Eavesdrop Your Way To Better Dialogue

Ideally, dialogue in fiction is supposed to be a representation of how people actually speak. (Extracting the polite greetings and chitchat and such, unless that chitchat reveals story or character.) So how better to learn the way people actually speak than listen to them conversing with one another?

Before I get arrested as an accessory to violation of privacy, I’m not saying that you should put your ear up to walls (unless something particularly juicy is going on and you stand to make a few bucks selling the story to the tabloids) or hang out outside people’s domiciles with a shotgun mic. I’m talking about a little public eavesdropping. Don’t think you can pull it off without blushing, staring, urinary incontinence, or otherwise giving yourself away? Try some of my favorite Harriet The Spy eavesdropping tips: Continue reading “Eavesdrop Your Way To Better Dialogue”

Building Character

My writing is very character based. Character development is more important to me than any other aspect of writing…commas included. Now, to be fair, this is the way I have always written. I don’t know why. Psychology is far more interesting to me than crazy plot twists or unicorns. My novel, Joe Café, has been described many ways. People ask me what it’s about frequently, and I can never find a good answer. It’s about people. Sure, there’s a plot and murder and sex and fishing and fist-fights, but it’s really just about people. People who happen to do stuff. Interesting stuff.

Continue reading “Building Character”

“Ed’s Casual Friday!” he said.

Holy Hand Grenades, you mean my second “Casual Friday” post is slated for Friday the 13th? Geeze, that seems like the kind of thing I should have cleverly incorporated into a topic…if I had looked at a calendar before I actually wrote the post. So let us pretend I did. In honor of Friday the 13th, my thoughts on something really scary: Dialogue Tags! (cue thunderstorm noises)

DialogueFirst off, I should say that what follows is of course my opinion. I’m not trying to tell anybody else how to write, and yes, our individual literary foibles may indeed be part of what gives each of us our own “style.” However, believe me when I say that there are certain things that are going to look like mistakes to a large number of readers, even if a writer is doing them on purpose. James Joyce made up grammatical and narrative rules as he went along, and some people think he’s a genius for doing so. He’s also rarely read nowadays outside of Lit grad courses. Just saying. Continue reading ““Ed’s Casual Friday!” he said.”