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Catherine’s 3 C’s for Compelling Conversation


Dialogue Tips from Catherine Mann


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.


Realism vs. Representation: Real conversation may last 10 minutes, but book form will be shorter.

Deflating Bloated Dialogue: Sweep for unnecessary words.

Tags, Tags, Tags: Watch for adverbs on said-ism tags and opt for snappy action tags when possible.


Vary Rhythm: Vary sentence lengths.

Power of Silence: Endless pages of dialogue can leave the reader adrift, without a sense of place or emotions.

Read Aloud: Test dialogue by reading aloud to weed out stilted language choices.


Catherine Mann
National best-selling author Catherine Mann blasted onto the scene five years ago and already has over a million books in print in multiple languages. Winner of both the prestigious RITA Award and the Bookseller's Best Award, she has spent the past nineteen years following her military flyboy husband around the country with their four children in tow, currently landing in the Florida panhandle. Prior to publication, she received her Master's Degree in Theater and worked as a theater school director. Catherine enjoys hearing from readers and chatting on her website message board -- thanks to the wonders of wireless Internet that allows her to cyber-network with her laptop by the ocean! You can visit her at www.CatherineMann.com

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