I actually did a podcast for you this week, but due to technical difficulties, you will not be hearing the sound of my voice.
The thing I really wanted you to take away from that podcast began with my noticing my magnifying glass on the desk. Don't ask me how it got there. Must be gremlins. Anyway, the idea is this, if you are having difficulty with a certain scene in your story, or book, or play, and you just can't make it work - take it out of your piece and look at it under your own magnifying glass. Don't just see the words, see the rhythm, see the people speaking the words. Would they speak this way outside of that scene? Is there something specific about that scene to make them speak that way? Does the scene itself speak, cry, laugh - emote? Even if you are talking about ten or fifteen words, even less, getting them absolutely right can be the key to all of the scenes leading up to and following it.
I bring this up because I recently had such a scene. I am struggling a bit with keeping out of the heads of my strong secondary characters. One of those strong characters was facing down the main character over who knew what, and the secondary character was shown up. I got stuck on ONE word --shamefacedly. Yes, it's really a word. That was my dialogue tag for the poor man and it did nothing to capture what was happening to the secondary character upon being bested by his new rival. So, I polled a few men I knew (not being one myself) about how they would feel and what physical reactions they might have to the embarrassment. Three drafts later, it was perfect. Now, the whole scene makes more sense and the other characters can play off of those two.
That's it for now. Next week - podcast? Who knows?