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Writers Tip #6: “Write good dialogue,” she said.

Writers Tip #6: “Write good dialogue,” she said.

I just got a message from an excited writer eager to tell me all about the novel she’s writing.  “My greatest fear was writing the dialogue,” she wrote. “I was afraid I couldn’t make it realistic enough. But I stumbled onto a secret. I’m hiding my digital recorder in the house so I can capture real talk and copy it!”

Um… uh-uh. 

See, the aim isn’t really to write real talk.  In real talk, we say such things as: 

“Hey, guess what! I just got back from the… what’s it called? Um… oh, I hate getting old!  That place where we had your brother’s birthday deal, remember?  Over by that apple place?  Anyhoo, I thought I saw Micky there.  So funny after what happened that other time.  Last year, you know… You were there. It was so hot and windy and that funny guy who sells the….” 

No, the aim is to give the illusion of real talk while you actually accomplish something important such as moving your story forward or revealing a character or showing an incident rather than simply telling about it.  The illusion of dialogue might say something like:

“Hey, I just got back from Gray’s Farm. I thought I saw Micky, but after what happened last year, it can’t be!”

Writing good dialogue is an art. (Okay, that dialogue isn’t so good, but you get the idea.)  If you write your dialogue well, it will add great strength to your work—non-fiction as well as fiction.

Kay Marshall Strom
Recent Releases:
  In the Presence of the Poor: Changing the Face of India
  The Call of Zulina – Grace in Africa Trilogy Book 1
  Second-Half Adventure
  Forgotten Girls: Stories of Hope and Courage
  The Voyage of Promise – Grace in Africa trilogy Book 2
Upcoming Releases:
  The Triumph of Grace – Grace in Africa trilogy Book 3 (Feb 2011)
  Faith: The Blessing of Ashish – Blessings in India trilogy Book 1 (Sept 2011)
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