What Not to Write #1: Dialogue


What Not to Write is a series I'm starting in which I post my opinions on the no-can-do's in writing. A new one will be posted every Monday. Please remember that these posts are completely my opinion and totally subjective. There are always exceptions to the rule. This is just meant to be a fun way to share writing tips.

Today's topic is dialogue. 

Now, to me, dialogue is one of the most important aspects of a novel. It's not only your main character's voice, but even more importantly it's every other character's voice, the minor ones that you don't get to see inside their head. If I read novels with unbelievable, unrealistic dialogue that no one would say, then I automatically just cannot love the book as much, even if everything else is fantastic. 

DON'T
-Excessively use character's names in dialogue 
-Use text speak in dialogue
-Use language that's too formal

Names
So the whole name bit. Nothing gets on my nerves more than when character's feel the need to almost never say there names out loud. It's redundant. Now, I understand if the characters are in a large group, are looking for each other, it's a personal scene, etc. But just in basic conversation, I don't understand the purpose or reason.

In my book, Miles To Go, I am guilty of using the names more than I'd like to admit. I don't know why we writers are such suckers for this one! It's like we think it sounds good. And it usually does sound fine. It's just one of those things that when you start thinking about it, it makes no sense.

Text Speak
Just please don't. The ocasional OMG is okay if it's tasteful and the situation calls for it. But no LOL or ROFL or LMAO or BRB or whatever other text speak there is that I probably don't even know about. It just makes your writing seem immature. 

Words that I do approve of and think make the writing sound more realistic are works like gonna and wanna. Because, let's face it, who actually says they're going to do something?

Formality
You don't want your sixteen-year-old main character to sound forty. And this tends to be a problem I've noticed with adult writers, where their main characters are super mature sounding. And it is such a fine line, because you can't make us sound like that, but you can't dumb teenagers down either.

So those are just a few tips I have for you. If you want a more audio/visual, this topic is one I basically covered in my last Sleepless Writers video. So check it out, and stay tuned for another What Not To Write coming at you next Monday!

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