How to use dialogue to move your story forward

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Dialogue is one of the things your readers will enjoy about your book. That’s because two or more people telling the story is easier to read than a boring narration that does the same thing.

Use dialogue to tell your story

Give your readers the story via the characters. Let the characters speak for themselves to tell your readers what’s going on.

Some examples:

“I didn’t go to the store last night because my car broke down on the side of the road.”

Or

“I saw your boss hit on your wife last night.”

This is telling information to your reader but not in narrative voice but in the fun, humanistic voice of your character. Doesn’t that sound a lot better than:

Sam ended up not going to the store last night because he was having some engine trouble and had to pull over to the side of the road.

Or

Justin runs out of the office shaking his head. He couldn’t believe he saw his friend’s boss hitting on his friend’s wife.

The point of using dialogue to tell your story is to show the emotion of the character, see their voice and their mood and to also move the story along. Dialogue story moving will push your story forward with all the given benefits.

Show Don’t Tell

  • Let your dialogue show the mood of your characters

If your character is saying something that’s really important to them you want to be sure his words match his emotion.

Example: “I freakin’ hate this stupid house!” Alicia says to her mom before storming off.

You can see the emotion the character feels for the house without saying Alicia hates the house. The dialogue speaks for itself.

  • Use strong verbs and adjectives

 

Words that add detailed images that your reader can see in their minds such as: snatched, choked, grinned, threw, took, pinched, pretend, screamed, etc.

 

Example: “Mom, I just got suspended from school because I was only pretending to listen to the teacher talk and she caught me pinching Sally’s arm in class.”

 

Can’t you picture a kid teasing another kid by pinching them? Can’t you imagine the student only pretending to listen to their teacher? And this dialogue tells the story without narration.

 

  • Act like you’re talking to a friend

 

You want your dialogue to sound realistic to your readers so if you’re having a hard time, try pretending like you’re writing to a friend. But using your character’s voice.

 

What would you say to your friend if you had something to tell them? How would you say it? What words would you use?

Remember: Dialogue is an ongoing skill and the more characters you create the more it feels like you’re starting from scratch to get their dialogue down pack.

But keep writing dialogue and let your characters’ voice be heard.

I thank you for taking the time to read this article on dialogue. Please feel free to share what you think of dialogue story moving in the comments.

Happy Writing,

Shaquanda

Should “Slang” Be In Your Novel?

What is slang?

Slang is something that you would say to your best friend. It’s a way of talking that gets your message across quicker and sometimes even ‘cooler’.  Some slang words or phrases include but aren’t limited to:

Finna– about to

Ain’t– isn’t

Gonna– going to

Bro– brother, friend

Cuz– cousin, because

Dope– cool

What’s up– how are you, can also be used as an adjective meaning cool. (ex. That’s what’s up)

Should you have it in your novel?

Okay so now that you have a better idea of what slang is do you think it should be in your writing?

If you are writing a paper for class or for a presentation for your boss then of course you wouldn’t want slang to be inside those pages. But what about your novel?

What if you have a character that speak fluent slang and you want that to be known to your readers? In this case using slang could be appropriate.

But to really decide when or if to use slang you should look at the pros and cons.

What ‘Slang’ brings to your story:

As I mentioned above, slang is something you use verbally when you’re talking to someone you know and are comfortable with. You wouldn’t use slang with a stranger or a new acquaintance or your boss.

So do you think this applies to your characters in their world?

By adding slang to your novel you will be able to create a feeling of connection between character to character and possibly character to reader. You don’t want the character to sound so former that your reader thinks the character is talking to an important official all the time.

One downfall of slang would be sounding too laid back and informal that your reader would have trouble understanding the words your character uses.

So if you use slang too much your readers might get annoyed or confused and neither of that is a good thing.

Your story shouldn’t be too formal but it shouldn’t be too informal and annoying either. A balance of both should keep your readers content.

So what are your thoughts about writing in slang?

I love hearing what you think about writing and what technique you decide to use so please take a moment to share your thoughts about slang in the comments.

Do you know someone who writes in slang?

If you know someone who writes in slang and think they’re find this article useful please share!

Thanks for reading and keep writing,

Shaquanda

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