slow, a little bit on the spectrum, a little bit mentally deficient. And so this is a line that he did. And when he did it, I literally stopped the the you know, I was watch on Netflix.

I stopped it, I rewound it. I watched it again. I stopped it. One, I, I watched it again. I stopped that. I rewound. I wrote it down. I watched it again because this is a great example of the difference between the two mediums. So if you close your eyes and you just kind of imagine or if you're, you know, listen to podcasts, you don't have to, but, you know, so he's there and he's in the pool hall and he just figured this out.

He's and you see him have this moral dilemma. And so his line is.

Are you going to tell her he's alive? She thinks he's dead, but he's not.

He's not dead. He's he's living.

He's alive. He's not dead. Like she thinks he is like it's this crazy, repetitive rambling. However, for.

Those of you on YouTube.

I also wrote.

It in prose and I edited a little piece like so it says Randy waved his arms around like he was swatting at a swarm of attacking bees. And then it has the line of dialog.

When you read.

That in your head, it is the most annoying thing that you will ever read.

It's horrible to read. Watching him act it out was brilliant and this just.

Illustrates the difference between verbal communication and written. Again, we use two different parts of our brain to consume the data. When you're listening to someone talk, you're using a completely different part of your brain than when you are reading words yourself. Very, very different. I think I've told this story before of the first monk who was kind of a credited with reading in his head, because back in the day there was no spelling.

So anyone to spell any word, any way they wanted to, because everything was sounded out, everything, every word was just you just kind of sounded it out. And so everything was written, read out loud, everything. Nothing was ever read in your head ever. Everything was read out loud. And so there's this monk that wrote this encounter that he had with another monk where he found the monk fascinating because the monk would sit there with a book.

But he wouldn't read it, but he would turn the pages.

And so the monk was like.

Why are you just staring at a book?

And the other monk was like, No.

I'm reading it. It's like, No, you're not. You're just looking at it. He's like, Yeah, I'm reading it in my head.

And the monk that wrote the tale of this is like that.

You can't. That's impossible.

And the monk that was reading was like, actually.

It's enlightening because you get so many different meanings when you read it silently to yourself. Then when I hear someone else read it to me.

And so that's kind of the first story, the oldest story. Not all of it happened or not, but that is.


As the first time a human read in their head, because it is it's very, very different. So I just thought it was interesting. It's a little rabbit chase me on, share my screen.


Give it over to you. But when you know, because I write for video games, I write for movies and TV, and I also write prose, obviously. And I think it's the number one that one aspect right there, I think, is the number one reason why. So like, you know, I'm a big Kirkman fan was Walking Dead series. I love the comic series, love the TV show.

He cannot write prose to save his life, like his novels are just God awful. And it's because he's trying to write it like a scriptwriter.

And most and most prose writers should not try and adapt their own books.

Exactly. And I think I think the.

Only reason why I've been as successful as I have been is because each one I.


Consider a different.


So I, I hope I don't bring any baggage with me. When I went from being a prose write, I'm very happy that I started as a prose writer. Because as a prose writer.

Your response for everything you are the set, the.

Director, the caster, the you know, the actors, the literally everything. And as a script writer, you're just the words that are coming out of the actor's.


And nothing more. And so.

It's, it's.

Like I always feel like I'm on vacation when I'm writing a script because it's like, wait, I don't have to worry about what things look like and how people are moving and like the inner emotions and like all this massive things that you have to to kind of put into your prose. I don't have to do so anyway, just kind of want to go down that rabbit hole to kind of dovetail from last episode, just to put an exclamation point on that aspect.

Now let's get into this because this is awesome.

I love.

I love this right here where.

You knew that.

This is a very complicated kind of topic and you didn't want to lose a reader. And so you kind of gave them a safety net.

Or or you almost.

Gave them a mentor character that's mentoring them.

That's exactly what I did. So this is it's a scene in In Magic Fall Book two or Skies of Destiny, Book two. The the book we're writing together, the series writing together. And this is this is very alpha draft very aware of that but the the setup for this conversation is Lyron been trying to get into like the equivalent of university well, like a post post engineering department and he he got knifed right he's he's assignment got changed and he has a.

Knife this in he got railroaded not.

A railroad.

With a knife.

Yeah not not literally metaphorically knifed right. And and he, he ended up so so he's like, okay, now I need to figure out what to do. I need to get this fixed. And he thinks that, okay, you know, he knows somebody is really good at politics, Myra. He owes her a favor from last time, which he didn't pay her for.

But, you know, he's pretty sure he can figure something out. So He rushes off to go see her, and he comes into the state and so on. And during the process of coming to the state, he learns that she's expecting, which is already like kind of a warning sign. All right. Lyron, she lingered over his name and his knees went weak.

Join me for a bite to eat. He stumbled under the bench opposite her high. I'm glad you finally remembered me. Her eyes danced like wicked stars. You've been back nearly two weeks. I Yes. Lauren gulped and closed his hand around a glass filled with sparkling soda on ice. The cold spot in his palm brought him a few notches closer to reality.

I'm sorry I didn't come right away. Are you? And then here is where Ghost comes in. So for those of you who don't know, Ghost is what amounts to an artificial intelligence that lives in Lyrons screen. And when Ghost is talking to Lauren mentally, it is marked with asterisks.

Yeah, this is what we were talking about at the beginning of the podcast where it's just a different and it's also italicized. You'll notice we decided to do both.

Yeah. So Ghost says Say yes. It is unfortunate that my actions seem to have made us adversaries. And Lyron says What? And Ghost says, say it. now what I'm doing here is Lyron is the reader's standard, right? The reader doesn't know as much about the context of the world and these characters as, you know, anybody else does. Lyron is the same.

He is not politically competent, but the ghost is.

So we call we.

Call that character and anchor character. An anchor character is a character who doesn't know things, and so they have to ask questions. What is that? How does that work? Who is that? And again, it's not for them. They're not real. They don't need to know who is that and what is that and how does that work? The reader needs to know who is that, what is that and how does that work?

That's why the farm boy trope is so overused in fantasy, because what better way to teach you an.

Entire world that.

You have never been in that doesn't exist, that has completely new physics and magic and politics and religion. Then with a farm boy who's never left the farm yet.

So stumbling a little later and repeated the line, and I just want to say here, you will notice that I don't actually repeat the line, right? Because dear god don't do that.

It goes back to the what I was when I brought the Randy example. And that's exactly the same thing.

When on.

If it was a movie and we were doing the voiceover and we had trained the audience that when this is said, we know it said in their house or in their head in the movie, they might actually do it. You know, it might be, you know, maybe we put an echo, reverb or whatever. And so, you know, that we've trained you that that means that that's ghost talking in his head.

And so we hear the echo reverb that says.

This is it.

It was it is unfortunate that my actions seem to have made us adversaries. And then he would think what? And then he would, you know, again, say it.

More than likely.

Because we'd want to see that interaction that that nervousness, that stumbling over the lines. We'd want to see the character actually do that. So he would go, Yeah, I guess, I'm sorry that that what I did, because he wouldn't say it exactly the same. So on and so forth.

That's perfectly.

Fine. In a visual medium.

You do it here. Now there's an.

Argument like, Could you do it once here? Absolutely. It would not piss the reader off if we instead of writing stumbling, stumbling a little Lyron and repeated line here, if we actually did do it here. Yes. An argument for both ways.


If you do it through the entire conversation.

You will.

Literally just piss the readers.


Whereas you could do it in a visual medium. So sorry.

Yeah, 100%. And we'll get to some spots where he comes close to repeating the line. But I got so stumbling a little later and repeated the line. Myra ran her finger along the rim of her cup, her smile turning coy. There are those hidden depths I remember. I wondered how long it would take you to realize what happened.

You continue to surprise. Wait, She had my assignment. Now this is again mental in his head. And then ghost replies or leaned on the dean or had Vera do something and she wants you to know it. Focus. Ask How do I fix this? But she hurt me. Why am I fixing it? Politics is a game of chess. Set aside your ego and ask her.

So again, there's like, this is what is going on. This is the implications of what has been said. So and then.

The funny thing is, is what this.


Is the exact opposite of subtext.

Yes. So if we.

Wanted to just let the region remember, this is.

Why. But if we wanted to force.

The reader to have to figure out this stuff, then you take ghost out of the equation and you let Lahren bumble through it, trying to figure out and he says stupid things and he gets himself into whatever you know, he gets himself into because he doesn't really realize what's going on. But if the reader is savvy, they understand that the chick is very, very savvy in what she's doing and very meticulous and very methodical in how she dealt with this situation.


So that's that would be subtext. The opposite of that is to have a mentor inside the characters and saying.

Hey, let me I'm going to spell out what's going on here.

In my epic fantasy, Insane Wheel chronicles the one that I read from in the first one, right? I do not give you any of this when you read the politics, God help you. You're on your own. Yeah, yeah.

It's all subtext.

And clues to make sure I don't completely lose you. But otherwise you need to understand the symbology, the houses, the people, the characters, and how they're talking to each other. Like, good luck. But that is an epic fantasy. The fan base for epic fantasy or people who enjoy that kind of worldbuilding, that kind of writing, they don't expect to be babied.

When just I do.

Want to kind of expand upon that. Yes, there are circles within Epic fantasy, but she's 100% right.

There are.

There is a circle within epic fantasy that loves the deep political intrigue.

Because I'm not there. I mean.

I don't mind any of the stuff that you've done, and I follow it. But if I didn't have a relationship with you, would I pick up saying, We'll call in calls? Maybe, maybe not. Depends on who recommended it. But because I love everything else, I love, you know, like the magic and the action and the what's going on and the conflicts that everybody's with.

But I'd probably because I did the same thing with Game of Thrones, I just glossed over the politics side of it because that's just not my thing, even though I'm an epic fantasy fan. So there's a market out there is basically what I'm saying. What if you're very into the heavy politics and that's what you like, You're going to find a market for that because there are fans that crave that.

If you I mean, the first book of the Genesis saga was called Farmers and Mercenaries.

Like we're not talking about.

Kings and princes and, you know, political intrigue here. We're talking about literally salt of the earth, just roll up your sleeves and get stuff done.

And actually.

That's the basis of that saga. That's what I wanted to do. I was tired of the trope of every fantasy. I'm dealing with kings and queens and princes and like, I don't want to deal with that. I want to know.

You know, I want to explore a world.

Where just some average Joes literally kind of end up in a position where it's like, crap, if we don't do something, everyone dies. So not no prophecy, no chosen ones, no nothing. So again, it's a rabbit chase, but I just wanted to make sure that everybody understands. You need to understand that you're writing for a specific audience.


You can't be everything to everyone you know. She doesn't try to do this in Sangrur because.


For the Sangrur Chronicles. She's writing for a certain audience. But here in Magic Falls, we're.

Writing for a.

Different audience. And so we're going.

To we're going.

To target them and give them what we feel that they're looking for. And this is very, very important. If you're going to be a professional writer and be successful at this, you either need to pick one several that you write for for the rest of your life, or if you do want to branch out, you do have to understand that you.

Can't treat.

A different audience the same way as you treat, you know, your original audience or whatever. They're going to be different.

I Have criticas I have people who read only sang Will and who say that they really can't get into magical. I have people who have read Magic fall and tried Sang Will and said I just i can’t. Yeah yeah. But because they are very different in that aspect. Magic fall is aimed at a young adult science fiction audience and Sang Will is aimed at an epic fantasy.

Adult audience.


A hardcore epic fantasy. I mean, there's some really, really good stuff in there if you're if you're really into that, the more hardcore stuff.


So if you like George R.R. Martin, if you like Drake's work, if you like Robert Jordan, you like Single Chronicles, but that's.

Fine with you.

And like I said, the only real difference is, is that she leans a little harder into politics than I do, and I lean a little bit harder into the dude who tilts the earth. Know so but that's it.

It's just the.

Book to the dude who tells the earth. But it's it's it's some ways down the road right.

Anyway, so it's just it's we're still both basically.

Targeting the same audiences. We're just leaning on different aspects of the world to tell our stories.

That's really the difference.

So, so we were here to talk to your ego and Oscar, so somehow Lauren got the words up. I'm so glad you asked. Mara chose a tiny skewer of cheese, olives and a pickled onion from a plate of dainties. You could start by fulfilling your promise to me. What did you find on the nadi fall with ghosts help?

Lyron navigated his way through another retelling of his adventures. He told her about the quantum server and the criminals, but he hit the information on the adapted, revealing only that he had found an ally guarding the Noddy and blown it up. My my quite the heroic act. Moira patted her lips with a serviette, the tip of her tongue touching the corners of her mouth.

Lyron swallowed hard. It was just what had be done at Ghost's, prompting, He added more. And now I need to be in anti-grav Myra It's not just a whim. There's more at stake, is there now? And how is that? I learned things in that server room. He looked away from her Boris face rising and his memories, his unruly.

Calm down. It is. It was only two days. But still, I have practical experience with the technology, the anti-gravity is built on. How many engineers can say that? Not many. I'll grant you that. She made a tiny sandwich with a square of bread and a hard cheese slice, handing it to Lyron and then ghost tells him, eat it. He ate the dainty snack with his eyes on Myra, barely tasting the sharp cheese for everyone's sake, I should be in anti-grav.

Will you let me do my part? Yeah. So what I was doing here as well is like, she is giving him a gift by accepting it. He's saying that he's open to it. Or at least that's what ghosts do. But I don't actually tell the reader that because at this point I'm like, You either get it or you that piece of subtext passes you right?

Her brows drew elegant arches. Well, that is an interesting play. Do you know what our fathers are doing today? Lauren stared at her. His mind is blank. There's a wiped sleeve. He'd only seen his father. Hed barely seen his father in the past ten days. No, I thought not there. Calling a vote of no confidence in the director, she checked her sleeve.

In fact, they should be done already. My father is probably the new director with your father as speaker. All humor drained from her eyes, leaving them cool and determined The city will change and I intend to be a part of that change. You can help or you can rot in air filtration. Are you willing to work with her ghost ask?

I guess so. And then ghosts in or out? Lauren, if you ally with her now and fire again, she will not take it. Well. Lauren sucked in his breath. The perfume of the speaker? No, the perfume of the director's daughter filling his airways in his thinking it ghost and then go says Tell her you will not be a pawn like Vera.

You are either partners or you are out. What does she have to do with Barrack? Perhaps nothing. Her reaction will tell us more. I won't be like Vera. Lauren made his voice as firm as he as he could. We are partners or nothing. And notice here I do repeat the words, but I change them slightly for the impact.

That's required here. Mirror silvery laugh full be able. I'd expect that nothing less. Lauren sat forward on the wooden bench. Then you'll fix my assignment. Yes. She reached across the table and put her hand over his butt. Remember this moment, Lauren? You've tasted me. I've responded. Let's not repeat this dance. Yeah, So I think that's enough for this.


So there's Stop.

Before we get into it. I do want to go. There's one really, really interesting thing that you did here. I really do want to point out. Let's go to line 60.


This is one of the reasons why I love past tense verbs versus, you know, past using past tense instead of present tense. This comes down to let me get a little English geeky here.

But it comes to verb forms.

When you're writing in present tense, you have access to present tense verb forms. Yes, you can use past tense, but now you're just breaking what you are trying to do because just doing this weird flashback and you're you're breaking the I'm in present tense, you know, moment of time.

When you're in.

Writing and past tense, you.

Actually have.

Access to, all four different types of verb forms, which is future tense, present tense, past tense and past perfect tense, which happens.

Before the past tense. So you have these four layers of verbs that you have.

The ability to manipulate time with. And so when you run into a situation like what happens here.

Where I am, I need to have a character.

Tell another character something that the.

Readers lived through, like period.

So when the character, when the when the female says, I'm sorry, I'm a terror with my own name. So Myra says, you could start by filling fulfilling your promise. What did you find on that? If all that's in the moment, we are, we are now of the story.

But we're not going to tell the reader what they are. It's literally book one. Like we're not going to just.

Tell them that. And so now we can speed up time and just go with with ghost help Later On, navigating his way through another retelling of the Adventures.

Boom Reader gets it.

Everybody understands.

Is it tell? Absolutely.

Because it needs to be. And then once.

That's done and then also we do bring.

Up and I say we Marie brought up because she wrote this.

The key elements.

That we need the reader to remember or even he didn't tell her so like he hid this, that and the other thing or whatever.

And then after one short four line paragraph of, of speeding.

Up time, we slow back down to the moment. My, my.

Quite the heroic act and.

Now we're.

Right back.

And so the transitions are flawless. We the reader is never thrown out. They don't realize that they just went from, you know, watching a movie to watching a movie in Fast B to watching a movie. It's just this is what past tense gives you. And so I just want to take that moment to to chase that rabbit because this is so awesomely done.

Yeah. And it is very important you summarize things that the reader absolutely is going to know. I have already done touches of recaps in earlier chapters in this book because it is book, so you have to remind the reader of what went before and so on. That's fun. All of that's been done. But we are now, I think, this Chapter seven, there is no need to cover the same ground again with its covered.

Yeah. And then the the spot here, the reason why I repeat this line right, is because I because I want emphasis of how he sees it and how she interacts with that light. And that's why I didn't repeat I didn't have him repeat his lines anywhere else, including like the first one. I thought I could do it in the first one, but I, I wanted it here.

I wanted it at this line. And I didn't want the reader to already be annoyed by having to read double lines where it wasn't important. So I save the repetition for this moment.

But I also want to point out.

Going past that as the reader, when on line 99 where you know.

We repeated, we have, you know, tell her.

That you won't be upon blah, blah, blah. And then we have, you know, so that's ghost telling him what to say. And then we have later on actually saying it. That's also great transition to.

Now layer on.

Just kind of takes over the conversation.

But as the reader you now can assume that he's saying that after he's told what to say.

And so we've even transitioned away.


It's not we don't know that for a fact because it's not in there. It could be later on taking over and actually doing it.

But it could be.

That he's repeating what Ghost is telling him to repeat. But because of that transition, the reader will still follow the fact. And the reason I say that is because these lines are really easy. So layer on could easily be the one that said this. But let's say we wanted to transition and we wanted to keep the hardcore politics stuff going.

That would be. And he and Leron said stuff that were very out of character for Layer on just like above, where he says things that are very out of character for layer on.

You could now.

Roll into that.

Completely cut.

Ghost from the equation and the audience know, Yeah, Ghost is telling him to say that. And now I'm just watching layer on say the repeat. So that's also a great thing. And again, it all.

Comes down to training the reader.

So we train the reader, Hey look, Ghost is telling him this stuff, but I'm not going to. I don't need you to hear the repeating. We then go into this moment where Ghost says it and he repeats it and then we can continue the conversation. And again, probably these are layer on words and a lot of people are going to get that.

But my point is we could continue to say things that we know layer on could not have discovered, and we never mention Ghost again because the audience has now been trained. This is where layer on is getting the information and this is why he's saying stuff out of context and out of character, not context, but out of character.

And the reader would just go right with it. And then that gets you more in the moment you don't have to do this whole back and forth.


Getting the reader to know that Ghost is the one telling this. It's all about training. It's all about just making sure the reader can follow the flow and fall into the story.

The one other thing I want to highlight before we go to your your emotional scene is just in terms of and this isn't dialog specifically, but the way that I describe Mara here, like she patted the lips of the service at the tip of her tongue, touching the corners of her mouth. Like that kind of description. Is there or not, because I want to read it to be thinking about like a chick.

STEIN You know, but because that is how I want the reader to understand how Liron is feeling about she is making him hot under the collar because she is pretty. She's paying attention to him, you know?

But it's even more than that. It also shows.

That she is purposefully. Yes, tantalizing.

She's she is doing this on purpose. She is literally using her beauty as a weapon against him.


She's not accidentally just going, you know, giggle, giggle and,

You know, yes, I.

Have big breasts, but you don't need, you know, whatever. She's not she knows because again, it's just showing how politically savvy.

Yes, she is.

Because of the world that she grew up in.

Yeah. And and that's also like just part of the description of things that you put in when you describe when you're describing the actions around dialog, when you're using that paragraph structure to tell the reader, don't forget that you are describing these things from somebody's point of view. How is that somebody noticing stuff that is important?


And it.


You know, we talk about all the time about dialog and secondary and tertiary characters. The only way to show the character of the secondary and tertiary characters, the motivation of the character, the motivation of the secondary and tertiary, the drives of the of the secondary tertiary characters is by what they say and what they do.

And so having her.

Literally say, I'm going to be a part of this, we know Myra's motivation.

Yet and it doesn't feel like a tell.

Because it's a part of dialog and dialog is active and you know, it's people discussing things and everything like that. And so we get through subtext. We get that She's very savvy in how she plays, the fact that she's very pretty, and then she's also very ambitious and driven by the words that come out of her mouth.

Yeah, exactly.

And we don't.

Need and we don't need ghost to say, Wow, you've got to watch this one. She's using her beauty against you and she's.


You know, driven to power.

We don't need to say anything.

We don't need to be that to be had. But with the right, anybody should be able to pick that up.

Well, even.

If you just wasn't there, a writer might fall into the trap of their own, realized he needs to keep an eye on her because not only was she using her beauty against.

Him, she obviously had a lust for power like, they'll do that.

And you don't need to. It's there. And then the argument against that would be because, you know, I like to steal man things.

Yeah, but what if you lose a reader? Okay, And I.

Agree with that. But my and I say this all the time, if you're not smart enough to follow what I'm doing, then you probably are not smart enough to read me. There are other authors out there that will baby you a little bit more than I will or a little bit more than Marie will. And actually I may be able to confront them very well.

So we talk about that all the time.

But if you now think.


And her fourth book is going to come out and it's literally going to be 250 pages of blank pages and you literally have to figure it out from.


You know, I jest.

Of course.

That's all right. Yeah. No, some really good stuff there.

All right.

So the last thing that we're going to look at is one of my more emotional scenes.

Now, I don't.

Admit this very often, but do you know that I'm on hormone therapy because my body doesn't make hormones anymore and even more, the radiation therapy therapy killed my thyroid, and we're still trying to get that balanced out. So if I start crying like a little baby, don't pick on me. It's a sad scene to me. It might not be a sad scene to you, but I was reading it to Marie earlier and I had to actually stop a couple of times to try to make sure I didn't lose it.

So I'm not saying it's that said, I'm just saying that emotions are literally all over the place right now.

Where is. I'm lost. There it is. Yeah.

Marie won't won't cry at this at all. You want him to shed a tear?

All You don't know me. All I can cry in books like a little baby child. I'm not even ashamed of it.

yeah, I'm not ashamed of. It either. I mean, like that kid's movie that I wrote that's won a bunch of awards, and I stopped for a third time in December. I have never there's not a single edit that I've ever gotten through that and gotten all the way to the end without bawling my eyes out.

I just can't.

It's it's very touching.

All right.

So this is still, again, from my current work in progress. So we're following a public character named Clyde is really in he's a jaded mercenary he his son is dying. And so his entire quest is he's going on a kind of a reckless adventure to procure something. That's the only thing that could even give his son a chance of a long life.

But the reality is that he's making decisions.


Are dumb and he knows it. And it's not that they're dumb decisions.

They're just he is.

Making the decision to put himself into harm's way.


He all he cares about is saving his.

Child. And on top of that, there is an evil priesthood that.

Has been hunting him down for years that just found out where he is and have now tried to.

Kill him.

This night. So this is later in the night when he just barely it home alive. And he had a dagger in his shoulder and a crossbow in his hip and, you know, all this other stuff. So he's just gotten healed with some magic healing stuff. But now he's got to go in. And he was hoping his wife would just be asleep because way late at night.

But that isn't case. And so now he has to navigate through two kind of conversations, one avoiding her, knowing that he was in danger and how close he actually came to death tonight, because he doesn't want to burden her with that. And then also explain to her that you can't stay here anymore in our lovely home in this lovely city that we've had for ten years.

And obviously she's known this because she's married to the man and she knows the secret war that he's in and all this other stuff. So there's a lot going on and that's what you would know coming into this scene. But this is the first time you've met his wife and his child. So it's going to be the whole scene.

And we'll just talk about a couple little things and then we'll be done now.

Okay. So it's the start of a scene.

He's gotten healed and now he was in the stable when they healed him. Because I like that's the last line.

Where his.

Best friend says he looks at the knife that he just pulled from his shoulder and he's like.


He nodded his approval before shifting his eyes to colitis. This be getting the job done, I be thinking. His gaze became hard, worry swelled inside colitis.

Get what.

Job done, lie on your belly and nobody give him a no fuss. A wicked grin split his lip. I still be needing to get that both out of your ass. So he's obviously been through a little bit of medical interventions before we start here. So now we're just jumping in time to the next scene. Hair still dripping cold water from his impromptu bath in the horse trough colitis took the stairs leading into his villa two at a time.

He carried the bonding stone he one earlier that he bouncing in his palm. The clinked against the one embedded in his own hand. He was shirtless and wearing a pair of knee breeches they found in the stables three sizes too large. The garment looked more like full length trousers on him, but compared to what Ragnar had just done, it was the least embarrassing thing that had happened to colitis since he returned home.

Since his return home while there was no longer any pain, his brain told him he should be limping the ulna to repair the damage, even the neck in his ear. But Ragnar had been none too gentle in the removing of the barb Pleshette from colitis has hit amount. The man found too much pleasure in that by.


The fellas that dark and colitis slipped in without a sound. His stomach rumbled, reminding him that he had not eaten since half a meal, not to mention the toll the lot took on his body. He contemplated grabbing something from the kitchen, but dismissed the idea There were more pressing matters to attend to. He headed up the stairs to the living quarters, reaching the doorway to a son's dark room.

He peered inside, the shutters stood open, allowing chilly night breeze to enter and the dim silver glow of the waning moon. Cletus made his way to his son's sleeping form. After his eyes adjusted, he crept like the breathable mouse into the chamber. Standing beside the bed, he gazed down at the boy, drinking in the sight, the silky black hair covering the child's head, matching his own lay, tussled from sleep.

The boyishly round appearance of his face so prevalent in children his age picked out above the covers.


Knelt and cupped the boy's cheek cheeks with gentle, loving hands, colitis cereal. Lillian's eyes fluttered open.

Father, I wanted to wait up for you, but Mother said I needed my rest.

The boy blurted out the words, though he was not fully awake, she smiling colitis kept his tone to a whisper.

I would not have you sleep this Eve without.

Tucking you in and kissing you goodnight. His son set up the covers, pooling around his thin waist.

Did you attend the game? His father.

The young boy, wiped his eyes with the back of his hand. It's amazing how fast a child.

Wakes from sleep.

Leaning over colitis, pressed to soft kissed against Zero's forehead.

That I did my little bit.

He shook the sun, his son's glossy black hair.

But it is late and your mother is correct. You need your sleep. A gentle cough.

Wracked Cyril's slight and colitis enveloped the boy as it grew in severity. Once the coughing subsided, Cyril pushed from colitis his chest and stared into his eyes.

Do you promise to.

Tell me of the games in the.


Clive's his heart broke with the blood priest making the move. His plans had changed. He no longer had the luxury of spending one final morning with his son, regaling tales of the Colosseum. I could sleep on the road. He pursed his lips. If you promise not to tell your mother.

I think we can spend some time now.

The boy's face lit up and he nodded. I promise. With the smile on his face was warm and genuine as he began telling his son an abbreviated version of the day's events. By the time he came to the part of the lineman's exit, Cyril was stifling a yawn with the back of his tiny hand.

I want to grow up and be a mighty warrior like the kid.

Holding up his hand. He mimicked.

A claw.

No one will be able to stand against me, Cletus laughed. You will look silly with all that fur. Cyril giggled and hugged his father. I will miss you, Father.

And I'll do my little bit.

Pulling back. I just looked up into his. Ah, sorry. Zero looked up into his father's eyes.

How long will you be gone?

Clyde is placed his hand on the boy's shoulders. This will be my longest trip to date. You must be brave for me while I'm away. And take care of your mother for you. And she are going on a trip as well. The boy sat up straighter.

A trip where? Never mind that the night is but half gone and there are still sleep that needs doing. When you return, will you teach me the sword? By despite the tears.

Welling in his eyes. Once you are feeling better, I will teach you all I know.

Hush now, my little bit. It is time you were back to sleep.

Cletus nestled his son's head into the pillow and pulled the silken sheets up, tucking him or tucking them under the boy's chin.

Very well, Father. I expect to hear.

More about the battles with the Lion Man in the morning. Cyril stifled another.

Yawn. Yes, my little bit.

I will spare you the detail. I will spare you. No. Only if you get back to sleep. This incident. Vitus brushed his fingers over the boy's brow.

Close your eyes. He stayed.

Kneeling next to the bed, stroking his son's forehead, edging every smooth curve of the boy, etching every smooth curve of the boy's features and into memory. He remained long after serious breathing became deep and regular. Even more amazing.

Is how fast they fall asleep.

Lost in thought, he failed to hear the soft footsteps approaching from behind.

Ragnar has left a trail.

Of meats and fruits in your hand. For you in our chamber. The soft flutter of the lace Willian's voice Caress places, ears. Our hands did the same to his bare shoulders and chest.

I fear he babies you too much.

Her statement pulled a mirthless grunt.

From Cletus.

Palming the bonding stone he slipped into his pocket with as little movement as needed.

We have. We have seen much, him and I.

He is the best lieutenant I could wish for.

He snorted as.

Fierce in battle as he is and keeping me happy.

A wife could get jealous.

The child was soft and warm. It is like my love.

What kept you looking up?

Her face brought a smile to his lips. Smooth, porcelain skin covered high cheekbones that accentuated her beautiful half moon shaped eyes. Nothing of note, my love. Just some final details.

For my journey.

He regretted the lie, but could not bring himself to add worry to her mind. The news of where he intended to send her. And Cyril would be enough for her to know. The situation was.


The encounter with the butcher was done and he still drew breath. There would be no benefit in mentioning it.

Now she tests or she she test.

Should I even ask about what you are wearing?


He shook his head in his eyes, pleading with her to abandon line of inquiry. She sighed a sigh that said, Fine.

I found that very.

Quiet, reached up and held her hand to his shoulder. When she started toward the door. He let it slip from his grasp. Turning, he watched her slender form sway under the nightgown as she left their son's room, returning his attention to the boy. He stayed for a few moments longer. Reluctantly, he rose and followed his wife entering their private chambers.

He went straight to the side table where a silver tray where a silver platter waited, piled high with food, food and sleep. That is all I need. He poured himself a glass of honey wine and sat on the edge of the bed. The lay slipped under the bed behind him, wrapping her slender legs around his waist and pressing herself against his back.

Her warm.

Her warmth seeping his bare skin, reaching over. She plucked the grape from his plate and popped it into her mouth. Biting it in half, she let its juices dribble past her lips to land on the spot that not an arm gone had been penetrated by cold steel chipping and lit the juice from his skin colitis calls closed his eyes and surrendered to the sensation of her hot mouth and nibbling teeth.

She shifted around to sit in his lap, finding his lip with hers, where he returned her kiss like a drowning man, tasting his last gulp of air as they embraced the hunger of his stomach was forgotten, replaced by a different craving. And I don't write sex. So the next line is, after their lovemaking after the lovemaking, they lay in each other's arms by staring at the dark ceiling content in his wife's embrace.

Time passed without meaning, but all things end. And time will not wait for the likes of me. He still himself for what he needed to do. I am sending you and Sarah with Ragnar to Vince at Sue on the morrow.

He Kept. He kept a casual.

Tone trying to make it sound normal. Well, this body stiffened, and he realized he should not have spoken at all.

Why did I not wait to tell her this in the morning? I am a fool. She raised her.

Elbows and look deep in his eyes. The pain and fear storming in her gaze and agony, ripping through colitis this very soul. He stared back his eyes, begging her not to pursue the questions he knew raged inside her mind. Without a word she laid back down, burying her head into his chest. Her body tensed, pulse tears flowing and unspoken anguish, embracing her as tight as he could.

As if by sheer strength alone, he could save her from the burdens of being the wife of someone like him. He searched for any words that might release her from her misery. He found none. In time, her body relaxed. Her and her breathing fell into a rhythmic pace. He held her for a long time, caressing her dark hair and drinking the fragrance it held.

I am so sorry, my love.

But I.


Who I am. And that's it.

Yeah. And I think what what is showing really? Well, this piece of dialog is the intensity of the feelings that are communicated in between the dialog and how you can use that to control the pace.

So the funny thing about this.


The audience does not know.

Yet why.

That is. I mean, they know that Cletus is sending his family away because him and Ragnar have already had that conversation in the last scene where Ragnar's like where Titus tells him, You can't go with me because the original plan was Ragnar would always go with him on any adventures that he went on. And he's like, You must take my wife to bits.

That suit. But this is the first time you've heard the word Panzer, so you don't know what that implies? You don't know. You know, he's a warrior in a secret war. But the only thing know about the secret war is that it's secret. And, you know, that's really it. You know, they're a special type of mage.

So you don't really.

As the reader, you've never learned how this would.


His life, how they live with it. Nothing like that. So what I wanted to show with this scene.

Is I want to show the.

Reaction without any information at all. And I think it's powerful. And, you know, again, everything is subjective. So you can disagree with me. You can tell me in the comments if you liked it or disliked. But the for me, what I wanted to do was without you having any knowledge of what the ramifications truly mean. I wanted to show somebody suffering knowing that this was about to happen.

And you feel.

That pain and nothing.


Yeah. Yeah. And I think, like, it's very important when you're doing this kind of emotional dialog that you have to break up the of the words. You have to control the pace, you have to slow the reader down and let them almost wallow in the emotions because the reader needs that intensity. Otherwise it's just words. It's just words being spoken.

You when you come to the sort of emotional dialog, you really need to plunge into it.

And also is the first time.

You know.

You know, he's got a dying son, but this is his first time coming home because it starts off that morning and he's he's away. He's getting ready for this trip. And then on his way home.

He gets ambushed and almost killed by the butcher. And so this is.

That time where really wanted to.

Allow the reader to.

Fall in love.


The relationship that colitis has with his son.

So that you understand.

That you care.

About whether Clyde succeeds or not on this adventure, that he's about to go on this undertaking to to gather this rare ingredient that the healers might possibly be able to use to save his son's.

Life. Yeah.

It's just allowing you to understand, because this whole time you've been following colitis and he's preparing for this trip. And, you know, of course, the priest attacking him was not what he was hoping for, especially at this moment. Since he's leaving tomorrow.

And so this using.

When you're using a child or some other family member as the driving motivation for a character you have to show that that character cares about that thing at least once. And the best way to do that is with direct interaction like this.


Because also this is the only time because tomorrow morning Cletus leaves the city and.

One you've got one scene to sell the reader on this. This man is driven by the love of his son.

And his white man and.

His wife.

But family man.

Family is. But he's.

But he's got it going on. He's going on this quest because of love of his son. Yeah. And and therefore, it's very important that that the scene plays out with all of those emotions. And at the slower pace so that the reader really draws it in.


Know, So funny. One of the readers last night in the writers room for the Petite group, she has a scene where she has like seven.


And she finished reading it and she was like, I, I need feedback. But what I don't want to hear from you people is I have to cut some characters because they all have.

To be there.

And it was very confusing. It was a very confusing scene. And the funny thing is, and people do not get this advice very often. And so when I said it, everyone in the room was like dumbfounded. But I said, to fix the scene is very simple. You need to slow it down. And so it's funny that you're saying this is why this works so much, is because I did.


Slow this down to crawl so that the readers could experience every single moment of every single.


Of what's going on and have time to consume it and have time to, you know, literally incorporate it into their understanding of these characters in this world, in this moment and everything like that.

I don't think people.

Understand the power of slowing it down enough.

Or on critique circle or inside often, but I have done it like five or six times where I've said, this scene is too fast.


Slow it. And I know enormously with worldbuilding more than emotional scenes, although I do set sometimes the emotional, but with worldbuilding, you cannot throw five names at the reader and expect them to absorb it. It is not going to happen. You need to slow it down. You need to give them time to absorb it. You need to give them a practical exposure to the thing.

You're introducing them to slow it down.

And that's such a juxtaposition.

To the.

Normal, be efficient cut words that you don't.

Need that don't do anything.

Drive the plot, drive the story. All of those are right in those contexts. But there are just things.

I mean, like, you know, we pull up any of my fight scenes, they are brutally fast.

Yeah, but it's a fight scene. Things are going really fast. And so there's just this mouth. That's why I like it's I.

The writers room, because we have so many different genre writers in there. And so, you know, and in one critique group, I have like a fantasy reader and I'll have a mystery writer, I'm sorry, a fantasy writer and a mystery writer. And inevitably, after the fantasy writer reads The mystery writer, we're like, I don't understand why you have this paragraph in here, and I don't understand why you have that paragraph in here.

Just like this. Just information. You know, it doesn't need to be it doesn't move the story because as a mystery writer, you're not really developing.


You're not developing a world, you're just chasing a mystery. You're chasing a what is the solution to this issue? And so it's very bereft of.

A lot of.

The stuff that we would do in fantasy. And so I really have to go I'm going to play devil's advocate here for a minute.

What that does is that lets.

Me understand this.


At this level. And You know, the mystery writers like, I don't Yeah, why do I care?

Like, you're not a you're.

Not an epic fantasy fan like you. We are writing to a very audience and you're writing.

It because if if I wrote a mystery story where I wrote.

Epic fantasy, I would not sell any copies.

And not a single.

One. Well, first of all, you go to the.

Mystery section and you'd have all these little thin 80,000 word books, and then you get this one mystery book that's.

Like three.

Times as thick as a normal. It's 250,000 words. You'd be like.

I'm not. What's what is this? War and peace? But it's the same.

The funny thing is, it's the same thing. It's epic fantasy. You Go in and you're looking all the epic fantasy, these big, massive, you know, biblical tomes.

And then you see this one little.

Skinny book and you're like.

Why would I even bother? Why would I buy that? It's like a pamphlet. What is that? You know, 300 pages. 250 pages, please.

And so you just have to understand your audiences. They're very, very different.

And this is why people when people say genre is just a marketing tool. Yes. Genre was invented as a marketing, but it is an important marketing tool for you to understand because your genre tells you who your audience is and that tells you what they expect. And if you are going to break their expectations in a negative way, they're not to like you.

You're going to lose.

They have and I talk about this all the time in my teachings, where I talk about readers have unknown expectations that they don't realize they are demanding you fill.


And if you do not fill those unknown expectations that they are demanding that you fill without them knowing that they're demanding, they will 100% leave you. They'll either not read you again or they'll leave you bad reviews or whatever.

So yeah.

It is the way it is.

It's just a part of it.

I guess I'll do one plug This book right here that I read a piece from is coming out. I know. When's your fourth book coming out?

My fourth book will be coming out this year. But you can get one, two and three. And of course, Magic four.


So this is the first you know, I've had some health issues. I've been out of the market for a long time. Basically, everything that I have other than my creative writing books are out of print. And magic ball, obviously, Magic ball is available, but this will be about me getting back into the market. But this book is going to drop in July.

If this is something that you liked hearing and would like to keep up with and know when we're rolling things out, we're going to be doing some free story connections and, you know, leader magnets and stuff like that. Head on over to Starving Writers Studio Dotcom and just join my mailing list. And then as we start marketing, which we're going to start hopefully in the next three or four weeks and we're doing a whole bunch of stuff and contests and giveaways and all sorts of crazy things.

I encourage you, if this is your thing, if you like, if you like what you heard. Same thing with series. If you're an American star in our studio actually has all of her books. We have them in our warehouse here so we can ship them. Obviously you can learn from Amazon as well, but I really wish you guys would stop giving Bezos money.

He's got plenty. Like, why does he need a dollar extra of my money? Give that dollar to the person that you are enjoying their creation. So all of Murray stuff are here. If you're in the States, this would be I would recommend that you get it from starving Writer studio.

But it is.

Online. They're signed. It started.

That's right. That's right. She she.

Sat around for an.

Entire day almost.

Just signing all the copies that we have in our warehouse. So I'm just throwing it out there. Obviously.

I'm here.

In the same town as the warehouse, so I just sign things when I need.


Now, but she's not quite as close. I highly recommend that you check that out. And that's the end of my commission fully.

I fully support all that. I think we should all buy all our books. Yes.

They're good stuff. And then.

You know, if you're into this.

This kind of.

If you're into epic fantasy or science fantasy or. Yeah.

Or well-written stories or well-told stories, you know, if that's your thing.

And that is a good place to end this episode and we'll see you for another one.


Good day to our esteemed listeners. I'm Marie Melanie and it has been a pleasure guiding you through the nuances of writing and worldbuilding. If our podcast has enriched your serial journey in any way, please consider liking and subscribing. Sharing our content with your peers is a powerful way to support our mission and ensure we continue to deliver insightful and valuable episodes.

Your engagement is greatly appreciated.

If today's topic sparked your interest, then just in Time World on YouTube is where you should be heading next. It's a channel dedicated to the art of fantasy worldbuilding infused with real world history and science.

As an experienced role player and fantasy author. I bring unique insights that will help you craft more immersive and believable fantasy worlds. From historical tidbits to practical writing advice. Just in time Worlds is a wealth of knowledge for any fantasy, creator or enthusiast.

Join us every Tuesday for new and exciting content.

if you are ready to take your writing to the next level and work with a group of highly motivated, dedicated writers who are all working to not only improve their writing, but improve your writing. Plus, you get to work with me on a weekly basis.

Then I'll encourage you to check out writer's room dot us. This is a website that I have created that I really wish I had 30 years ago. It's everything a writer needs to become a better writer. Not only do we do weekly critique sessions, both from other members as well as me,

we have daily writing sessions. I do want the classes Q&A.

We have activities. I do all sorts of learning exercises such as I do a quarterly writing contest and just tons and tons and tons of things.

So if you're really serious about your writing and you want to actually finish that novel and have a chance of it being published,

then I encourage you to head on over to the writer's room and join me there.

and is a special promotion for listeners of releasing your inner Dragon.

I'll go one step more if you would like to get 50% off for three months. Reach out to me. There's a million ways you can do that. You can do it through starting Writers Studio, Dotcom, Drake,

Any of my social media such as LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, X, whatever. Reach out to me. Say that you would like to check out the writers room for 50% off and I will send you a link that will allow you to do just that.

So hopefully you're ready to start getting serious about writing and I'll see you in the writers room.

Podcasts we love