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The Craft of Writing: Dialogue


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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Blog post Why Good Dialogue Is Like Champagne
Blog post Writing Dialogue That Speaks Volumes

Writing Dialogue That Speaks Volumes

Fiction is made up of two main structural elements: narrative and dialogue. Narrative is the description of what’s happening–the describing of characters, settings, moods and actions. Dialogue is either spoken or thought. * Spoken dialogue, often referred to as external dialogue (or verbal, active or impassive dialogue), is always easy to spot. Just look for […]

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