Hey ladies and gents! Please welcome, debut author of Expectations and its sequel, What Money Can’t Buy published by Lazy Day Publishing to All About Writing. She stopped in to talk about dialogue, and making it sound more natural in your writing. Take it away, Liz.
Writing Natural Dialogue
by Liz Borino
In my day to day life, I talk a lot. Or I would, if I didn’t spend so much time by myself. Therefore, when I write my fiction, it’s riddled with dialogue. It’s important for me to make this as natural and realistic as possible. Any author can benefit from improving their dialogue use. Here’s why:
- Good dialogue enhances a story. It shows the emotions your character goes through during a given scene. Being able to accomplish this through the words a character uses cuts down on those dreaded adverbs. Below is a few lines from a scene in What Money Can’t Buy, the sequel to Expectations. You’ll see there’s no confusion on the emotions the characters are feeling.
“What the hell happened to you?” Aiden sat up on the couch and turned off the television.
Matt put his hands up, “Where. Is. Chris?”
Chris walked out of the kitchen before Aiden could answer. “Jesus Christ.”
“Yeah, let’s talk about what happened today. Because you know what? I missed something huge.” Matt rubbed his arms and watched Chris and Aiden exchange a look. “No, no secrets. I have a right to know what’s going on.”
- Dialogue is also an effective way to give information without exposition. In the following excerpt from Expectations, Aiden reveals a few things about himself, he’s bi, dated an older woman, and kept his private life private until he and Chris began dating.
“One of the designers we’ll be working with is my ex.” Aiden said tentatively to gauge Chris’s reaction.
“Man or woman?”
“Woman, quite a bit older then me.”
“What’s quite a bit?” Chris asked.
“When we dated I was 18 and she was turning 45.”
“Jesus Christ!” Chris practically screamed and then quickly lowered his voice. “What’d you two possibly have in common?”
Great sex. Aiden thought, blushing. “Oh, we found things to talk about.”
So, what’s the best way to accomplish strong dialogue? I don’t know, but I can tell you what works for me.
- Know your characters. Every word they say, every thought they have has to make sense for them. Factor in things like education level, family life, past experiences, and religious belief. A college educated man is going to speak very differently than one who stopped going to school after eighth grade. Perhaps if your character is very religious, they’ll be less likely to use profanity.
- Make a habit of listening to conversations around you. You’re likely to notice one person dominates most of them. It can switch, but usually one person is more passionate about a given topic than the other person is. It should be like this in writing too.
- Read your dialogue aloud. If it seems off, it probably is. Most people use contractions in informal speech, something else to keep in mind when composing it for your characters. If you decide not to use contractions, make it deliberate. Use it make a point.
Finally, have fun with writing dialogue. It’s a great way to introduce the world to your characters, allowing them to show their story, as opposed to you telling it.
Liz Borino is the debut author of Expectations and its sequel, What Money Can’t Buy published by Lazy Day. Throughout her education, including a Bachelor’s Degree from Hofstra University, she’s kept her stories to herself, but this only child is all grown up and wants to share them with the world. Her roots are in Bethlehem, Pa, but she loves to experience new cultures. As fun as that is, Liz likes nothing better than curling up at home with a good book or her work in progress.
Expectations depicts the struggle between what we desire for ourselves and our familial obligations. The struggle is personified by Chris and Matt Taylor, identical twins, who are trying to win their overbearing father’s approval and acquire their trust funds. Love, money, and desire collide as Matt and Chris decide what’s really important to them. Amazon: http://bit.ly/e7mwDjB&N:
What Money Can’t Buy:
What Money Can’t Buy, the sequel to Expectations, finds the two couples, Chris and Aiden and Matt and Carley, eagerly anticipating parenthood. However, their personal struggles continue. Though Matt overcame his dependency on alcohol, new temptations present themselves. And with Carley on bed rest, these temptations put a greater strain on their relationship. Chris continues to deal with issues regarding his father. These issues increase with greater proximity. When tragedy strikes, the best and worst in everyone is revealed. Can they stick together, or will their reactions tear them apart? B&N http://bit.ly/lzDLqY and Amazon: