Dialogue is an integral part of any novel. Here are eight ways to upgrade your dialogue and avoid some newbie pitfalls.
- Every conversation should move the plot forward. No empty fillers, please.
- Pick a punctuation style and stick to it. If you are going to query a major publisher, you may want to use Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS). Regardless of what you choose to use, consistency is key. For example: if you use an en-dash when a character is cut off in a conversation, do it every time.
- People rarely use each others’ names in conversation after an initial greeting.
Here is an example of overuse:
“Eric, how has your summer been so far?”
“Well, Nora, it has been rather busy. I’m ready to slow down for a bit.”
“I totally understand, Eric. I have been busy too.”
Besides the fact that the dialogue is a yawn fest, people don’t naturally use one another’s names that much when talking. I makes your characters sound like game show hosts. “Yes, Vanna.” (more…)