Good morning, readers! Today, I am VERY happy and excited to welcome guest and fellow author, Lynda Bailey! :)
Here's a little background on Lynda: "I’ve always loved stories, especially romances. For me the only thing better than reading a romance is writing one. That and drinking red wine while eating dark chocolate. My manuscripts have been finalists in major writing contests, including the 2010 RWA Golden Heart®.
I live in Reno with my husband of thirty years and our two pampered pooches."
Linda wrote Battle Born Love which I read & reviewed last week. Again, I definitely recommend you get your hands on it! ;)
So, without further ado, here is Ms. Bailey!
Thanks so much, Lauren, for letting me hang out today!
So, we’re talking about dialogue. In my humble opinion, dialogue is an intricate part of storytelling—of getting the reader into the story— because it’s an extension of the characters’ personalities. Dialogue isn’t something the reader should ever have to think about. It should just…be. It should be an even flow, a give and take of conversation. If the dialogue reads stilted or forced, the reader is probably not going to hang very long with the book.
The first rule to writing believable dialogue is to make sure it jives with whatever time period you’re using in the story. If you’re writing a Regency story or a Civil War saga featuring slaves, you better be on your game with regard to those vernaculars. I got dinged in a review of my historical western romance because the reader felt I used 2012 terminology for a story set in the 1880s. Ouch! The last thing you want as an author is to have your reader yanked from the story.
Maybe that’s why I choose to write contemporary romance. No need to worry about the proper Scottish dialect for me. :) But even with contemporaries, you have to be careful. I personally love to use words like “gonna,”“hafta” and “kinda” in dialogue—Spell/Grammar Check be damned. This is how people talk in real life so it’s how my characters are gonna talk. Think about Morgan Freeman in Driving Miss Daisy. Did he say, “I am trying to take you to the grocery story.”? Uh, no. He said, “I’m tryin’ ta take ya to da store.” Huge difference.
The other thing to keep in mind when writing dialogue is, if your character can say something in five words, have them say it in four. Short, snappy lines makes the reading go faster because more pages are getting turned. It also puts more *white space* on the page. And readers loooooove white space.
As a reader, one of my pet peeves is when the author uses a bunch of he said/she said or he asked/she asked in dialogue. Rather than having Sally say blah, blah, blah, have Sally do something. If she’s upset, have her stomp a foot or glare at the hero. If she’s being coy, have her swish side to side. Shy, maybe she should twist her fingers together. Remember that pesky, yet brilliant advice: show, don’t tell. Don’t tell me who’s talking, but show me by having some action during the dialogue. It helps to solidify the characterizations and makes for a (hopefully) more enjoyable read.
Okay, so I’ve voiced my opinion about dialogue. Do you agree with me or am I barking up the metaphorical tree? Shout out your thoughts and opinions.
Thanks again to Lauren for hosting me today!
Please visit me at www.lyndabailey.net. Or drop me an email Lynda@lyndabailey.net.