Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Stark Reflections on Writing and Publishing

Oct 8, 2020

In this episode Mark chats with Jeff Elkins, The Dialogue Doctor, about the importance of solid dialogue for characterization, moving a plot along, and creating a bestselling novel.

Prior to the interview, Mark shares shares comments from recent episodes, welcomes new Patron, Macy Dixon, offers a personal update, and says a word about this episode's sponsor...

You can learn more about how you can get your work distributed to retailers and library systems around the world at

During their conversation, Mark and Jeff talk about:

  • What good dialogue is going to do for your book
  • The fundamental way that two people connect with one another, which is usually through conversation
  • The reader engagement that comes for characters because of solid dialogue
  • How Jeff filled a gap in the writing craft realm by focusing on dialogue
  • Jeff's background writing conversation simulations and how that lead to his expertise in dialogue
  • The way a person changes the way they speak when in different moods, anxious situations, circumstances
  • Being intention with our dialogue when writing
  • Peter Parker's dialogue as a shy nerd and behind the mask of Spider-man
  • The concept of "putting the character in your mouth"
  • The term "mono-mouth" used to describe multiple characters speaking in the exact same voice (the writer)
  • Jeff's research on bestsellers and how many of them usually have less than four paragraphs between passages of dialogue
  • How both John Grisham novels and Pride and Prejudice both have about 70% dialogue in them
  • If your plot and the twists and turns are the bones, then dialogue is the muscle
  • The value of taking out the "summaries" in your fiction rather than SHOWING that scene
  • An example of a brilliant character reveal through dialogue in Toni Morrison's novel BELOVED
  • The free download authors can get at Jeff's website on the five biggest mistakes authors often make in dialogue
  • What you can get for signing up for Jeff's newsletter
  • The services that Jeff offers for authors
  • A new program/offering that Jeff is launching
  • Jeff's new podcast where he shares ongoing dialogue sessions, advice, and tips


After the interview, Mark shares an offer from Jeff (the ability to get a 1 hour $99 booking for $75 by mentioning the Stark Reflections Podcast), and Mark shares a few reflections about things Jeff made him think about.


Links of Interest:


Jeff Elkins writes stories with engaging and diverse characters that help people escape the stress of the real world. He has published eleven novels and hundreds of short stories and lives in Baltimore, Maryland with his wife and five kids. A graduate of Baylor University and Truett Seminary, Jeff has been writing dialogue simulation for several years and has recently adapted this knowledge, and his writing experience, into a fantastic, and much-needed service for authors called The Dialogue Doctor.


The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0