Yak, Yak, Yak

February 24, 2006 | It's All About Writing

“Hi, Liz. How are you today?”
“Well hi, David. I’m fine. How are you?”
“I’m just fine. It’s really good to see you.”
“Likewise. What’s new?”

HELLO! Time to wake up. I know you’re bored beyond relief with that less than scintillating dialogue, but the example was necessary. Why? To show you what kind of dialogue will irk your readers to book burning. As an aside, the only good thing about that above example is the punctuation is correct.

Yes, people really do talk mundane. It’s called idle chitchat and we use it all the time. As a writer you’d better not shovel that kind of crappy dialogue down your reader’s throat or the only sound you’ll hear is the toilet flushing away any future sales.

Your dialogue must;

• Push your story along
• Give insight to your characters
• Be active

You owe your reader a good story. They expect it. They deserve it. You had better deliver.

How do you write exciting dialogue? Good question and there’s no definitive answer. Following are some clues to help you.

Look at your manuscript. Read the dialogue out loud. Check for the following;

• Does each character speak in a specific voice? Or do they all sound alike?
• Are you conversations pertinent to what’s happening at the time? To the progress of the story?
• Does your dialogue carry emotion?
• Does your dialogue make the reader want to skim and go onto the next section or read every word?

Read your written dialogue out loud. Listen to the sound and rhythm of the sentences. Correct or delete as the case may require. Next, and this is the important part, have someone else read the same passages aloud without knowing what’s happening before and after. Hearing your words from another person will help you pull it together and notice the weak spots.

If you’re writing erotica, please remember couples think and talk during sex. Even if one of your characters is shy, can’t say what they’re feeling, they are thinking. Turn their thoughts into short sentences. It will add more depth to your character and meaning to your story.

Tuesday we’ll work on Tighten the Writing and Syntax. Until then, Happy Writing,

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4 Responses to “Yak, Yak, Yak”

  1. For The Trees Says:

    “Um, is this Sloane?”
    “Yes it is. Who’s calling?”
    “Um, this is Forrest. I, um, well, I think I need some dialogue help. If you have time, that is. I mean, I don’t know if my dialogue’s any good. Can you help me out, here?”
    “Forrest who?”

  2. Maya Reynolds Says:

    The hardest thing about dialogue for me is to give each character his/her own voice. I’ve learned to give them small individuals quirks. I have one character right now who never uses contractions. EVER. His dialogue jumps out at me now.

    Great blog, Sloane.

  3. Yasmine Says:

    Syntax, huh? I heard it was unconstitutional. Yuk, yuk. I’ll be back – Tuesday.

  4. Sloane Says:

    Forrest, you’re hysterical and can send me an email anytime you need some help. I’ll try but remember, I don’t know much about this wonderful industry we’re addicted too.

    Maya, I agree! That’s one reason why I base all my stories in Europe. Much easier to define the hero and heroine.

    Yasmine, unconstitutional? Well, my little CP, we’ll just see…