On Dialogue #OpenBook BlogHop

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

Welcome to another edition of Open Book Blog Hop. This week’s question is:  “Do you use said or asked after a ? (quotation mark) or tag your interruptions? Any punctuation that bugs you? What’s the hardest for you to get right?”

What a coincidence this topic should come up now. I recently read Crafting Dynamic Dialogue, edited by Cheryl St. John, which I reviewed here. In this book, several fiction authors provide great advice on writing dialogue, some of which I already put into practice.

First of all, I try not to use elaborate dialogue tags such as “he announced” or “she proclaimed.” These distract the reader from what’s being said. It’s better to stick with “said,” “answered,” or asked” and let dialogue speak for itself. Unless there may be some confusion as to who is speaking, I don’t tag interruptions because that disrupts the story’s flow.

That having been said, there are times when it’s better to use a stronger verb than an adverb in dialogue tags. For example, instead of “I hate you!” my teenaged daughter said loudly before dashing upstairs and slamming the door to her room, I would write “I hate you!” my teenaged daughter yelled before dashing upstairs and slamming the door to her room.

I don’t have trouble with punctuation. So, let me share one more thing I’ve learned about dialog tags. It’s more natural to place the person’s name or a pronoun before the verb. Take this passage from The Red Dress.

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“Oh, look at this!” said Charlene.

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I should have written this.

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“Oh, look at this!” Charlene said.

***

I’m not about to republish my novels just so I can correct dialogue tags. But I plan to incorporate tips I’ve learned in my future work.

How about you? Do you like elaborate dialogue tags, or, like me, do you think they’re unnecessary? How do you feel about the use of adverbs and the placement of names or pronouns and verbs in dialog tags? I look forward to reading your answers in the comment field. If you’re a blogger and would like to participate in this week’s hop, click here.

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By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. No matter how you read it, please be sure to review it wherever you can. That goes for all my books. Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe, happy, and healthy.

 

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Image contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

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Advice on Writing Great Dialogue #FridayFunReads

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

Crafting Dynamic Dialogue: The Complete Guide to Speaking, Conversing, Arguing, and Thinking in Fiction (Creative Writing Essentials)

Edited by Cheryl St. John

 

What Amazon Says

 

Write authentic dialogue that invigorates your story!

 

Exceptional dialogue isn’t just important when writing fiction–it’s essential. In order to impress an agent or editor and keep readers turning pages, you need to deliver truly standout dialogue in every scene. Crafting Dynamic Dialogue will give you the techniques and examples you need to impress your readers.

 

This book is a comprehensive guide to writing compelling dialogue that rings true. Each section is packed with advice and instruction from best-selling authors and instructors like Nancy Kress, Elizabeth Sims, Steven James, Deborah Halverson, James Scott Bell, Donald Maass, Cheryl St. John, and many others. They’ll show you how to:

 

  • Bend the rules to create a specific effect
  • Understand the role of dialogue in reader engagement
  • Use dialect and jargon effectively
  • Give every character a believable, unique voice
  • Set the pace and tone
  • Reveal specific character background details
  • Generate tension and suspense
  • Utilize internal dialogue

Whether you’re writing flash fiction, a short story, or a novel-length manuscript, Crafting Dynamic Dialogue will help you develop, write, and refine dialogue to keep your readers hooked.

 

My Thoughts

 

I like how many of the authors who contribute to this book provide excerpts from published works to emphasize certain points about dialogue. Some of the novels and stories referenced I haven’t read at all, and others I haven’t read in years. Some contributors suggest exercises, one of which, in part, inspired last Thursday’s six-sentence story post.

Although some of the advice is conflicting, it’s still advice you can take or leave. I hope to use some of these authors’ techniques in my own writing. I’m a firm believer in showing and not telling. If you want to learn how to write effective dialog that shows your reader your story, this book is for you.

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By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. No matter how you read it, please be sure to review it wherever you can. That goes for all my books. Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe, happy, and healthy.

 

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Image contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

Books

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook

Website