Tag Archives: writer

Creating a thrilling read through dialogue and character

Dialogue and character series: 1st installment

What a thriller writer has to say about dialogue and character

By Mel Comley

Mel Comley

When Thea asked me do this article I thought, hmm… I’ll give it a go.

But when I got down to writing, I found it far harder than I’d anticipated.

I’m one of those writers who used to hate using dialogue but who now loves it. I have to say that I’d rather create a dialogue scene than a descriptive scene any day.

I think not only does it balance a book/novel out but also makes for a more interesting read.

At the beginning of my journey I was told that my writing consisted of too much tell and not enough show. ;-)

Now, I tend to use dialogue as a form of getting around this all too familiar issue.

But dialogue has a far greater importance in the whole story-telling scenario, it’s main job is to make  it is easy to differentiate between the characters. In real life we all speak differently so it’s equally important that as writers we make our characters do the same.

Yes, it gets harder the more books/novels you write, to try and create new characters who can easily be identified by what they say. But it’s an absolute must in our line of business.

As writers we all strive to make our books and our characters stand out from the rest. Having distinctive characters, using realistic and not stereotypical dialogue helps us to achieve these results, hopefully!

I spend hours playing around with a character before installing them in my books. I write down each character and an example of what each of them might say.

When I was learning about the art of writing I had a book full of different exercises. One of these exercises was to name all your characters and in the following column write down what each character would say for a certain item or room. For example: In the UK we have a tendency to use different words for the room in which we relax in after we’ve completed a hard day’s work, depending on what class we are. It can be known as a lounge (used by middle-class people) sitting room (usually used by the lower class.) Whereas in the good old days, the same room would have been known as a Parlour and was only really used for entertaining purposes on special occasions.

Take that one step further, during the use of dialogue you can also hint at the different dialects people use. An example of this is again using the UK terminology: A person speaking from in the extreme north of England would say ‘Away with ya,’ and they tend to call people ‘Pet’ all the time. But in the south we have a saying that people sound like country bumpkins and we tend to imagine them talking with a piece of straw hanging out of the mouths, saying things such as: ‘How’s you doin’, me luvly?’ ;-)

So for me there really is only one way to write a novel and that’s to write a character driven novel. We all need to see our characters come alive on the page and help create a stunning novel that thousands will read.

I receive numerous messages daily either via email or on Facebook from fans telling me they love the Lorne books. I refer to my thrillers as ‘The Justice’ series but it makes me happy knowing that I’ve done my job by creating a wonderful and distinctive character who is loved by many.


My bio.

I am a best-selling thriller writer who has started dabbling in different genres. I live in Northern France with my two crazy dogs who love to drag me round the village every morning. As a writer it’s the only form of exercise I get.

You can find out more about my books on my website: www.melcomleybooks.com

or my blogs

Follow me on twitter @melcom1

Or on Facebook.


If you liked this post, please do share.

Thea is the author of several novels that she considers left of mainstream. You can find her on BN, Kobo, Sony, Apple

Anomaly by Thea Atkinson

Is a book right for your message? guest post by @ajbarnett

Why Write A Book?

a guest post by  AJ Barnett

without reproach by AJ Barnett
Purchase Without Reproach

“Every author, however modest, keeps a most outrageous vanity chained like a madman in the padded cell of his breast.”

- Logan Pearsall Smith -

Message, What Message

So you have a story deep inside, and its bubbling to get out. You simply must put it across to people. You are passionate about it. You’re convinced there’s an audience waiting to read it, and you’re intent on writing a book

Wait! Is a book really the right vehicle for your message?

 Other Mediums

Will another medium be more suitable for your idea? Have you considered writing it as a short story, or an article? Or will it be better suited to a television documentary or radio play? Okay, I realise a book can serve as a prelude to one of these, but sometimes it’s better to aim for a different medium right from the outset, rather than try to wedge your grand idea into a book.

Why write a book? A book embraces between 50,000 and 250,000 words – a lot of time and effort. Not everyone can cope with writing so much on a subject – especially if they have no previous experience. The inspiration you believe will make a novel might actually only furnish sufficient words for a short story.

 In The Swim

There’s little to be said for embarking on a writing career with a 100,000 word book as a first project. It’s rather like swimming the English Channel when you’ve never dipped your toes in water. Sometimes it’s prudent to start with lesser undertakings. Small assignments allow you to acquire a feel for words and how to handle them before embarking on a larger project. Why not learn to swim a length before swimming a mile?

Okay, so a few paragraphs in a local church magazine might not sound impressive – but you’ll finish it faster, and you’re more likely to get it published than a full length book. It will certainly be in print quicker than a book would. Writing a short piece of work will give you most of the stimulus and satisfaction of writing a long one – and you will finish it quicker and lose less, if your work isn’t accepted. So, why write a book at such an early stage in your writing life?

If you later decide to move on to larger projects, you’ll be furnished with evidence of your published material. Publishers prefer publishable writers.

 Speculate to Accumulate.

College lecturers and researchers, accumulate status by publishing articles in academic journals. Poets work in much the same way. It’s unusual for poets to launch into publication in book form. Most poets begin by introducing poems in magazines and suchlike, and move onto anthologies before progressing to their own collections.

Do be circumspect and ask yourself why you want to write a book. Ask yourself whether you’re ready to write and sell a book, or whether you’d improve your chances by gaining experience, understanding, and respect, by writing on a smaller scale.

Read more posts from AJ Barnett on Tell Me A Story



Jenny is not related to Spanish artist, Juan Garcia. She has never heard of him, never met him, and certainly never been there before… So why does she vaguely recognize some of the rooms and smells?

It freaks her out when Juan bequeaths her the enormous villa in his Last Will and Testament… Especially when there is a painting of her in the entrance … and she is totally naked…

Without Reproach is romantic suspense, available from Amazon Kindle $2.99


Aside from Thea: I wrote a post about my motivation for one of my novels here. Feel free to check it out.

Epiracy and ebooks. Have you been hacked?

Thea’s Three Mashup

June 24

There was a lot of rumbling early this week about ebook piracy. Most notably, a good colleague and friend Mel Comley mentioned it in a group I belong to and started a frenzy of great discussion. It put me to thinking: Would I be upset if someone stole my work? Would I think, hey, now I’ve made it? Epiracy hasn’t much hurt JK Rowling, has it? If I get pirated, that must mean I’m popular.

I can afford to think these things because so far, I’ve not been pirated enmasse, and I’m quite sure I’d be furious if I found out I was…especially since my sales are not stellar. I’d REALLY be ticked if folks were d/ling my work in droves and I was getting 70% of 2.99 once a day. Grrr. Ok. Now my blood is sufficiently boiling. Grin.

The Mashup has some links on epiracy info. I thought it prudent to at least keep a tab in case I needed to research more in the future. (hope not.)

So: Thea’s Three (plus a bonus track today) are:

So: what are your thoughts on stealing ebooks? Reader to reader? Writer to Writer? Writer to Reader? Reader to Writer?

Thea’s 3 Mashup. :It’s all about me, baby @guineapig66 @booksandpals @siblehodge

June 17, 2011

First of all, I woke up in a frenzy this morning. Had a heap of things to do before I had to run off to work and do all those Friday errands that have spilled over from the last Friday when I didn’t get the errands done. So. I forgot the mashup.


Ha Ha! Joke’s on me cause I ended up finding 2 really great reviews today! Yippee! So In honor of the really generous folks who review us poor dejected indies, this one’s for you! (and me of course; it’s all about me.)

I really want you to go over and comment if you can, if you find the time, if you care at all about indies and their support system cause reviewers are part of it, baby. I don’t care if you read the review, but as writers, it’s nice to show any reviewer support. So without fanfare and excitement, here are my three:

  • Sibel Hodge is a stunning writer and she reviews too. She posted a review today for One Insular Tahiti. Thanks so much Sibel
  • Big Al is probably the best known and I really love his site. It’s full of great, insightful reviews of tons of books. You could drown in the reading list. He reviewed Anomaly a month or so ago

happy reading!

Thea’s 3 Mashup. :Take advice from Kristen Lamb and get er done

June 10, 2011

In honor of finishing Kristen Lamb’s book We are Not Alone I’m using her as a theme for my mashup this week. If you haven’t visited her blog and you are a writer trying to find ways to make sense of this whole social media thang, you really should subscribe. You should buy the book, in fact. (Just don’t take the advice of creating a MYSpace profile. She will tell you that after the book released MYSpace went ballistic.)

Speaking of Kristen Lamb, I’ve been working on advice from her blog to create posts that invite comment. Not working for me yet as I haven’t managed it successfully, but Vivienne Tuffnell’s blog is rich with comments. Each post she writes is full of people writing back to her and to each other. How does she do it? It’s worth the visit for investigation.

Mark Williams and Saffina desForges admittedly used Kristen’s (hope the first name’s ok, hun) advice to move into the top 10 – and one of them will correct me on the numbers I’m sure if it’s higher, and I think it is. They read Kristen’s book and applied the advice. They took off. I’m sure it has something to do with the writing, but readers have to find a writer first before it can become a sensation. These two even received mention on Kristen’s advice blog. I’m sending you to Mark Williams International because it’s wonderfully picture heavy and comment laden.

So how many of you have read and employed the advice in the book? Tell us about your successes and your failures. I’m listening.

Who is this Thea chick anyway? #thriller #fiction

my hero: Alice MunroOnce upon a time, I thought I was a litfic writer. Tough sell, I know. I’m no where the caliber of writer that Margaret Atwood is or my fav: Alice Munro. Jane Urquhart? No way. So I assumed I was just a bad litfic writer.

It took me a long time to figure out my preferred writing genre was psychological thriller. Once I understood that the label meant character driven stories where the ‘thrill’ just happens to be some pretty interesting mind play, I was confident in labelling myself. Characters resolve conflicts that are more mental than physical; more internal than external: some aspect of themselves is in conflict with another. If the conflict is character against character, it’s often in an arena where one is trying to destroy the other’s emotional state.

To me, that’s life, baby.

Here straight from wiki  is a good description of the genre I write in for you edification:

  • Psychological – Elements that are related to the mind or processes of the mind; they are mental rather than physical in nature. Sometimes the suspense comes from within one solitary character where characters must resolve conflicts with their own minds. Usually, this conflict is an effort to understand something that has happened to them. These conflicts are made more vivid with physical expressions of the conflict in the means of either physical manifestations, or physical torsions of the characters at play.
  • Thriller – Generally, thrillers focus on plot over character, and thus emphasize intense, physical action over the character’s psyche. Psychological thrillers tend to reverse this formula to a certain degree, emphasizing the characters just as much, if not more so, than the plot.
  • Psychological thriller – Characters are no longer reliant on physical strength to overcome their brutish enemies (which is often the case in typical action-thrillers), but rather are reliant on their mental resources, whether it be by battling wits with a formidable opponent or by battling for equilibrium in the character’s own mind. The suspense created by psychological thrillers often comes from two or more characters preying upon one another’s minds, either by playing deceptive games with the other or by merely trying to demolish the other’s mental state

What genre do you write in and where can we find your books?