Say What?

Do you struggle with dialogue? There’s an easy fix. It is so very important that your characters speak to your readers. Some say there should be dialogue within the first two pages of a book, but it’s really up to the author and the nature of the book. I’ll say this: When I read a MS and there is a long period without any dialogue, I feel it. Yes, I feel it in my soul that something is missing. Your reader craves real interaction and sometimes narration doesn’t do the trick. So, let’s go back to the basics. Dialogue is back and forth communication between two or more speakers. Here are some rules on how to make your dialogue more believable.

1. No words
So much can be said through body language and silence. We are humans and sometimes we don’t always have the exact words at the tip of our tongue. We internalize. We react with facial expressions, we grunt. All of these are forms of communication. Use them organically.

2. iRobot
We aren’t robots. Therefore, your writing shouldn’t read stiff. If you’re gifted in writing and eloquently speak the Queen’s English, bravo to you. However, this is not how most people talk. We use contractions and slang. We quip and unleash snide remarks. We talk through our tears and slur our words. Release this type of truth in your dialogue.

3. Move Your Body
The other challenge I’ve noticed with some client manuscripts is that they don’t incorporate action with their dialogue. As humans, especially men, we engage in some type of activity while dialogue is occurring: riding in the car, cooking dinner, preparing for some event, on our way to and from, at the dinner table while scarfing down a burger. Include action. Other more subtle actions include: nervous twitching, scratching head, rubbing chin, wringing hands. Loving gestures made while speaking may include: swiping hair from face, pinching chin, rubbing arm, biting lip, licking lips. Include actions that tell us more about your characters’ personalities and readers will immediately relate.

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