Congratulations to Ceri, the winner of yesterday’s Writers’ Wednesday drawing for a $5 Amazon gift certificate! Ceri, email me at email@example.com and let me know which email address to send it to.
Thanks to everyone for your great comments, by the way. A couple of good dialogue tips that I left out but others mentioned:
1. Avoid using adverbs in your taglines. Really, there’s no reason to write “he said softly” or “she called annoyingly.” Take the action and put it right into your dialogue (thanks for the tip, Fred Charles!)
2. Spend some time at the mall eavesdropping if you want to develop an ear for true dialogue. Good writers pay attention to the way people speak, with all their hems and haws and starts and restarts. Then they learn how to leave in just enough of those awkward moments to keep the dialogue realistic (thanks for the tip, bunnygirl!)
3. Infuse enough dialect to show a character’s nationality, but not so much that it overtakes the meaning of the words themselves. You want to show some flavor in word choice and pronunciation, but you don’t want to lose your reader either (thanks for the tip, Carolan Ivey!)
Yesterday in class (I’m doing Shakespeare‘s Othello with my seniors), two students confessed they’d “read ahead” to find out the ending of the play. Another asked if colleges offered Shakespeare courses for non-English majors (she’s going pre-med), and just when I thought I’d keel over from pure happiness, another looked up at me and said, wide-eyed, “You know, Shakespeare’s a good writer.”
I replied, “Yeah, he’s okay.” Wink. Smile.
She went on. “No, really. Like, how does he know how to keep adding suspense, and make it so you have to keep on reading? Every time you turn the page, something else happens, and you catch your breath ‘cause you can‘t believe it.” Sigh. “I could never be a writer.”