L is for Listen

28 Jul

Dialogue adds another depth to storytelling but it can be tricky. It not only needs to sound authentic but each character needs to have an individual voice.  Pay attention to those around you and make watching television and movies an exercise in listening to those speech patterns you can use in your book.

A fifteen year old rapper is not going to sound the same as a retired 70 year old English teacher, or a captain of a shrimping boat in Louisiana, or a farmer in the Midwest, or a Valley girl. Think about location as well as time frame.

Using the proper slang can make or break a character. When it comes to dialect though, a little goes a long way. If you ever tried to read the comic strip ‘Lil’ Abner’, you know what I mean.

Al Capp's Li'l Abner # 85

Al Capp’s Li’l Abner # 85 (Photo credit: Felix_Nine)

Listen to the dialogue as you write. As you edit, take time to read what you’ve written aloud. You will catch not only errors in dialogue but common errors in your writing, as well. There is something about hearing it out loud that makes the mistake obvious.

Have some fun with the characters and listen to your words each step of the way.

Have a great week writing.


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Posted by on July 28, 2012 in Write a Novel


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