Let’s face it, the way you write dialogue in your book can either make or break your story. It’s a vital quality that creates a key difference in whether or not the reader gets pulled in, fully immersed. Yet, this is truthfully one of the most difficult parts about writing. Time and again, I’ve heard writers discussing this as a major stumbling block when analyzing their reader reviews.
So, how can you overcome this obstacle and leave a positive, lasting impression on your readers?
1. Speak it out loud.
If the words don’t flow coming from your own lips, chances are, the readers won’t hear it right either. Close yourself off in a room where no one can hear you, and speak every line of dialogue you’ve written. Edit it over and over until it finally sounds natural.
2. Grab a partner and do some improvisation.
This can be a fun way to include your spouse, girlfriend/boyfriend, parents or children in your writing process. Set aside a few minutes and describe the scene you’re trying to create. Then, like an actor, start a conversation and just see where it leads. Improv a little, and jot notes. This will give you an idea of people’s natural reactions and will help you to create more believable characters.
3. Get out of your house and listen to people talk.
Many times, we authors will create characters that might have a different dialect than we have, or perhaps come from a different background than we do. If this is the case, it doesn’t matter much if the dialogue sounds natural or you or not, but it does matter if it’s a correct representation of the character.
This is where being social can come in handy. Go for a drive, grab some coffee, and just sit and listen to how people communicate - the slang they use, the accents they have, how they interact with each other. This will give you some reference when trying to develop your characters more fully. Then find a way to translate this on paper.
4. Don’t be afraid to break grammar rules.
We don’t all speak with perfect grammar. In fact, these days very few of us do. We use fragments, slang and contractions. We make up words, skip conjunctions and infer large parts of context. Don’t be afraid to do this in your writing as well. At least in the dialogue parts. It will make the sentences more believable and less of a stumbling block for your readers, while also imparting a great deal of style in your characters.
5. Read other books and take notes on how they set up conversations.
Sometimes, I’m simply at a loss as to how to portray a particular voice, accent or conversation. I can see how the scene is supposed to work, or hear the conversation in my head, but it’s just not translating well on paper. This is where reading other books really helps. If used as a learning tool, taking notes from other authors can help guide the process. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying to copy them. Copying is bad. Very bad. But rather use it as instruction to help break the creative block, and allow your own dialogue to flow better.
Guest Blogger Bio
Renee' Novelle is preceded by a long line of published family members, including Pulitzer Prize nominated author and Poet Laureate of Kentucky Jesse Stuart.
As a child, Novelle was already gaining recognition for several of her works, and in her formative years, she continued this trend by earning local awards for her short stories and poems.
Inspired to cultivate her talent, Novelle pursued freelance journalism and has found placement of 75 of her pieces in both online and print publications since 2008. Additionally, she has written multiple screenplays, and contributed her savvy, effective writing style to many non-profit and for profit organizations. She launched several blogs over the years, which garnered international attention.
In 2013, Novelle returned to her first love - fiction. Writing under the names Renee Novelle and R.S. Novelle, she has a publication schedule that includes psychological thrillers, suspense, paranormal fiction, contemporary women's fiction, chick lit, and new adult. Though she received her Bachelor's of Science in Communication, Summa Cum Laude, she considers herself a constant student of the written word. She's an avid reader, an enthusiastic quote poster, and rarely takes "no" as a final answer. She has an unhealthy obsession for theater, dance, music and art, and strongly believes that wine is simultaneously the beginning of, and resolution to, all of life's problems. She believes in following dreams, and that in the end, you always end up where you meant to be.
Amazon Author Central: https://www.amazon.com/author/rsnovelle