Alana Woods ... the Intrigue Queen

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Alana's writing tips: more on dialogue

Posted by Alana Woods on February 22, 2012 at 6:00 AM

Last week I spoke about keeping dialogue real.

This week I talk about using character names in dialogue.

I have this one piece of advice: do so very very VERY sparingly.

You don’t do it when you’re talking to people in life, so why do it when you’re writing.

I will repeat what I consider to be my essential writing tip: read your story out loud to yourself.  If it sounds awkward, false, or in any other way unnatural, change it.

I recently read a book where the author, in every bit of dialogue, had his characters using each other’s names almost every time they spoke to each other.  It drove me to exasperation.  

This is what I’m talking about and, no, this is not dialogue from said book:

‘Joe, I saw that you had enrolled in a course to do astrophysics.  Why?’

‘Well, Bob, because I thought it would be fun.’

But ... and don’t think I’m criticising ... but you’re no brain, are you, Joe?’

‘Bob, I think you’re missing the point. I want to do it’.

As I say, unnatural.

Categories: Writing tips

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