Tag Archives: dialogue

Practical Prompt 5/25/16: Dialogue Part 1

WriteOwls

WriteOwls

For our May “Learn to Write by Reading” challenge, we invited you to examine books that had great dialogue. Now, apply what you learned to your own manuscript.

Pick a scene from your story with a lot of dialogue. Copy and paste it into a new document and remove all the dialogue tags. Can you distinguish one character from the next? Does each character have a unique voice, or do they all sound like the same person?

If your characters sound too similar, stop and consider how each character’s story–where they’re from, how old they are, what their level of education is–might influence their speech. Then go back to the book you read for this month’s challenge and see how the author gave those characters their distinctive voices. Can you use similar techniques in your story?

Practical Prompt 8–5-15

WriteOwls

WriteOwls

You finally have a moment to write, but what to do with your limited time? Here’s a practical prompt to kickstart the story you’re working on right now. The clock is ticking, people. Start writing.

Does your dialogue suffer from white room syndrome? You know, where disembodied voices speak to each other in an empty white space? Sometimes it’s easy to write the words of a conversation, but we forget to place them in context. The characters are standing (or sitting, or reclining) in a place, and they have bodies that move (or itch, or ache, or bounce with energy) and emotions that are affected by the words they say and hear. Readers want the whole package, so when you sit down to write, incorporate the characters’ reactions and physical experiences along with their words.

Practical Prompt 7-8-15

WriteOwls

WriteOwls

You finally have a moment to write, but what to do with your limited time? Here’s a practical prompt to kickstart the story you’re working on right now. The clock is ticking, people. Start writing.

For the past two weeks, we’ve been encouraging you to work on a difficult scene from your manuscript. (See posts on June 24 and July 1.) Congratulations for getting some words on the page! Now it’s time to take that rough scene and polish it. Go back through the scene and look for places to add dialogue, character observations, introspection and physical reactions from your characters.

Practical Prompt 5-6-15

WriteOwls

WriteOwls

You finally have a moment to write, but what to do with your limited time? Here’s a practical prompt to kickstart the story you’re working on right now. The clock is ticking, people. Start writing.

In real life, people often engage in idle chit-chat, but no reader wants to sift through pages of pointless conversation. Revisit your dialogue to ensure that every word develops character or moves the plot forward. Remove anything that doesn’t.

Practical Prompt 4-22-15

WriteOwls

WriteOwls

You finally have a moment to write, but what to do with your limited time? Here’s a practical prompt to kickstart the story you’re working on right now. The clock is ticking, people. Start writing.

When characters speak, they say things. They don’t “smile” them or “grin” them. Said is best, but yelled, shouted or cried are appropriate in moderation. Go through your novel to make sure your dialogue isn’t attributed to gestures.