Dialogue tips for Writing your Story

The beginnings of writing dialogue can be daunting, to capture many perspectives and make each one unique isn’t easy. Here are a few tips every writer needs to know when writing dialogue. Personally, dialogue falls into focus post-second draft. Having a good idea of what they say, loosely, then focusing intently on dialogue when your plots wrapped up. Working in layers from the big picture to the minor details was always the best course of action for me. That goes for any project!

Make your Characters speak Differently

Have you ever read something where the characters sound like the same person? Yeah, it’s difficult get past when your Russian character reads like an Mid-west American accent. It takes practice to nail the way someone speaks. If you have difficulty with making dialogue different, then focusing on mannerisms can help a lot. If that doesn’t help, then going back to the drawing board might be an option.

Getting to know your characters inside and out will keep you from getting hung up on the little things and will make the writing process a lot smoother.

Exposition

Yeah, there’s situations in your dialogue where you might want to drop a paragraph of information to establish characters, the world, how it all works, etc. I’m telling you now, don’t! There are other ways to convey information by having your characters ‘do‘ instead of ‘listen’. I know some of you might be worried about confusing your readers. Don’t worry, readers are smarter than you think! They don’t need info dumps to baby them. A little mystery can push the narrative, so keep your readers asking questions.

Small Talk

“Hi, how are you?” “I’m fine… you?” “Not to bad, like your new coat.”

This example of small talk is something you never want in you novel. Yes, its relatable, we all have small talk to awkwardly fill the silence when were not completely comfortable. Yet it lacks compelling friction and make your characters feel bland. You want to relate to the reader with more compelling traits in speech. Getting right to the words that push the plot and build character even. Unless small talk is a defining character trait/ moment and has relevance in your story, leave it out!

Read out Loud!

I can’t tell you the amount of editing you can accomplish on your own, when reading the dialogue out loud. We can have tendencies to veer off our sentence flow when constantly rewording or rephrasing things to keep characters true to form. After finishing a chapter, its best to read over it out loud and fix any hang ups that could give you high school English teacher an aneurysm. Just think how people actually talk and capture that as best as you can.

Doing this for your second draft will keep your editors happier if you didn’t. Cutting cost and heart break when the dialogue ruins the readers experience, because of the convoluted sentence structure.

Identifying Tags

When placing tags in your dialogue, it’s easy to settle on ‘he said, she said’ tags, ultimately making the conversation come off very stale.

In stead of following the ‘he said, she said’ formula, opt for variance to carry the tone. Using words like ‘she shouted, he lamented’ or ‘she stammered off, eventually barring silent and skiddish.” These sort of variances add real world dynamics to who these characters are and make them a ton more relatable. Implying body language speaks volumes about the tone of a scene if you do it right.

You could even get away with leaving the tags out all together, Especially when you want to keep your dialogue quick and snappy. The use of dialogue structure can aid you when using tags just becomes over-barring. It can slow down the pace of your intended scene.

Just keep in mind that a new person speaks every-time you indent another line of dialogue. There are exceptions to this, when two ‘and it you want to get weird, three’ characters finish an illustrated though in a sentence. For example: When someone interrupts another speaker.

I hope you found this information useful, Keep writing and check out my other blogs for helpful information!

5 Tips on Getting Unstuck on your Novel

frustrated

There are moments in your writing when you look at the voided white page and you just don’t know what to put down. Nothing comes up and it gets very discouraging whether you should be doing this at all. Writer’s block catch’s us, there are ways past it. I’m here to give you 5 simple tips to get you back on track and finishing that chapter you so desperately need to close out.

1. Walk Away

Now, it’s not as simple as that, as you all know. To walk away you have to have intentions of coming back. Do something that can pull your brain out of the gutter. We have to exclude things that will wrap you up for the rest of the day and push your writing to the next. We all have one thing that can relax our mind enough to let the ideas come through, whether it be running, gardening, even a simple shower. All thing we can walk away and do and come back with reasonable freshness. The key, if not over-stated, is that you have to come back after you have walked away.

2. Re-read your Chapter

Now you think this would be a common sense tactic, but in the means of writing your first draft, going back when your stuck can be helpful. Minimal bits of editing and problem solving can be enough to jump start the next step in your plot. It’s happened to me many times when I just go over it again, by the time i reach end point, I see just a little more of the story going forward.

3. Outline per Chapter

Some writers prefer to be lead by the nose with their writing, maybe they of a good sense of inner-structure to propel the plot. We all get stuck at some point in time. It’s a good idea to get another sheet of paper and write out actions and goals with the chapter. Note all thing things you want this particular chapter to achieve and what is the most interesting way you can do that. Are you building character but your inserting plot driving content that off-sets the pacing? Perhaps the your writing the climax, but your introducing more characters. All of these styles, of course, have exceptions. With that in mind, the lack of structure and pacing could cause you to hit a wall.

4. Take your Characters out for Coffee

Maybe the problem doesn’t lie in the plot, but in the lack of character knowledge. It’s common to be face with this situation in your story, when you have no idea how your characters should act. Meaning its time to start adding dimensions to them.

One way is to take those characters out for coffee. just yourself, your character and a table between you. What would they say, would they even drink coffee? How would they answer your questions? Would they be hostile toward you or friendly.

It doesn’t have to be coffee either, anything that you personally like to do when getting to know someone is good. Maybe tennis, would they suck at it? going to a bar! would they tip? everything that you do to learn about your characters doesn’t necessary have to make it in your writing. It’s more personal reference for you on making decision in line with character personalities.

5. Change the POV

Now, this doesn’t mean to go 1st person if your going 3rd person. Nor does mean to add an extra POV to your chapter. When stuck staring at the page, view the scene from another character can drastically put things in motion. Maybe you have a minor character involved in the scene. They might play a small part and have little to do with the plot, but account from their POV and decisions could create enough prospective that it can slingshot action where you didn’t have it before.

There are no rules saying that it has to be a character of sorts. Someone that’s even living and breathing doesn’t have to qualify. Get creative and take the POV of the tea kettle on the stove, That breezy crimson curtain where the window is open. or even morsel ciabatta left on an empty plate after lunch. Push the POV farther to better understand the scene, giving it depth, finding the tone.

Last Thoughts

There are many ways to tackle the dreaded white page. Nothing is set in stone when it comes to the create process, your create process. developing your own way of doing things is just as important as taking note on how other authors do theirs. We’re all in this together and it’s not a competition. Discover what you box is for you and then re-discover what the outside, of said box, looks like! you can do it! I know you can 🙂

Shine On!