Hello Nights of Passion Readers,
I’m off getting hitched, so please welcome my second guest blogger, romantic suspense and paranormal romance author A.J. Norris! See you all in a few weeks.
A.J. Norris is a romantic suspense and paranormal romance novelist. She began writing as a way to dim down the voices inside her head. She enjoys being able to get inside someone else’s head, even a fictional one, and see what they see. Watching how her characters deal with difficult situations or squirm with the uncomfortable ones makes the hard work of writing all worth it. She is a movie buff, especially book adaptations, loves watching her son play baseball and communing with other writers. She lives with her family who are extremely tolerant (at least most of the time) of all her late nights behind the computer.
Dialogue Writing Tips
Writing good dialogue is often tricky. Stilted unnatural sounding dialogue can ruin an otherwise fantastic story. Here is a list of some dialogue writing tips I’ve picked up along my writing journey. This list is by no means all-inclusive. They are just some of the things I try to keep in mind when writing. Please comment if you have any other helpful tips, I’m always open to suggestions.
- Always read dialogue out loud. I cannot stress this enough. Dialogue should feel natural and never forced or stilted. In others words, keep it conversational.
- Don’t use dialogue to spoon feed (info dump) information to the reader. Instead, show them with action. In other words, don’t give unsolicited information to your characters from one another. It not only slows the pacing but is a form of telling rather than showing.
- There are some writing experts that will tell you not to use ellipses in dialogue. However, I find them useful to show pauses in speech, interruptions, words trailing off, to indicate a character is going to be droning on and on, or for emphasis on a particular word or phrase. You may also use an ‘em’ dash to show the character was cut off mid-sentence.
- Use italics to emphasize a word.
Example using several of the tips taken from one of my books, Her Black Wings:
“I must have you. You’ll be my queen. Anything you want I shall give you.”
Anything? Really? She wanted to believe him. It.
“What are you?”
A low chuckle rumbled up from his gut. “I am everything,” he proclaimed.
“But what are you?”
She crinkled her brow. “What does that mean?”
“What does it sound like?”
He pulled his head back slightly. “Maybe.”
5. It’s not necessary to write dialogue using complete sentences all the time, as people often don’t speak in complete sentences. They sometimes cut each other off and answer questions with another question.
6. Don’t make your characters too polite. It’s unnatural for characters to be super nice and always listen and let others finish their sentences.
7. Use exclamation points sparingly. Generally, you won’t have to tell people the person is yelling with punctuation, the reader will be able to infer that through what’s happening in the scene or what is being said.
8. If the reader is clear on who the speaker is, it’s not necessary to use dialogue tags.
9. Read it out loud. Did I mention that yet?
10. Try to limit the narrative in between a character asking a question and another character’s response. Otherwise, the reader may forget the question before they get to the answer and get confused.
A.J. Norris’s books:
Her Black Wings, Book one of the Dark Amulet Series
Tattoo Killer, releasing October 18, 2016
Hunting Witch Hazel: Now available
Threat of Raine: 2016
Rosemary for Remembrance: 2016