How to Write Better Dialogue

file0001934509658Last week, Big Al treated us to his vast experience on what not to do with dialogue and dialogue tags. That got me all excited to talk about one of my favorite topics: how to write better dialogue. Here are just a few tips:

1. Get a stronger handle on how people talk to each other. This is your best tool in your dialogue toolbox. Dialogue isn’t an exact replica of human speech. We’d have to contend with a lot of verbal tics and repetition if it were. But spending some time listening will improve your ear. I like to do that by eavesdropping on conversations. Legally, of course. Listening will also help you learn to craft dialogue that will differentiate one character from another. Continue reading “How to Write Better Dialogue”

“Dialogue with Me,” He spouted

Dialogue with meOne night over gruel the minions were kicking around possible subjects we could write about and someone suggested a post on dialogue. (I don’t remember who as I was busy knocking gruel thief Rich Meyer’s spoon away from my bowl. How I still manage to gain weight around here, I have no idea.) Anyway, I said that I couldn’t do a post on how to write dialogue. The amount I’ve written is roughly equivalent to the number of words in the lyrics to Tequila. But I thought I was more than capable of writing a post on how not to write dialogue. Or at least one telling you about some of the problems I’ve seen made in the indie books I’ve read. Here are three to look out for in the dialogue you write. Continue reading ““Dialogue with Me,” He spouted”

Do You Trust Your Readers?

Must have made a wrong turn at that last interjection…

When I learned to drive as a teen (yes, they had cars back then, shut up), one of the more puzzling statements in my DMV-supplied manual was: “Passing is a cooperative venture.” This didn’t make sense until I was in a situation where a guy in front of me kept speeding up to avoid my attempts to pass him. I don’t know what his problem was, maybe a little too much testosterone in the bloodstream, but that’s when I realized that the act of passing is a team sport. I have to speed up, and in a legal, safe place, he has to let me pass him. Continue reading “Do You Trust Your Readers?”