One of the questions I’m commonly asked is how do you write dialogue? No question, dialogue between characters can be tricky. Each character has a unique voice that is distinct from others in the book.
Since I’ve never been particularly good at description, letting the characters tell the story is my favorite way to craft a novel.
Of course there has to be narration, ways to move the story forward and set the scene. A lot of writers simply have a different way of telling a tale, maybe through a single character’s actions and observations or just a majority of narrative. But if you want to move the book forward through dialog, here are a few helpful tricks.
First, enter the scene late and leave early. Readers don’t want to hear “How are you?” “I am fine.”
Second, once the characters start talking, let them talk—you can always delete or alter the conversation later. But the fun is in hearing what the characters have to say.
Third, something I’m careful about, try not to overwork unfinished sentences. “What do you mean you didn’t—“ Or “I don’t think you should—“ What? Readers can’t read minds. Yes, this is how people talk in real life, but your job is to make it sound like real conversation while it’s actually more fleshed out, easier to understand.
Fourth, be sure to use contractions to make the character’s speech sound more real. Unless you have a character who says things like “I cannot do that,” use “can’t” or “won’t,” or “don’t” or whatever.
So now that you know some of tricks, you just have to listen to your characters and get them talking in your head—which I think is at least partly determined by how you describe them.
Once I sat in front of the post office with the car windows rolled up and tried to hear the voice of every person walking out. It was amazing—no two voices sounded the same! A strange story but true.
So listen to the voices in your head. That’s my best advice. And just keep writing. It gets easier as you go along.
Bestselling author Kat Martin is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara where she majored in Anthropology and also studied History. Currently residing with her Western-author husband, L. J. Martin, in Missoula, Montana, Kat has written sixty eight Historical and Contemporary Romantic Suspense novels. More than sixteen million copies of her books are in print and she has been published in twenty foreign countries. Her last novel is BEYOND CONTROL, which will be released May 29th.
Victoria Bradford and her four-year old daughter are on the run from Tory’s abusive ex-fiancé. Seventy miles north of Dallas, the Iron River Ranch is pretty much nowhere, exactly what Josh Cain wanted when he came back from Afghanistan. Big skies, quiet nights, no trouble.
When Tory shows up with her adorable little girl, Josh realizes he is in for trouble of the most personal kind. But Josh has seen trouble before, and he doesn’t scare easy. Not when “accidents” start happening around the ranch. Not when Tory’s best friend is abducted. Not even when he realizes their troubles are only the tip of the iceberg.
To CELEBRATE the release of BEYOND CONTROL, enter Kat’s new contest for a chance to win a KINDLE FIRE 7″ Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB and a Kindle copy of AGAINST THE WIND, AGAINST THE FIRE and AGAINST THE LAW.
Special Contest runs from May 1, 2018 through June 30, 2018.
SPECIAL CONTEST: https://www.katmartin.com/beyond-control-giveaway/
Monthly Contests: https://www.katmartin.com/monthly-contest/
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