3 Top Tips on Character Dialogue | A Guest Post by Loving Life in Wellies

Today sees something I haven’t had in a long time happen on my blog – a guest post! Everyone, please welcome Chelsea from Loving Life in Wellies to The Life of a Thinker!

I blog over at Loving Life in Wellies and here you’ll find the occasional post about book writing, as I happen to be writing one myself! Which brings me on to today’s blog for Liam. I’m talking about dialogue, and some of the tips that I’ve picked up so far. I’m no expert, so if you do have any tips please drop me a comment.

1. Quit the he said – she said

The he said – she said is a really easy trap to fall into and if I’m just sketching out a quick scene with dialogue then, I do fall into it because it’s time efficient! Of course it won’t make it into the final version.

Before
“See I told you I’d get them!” Tracey said to Brain.
“You’re kidding right? I don’t believe you!” Brain said to Tracey.
“Here!” Tracey handed an envelope to him.
“It’s probably empty.” Brian opened the envelope to find two tickets to Thailand and grinned at Tracey.
“See – I’ve hand friends in high places. Didn’t you know? Tracey laughed.

After
Notice that it’s very repetitive. The reader knows that there are two characters named Tracey and Brian, and they don’t need to be reminded all of the time.

“See I told you I’d get them!” Tracey said to Brian.
“You’re kidding right? I don’t believe you!
“Here!” She handed him an envelope.
“It’s probably empty…” opening the envelope, he found two tickets to Thailand. He grinned.
“See – I’ve friends in high places. Didn’t you know?

The same can be said for words such as: exclaimed, retorted and replied. They can be over used and 9/10 you’re stating the obvious by using them.

2. Add description to make it flow

Watch two people having a conversation. It’s very rare that they’ll stand completely and utterly still. Body language is a big giveaway when it comes to what’s really being said. So let’s write this unspoken language in.

“See I told you I’d get them!” Tracey waved a white envelope in front of Brian’s narrowing eyes.
“You’re kidding right?”His eyes fixated on the envelope.
Thrusting it into his hands, a self assured grin spread across her face. “Here – see for yourself.”
“It’s probably empty! “ His fingers traced the outline of the envelope. Carefully unpeeling the envelope, a grin appeared on his face, as him name was on one of them!
“See – I’ve friends in high places. Didn’t you know?” Flicking her hair she laughed.

3. Avoid too much description

If you’ve a book that contains a lot of dialogue then it’s wise to hold back on the description. By this, I mean avoid telling the reader every time a character has spoken whether they’ve: smiled, laughed, and blinked etc. It gets tiring. Readers will mentally fill in the detail so remember, less is more!

Chelsea Louise

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2 thoughts on “3 Top Tips on Character Dialogue | A Guest Post by Loving Life in Wellies

  1. Well said, Chelsea! I’ve noticed these trends in many books I read, and there is so much that can be said about a character’s state of mind by indicating the physical actions they’re taking at the time.

    Like

    • Absolutely. There are so many other things that can substitute “said” that can say even MORE about a character, such as the actions they are doing at the time, their feelings, etc.

      Like

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