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The Craft of Writing

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Avoid Creative Dialogue Tag Syndrome

“Just be like that,” she pouted. “Oh, come on,” he groaned. “Not this again.” “You don’t love me,” she replied. “Right,” he snarled. “That’s why I bought you an eight hundred dollar diamond.” “Here,” she sobbed. “Just take it back. Take it.” Okay, what’s wrong with our sample above (other than being melodramatic)? It’s an […]

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Breathing Life into Dialogue

Have you ever read a court transcript? It accurately gives a word-by-word report of exactly what is said. But it is interesting? Uh-uh. If we wrote verbatim the way we talk, our readers would execute us at dawn (or maybe earlier). So what do we do to create “natural” dialogue? First, we must listen to […]

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Catherine’s 3 C’s for Compelling Conversation

CATHERINE’S 3 C’S FOR COMPELLING CONVERSATION: Dialogue Tips from Catherine Mann Character: Age/Jargon: Make dialogue age appropriate Idiosyncrasies: Give characters words, phrases, even curses, specific to their personalities Dialects: Use sparingly, choosing a couple of regional adjustments to give flavor. Male/Female Distinctions: Men tend to talk in shorter sentences, fewer superlatives. Compress: Realism vs. Representation: […]

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