For the short story reader. Updated every Monday.

The Short Form

How I Met My Wife

Tips on characterization from Robert Boswell's “How I Met My Wife”:

We all know that what characters say reveals who they are (although playwrights often argue that characters speak not to reveal themselves but to conceal themselves). Dialogue is a vast subject, and I’m going to look at just one aspect of it, one very simple dialogue strategy: Put one character in your story who says precisely what most people know not to say.

Imagine, for example, that upon entering a crowded room, your protagonist, who has just had sex with his wife, is met by a character who says, “Hey man, you smell like you just had sex with your wife.”