The Author Wheel Podcast

Quick Tips to Help You Master Dialogue in Writing

May 09, 2024 The Author Wheel Season 5
Quick Tips to Help You Master Dialogue in Writing
The Author Wheel Podcast
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The Author Wheel Podcast
Quick Tips to Help You Master Dialogue in Writing
May 09, 2024 Season 5
The Author Wheel

Ever struggled to write dialogue that sounds natural and captures the essence of your characters?

This week's quick tips will help you overcome that challenge.

Tip #1: Listen to people talk in real life. Hang out in different locations with people from different walks of life. They don't speak the same!

Tip #2: Don't overdo dialect. While you want your characters to be unique, you don't want them to sound like a stereotype, and you don't want to tire out your reader.

Bonus Tip #3: Avoid fillers. You don't need to write "well", "um", or other conversational fillers. Get straight to the point.

If you’re enjoying this podcast, please consider supporting the show. For a few dollars a month, you can help us cover the ongoing expenses—like hosting and editing—that are critical to the creation of this podcast. Plus, supporters will be thanked on each interview episode, so you'll get to hear your name on the air!

Click here to become a paid subscriber and support the show!

Another great way to support the show is to leave a five star review and share it with a writer friend. We don't advertise, so our growth is entirely dependent on word of mouth.

We appreciate your generous help!

Follow Us!

The Author Wheel:
Website: www.AuthorWheel.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorWheel

Greta Boris:
Website: www.GretaBoris.com
Facebook: @GretaBorisAuthor
Instagram: @GretaBoris

Megan Haskell:
Website: www.MeganHaskell.com
Facebook & Instagram: @MeganHaskellAuthor
TikTok: @AuthorMeganHaskell


Support the Show.

FREE Mini Email Course

Have you ever struggled to explain to others exactly what you write? Or wondered which of the many fiction ideas running through your brain you should tackle? If so, The Author Wheel’s new mini-course might be your solution.

7 Days to Clarity: Uncover Your Author Purpose will help you uncover your core writing motivations, avoid shiny-thing syndrome, and create clear marketing language.

Each daily email will lead you step by step in defining your author brand, crafting a mission statement, and distilling that statement into a pithy tagline. And, best of all, it’s free.

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Show Notes Transcript

Ever struggled to write dialogue that sounds natural and captures the essence of your characters?

This week's quick tips will help you overcome that challenge.

Tip #1: Listen to people talk in real life. Hang out in different locations with people from different walks of life. They don't speak the same!

Tip #2: Don't overdo dialect. While you want your characters to be unique, you don't want them to sound like a stereotype, and you don't want to tire out your reader.

Bonus Tip #3: Avoid fillers. You don't need to write "well", "um", or other conversational fillers. Get straight to the point.

If you’re enjoying this podcast, please consider supporting the show. For a few dollars a month, you can help us cover the ongoing expenses—like hosting and editing—that are critical to the creation of this podcast. Plus, supporters will be thanked on each interview episode, so you'll get to hear your name on the air!

Click here to become a paid subscriber and support the show!

Another great way to support the show is to leave a five star review and share it with a writer friend. We don't advertise, so our growth is entirely dependent on word of mouth.

We appreciate your generous help!

Follow Us!

The Author Wheel:
Website: www.AuthorWheel.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorWheel

Greta Boris:
Website: www.GretaBoris.com
Facebook: @GretaBorisAuthor
Instagram: @GretaBoris

Megan Haskell:
Website: www.MeganHaskell.com
Facebook & Instagram: @MeganHaskellAuthor
TikTok: @AuthorMeganHaskell


Support the Show.

FREE Mini Email Course

Have you ever struggled to explain to others exactly what you write? Or wondered which of the many fiction ideas running through your brain you should tackle? If so, The Author Wheel’s new mini-course might be your solution.

7 Days to Clarity: Uncover Your Author Purpose will help you uncover your core writing motivations, avoid shiny-thing syndrome, and create clear marketing language.

Each daily email will lead you step by step in defining your author brand, crafting a mission statement, and distilling that statement into a pithy tagline. And, best of all, it’s free.

Click here to learn more!



Speaker 1:

Welcome to the Author Wheel podcast. I'm Megan Haskell, award-winning fantasy author of the Signore Chronicles and the Rise of Lilith series.

Speaker 2:

And I'm Greta Boris, usa Today bestselling author of the Mortician Murders and the soon-to-be-released Almost True Crime series. Together we are the Author Wheel. Our goal is to help you overcome your writing roadblocks so you can keep your stories rolling. This week we're going to dive into one of my favorite topics, which is dialogue.

Speaker 2:

So tip number one listen to how people talk. I know that sounds really obvious, but you would be amazed at how often the dialogue in early drafts of people's manuscripts or even poorly edited published books I've read some crazy dialogue in library books and all that kind of thing. It just sounds totally weird. It sounds like the author's voice or the narrator's voice. It's like very well edited dialogue, which is not the way we speak. It's just not realistic.

Speaker 2:

And one of my pet peeves is that people from different walks of life speak differently. They use vocabulary from their region or from their industry. They have a unique cadence. Even different personality types will speak differently. So if you follow the Enneagram like we talked about last week, achievers often want to wow people with their words, reformers want to persuade and individualists probably don't care what people think and are going to be really blunt. So even taking personality type into consideration is big, yeah.

Speaker 2:

So a personal example of this is when I was writing the first version of this the book that will be the Hiding Place coming out soon. I had a POV character in that first version. He's not a POV character in the new version, but he was, and he was a first generation American, the son of two Hispanic immigrants who grew up bilingual. He also had a degree in landscape architecture and ran a landscape maintenance business. So about a week or two before I turned that book in to the editor, I realized all his dialogue, both internal and external, sounded exactly like the main characters. Who was his girlfriend? She was a white female with an English degree who worked in a school library and wanted to be a published author.

Speaker 1:

So like how Very different.

Speaker 2:

Yes, so different. So what I ended up having to do, because, just to get his voice correct, what I ended up having to do, because, just to get his voice correct, I rewrote all his chapters, and there was a significant number of them. I rewrote them in the first person, trying to channel his voice in my head, like the kind of cadence that he might have and the word choices that he might make and how his worldview would be different than hers. And then, after I did that, I had to go back and put all those chapters back into third person, because they were supposed to be in third person. Well, my editor was not happy because there was a lot of grammatical errors, I'm just telling you, but I did get his voice right, so so anyway, yeah, yeah.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so it was a big deal. So if you can kind of strike for that on your first draft, you're going to save yourself a lot of time.

Speaker 1:

Yes, but so tip number two is kind of related to this, but it's the knife's edge, the balancing act that we have to, you know, be careful of when we're writing, because you do want to make your character's voice unique, but not too unique either. So, especially when it comes to dialect. So like dialect, you know, is when you know they, they have a, an accent that you hear in your head and you write the, you know misspellings or things like that, right. So so you got to be really, really careful with how much dialect you put put into your book. You have to kind of think of it like spice in your cooking too much.

Speaker 1:

To kind of think of it like spice in your cooking Too much and you can't swallow it, you're going to burn your tongue, you're going to spit it out. Won't work Too little and your story can feel bland and boring. So it's really kind of threading that needle to find the right balance and it will in part depend on your story and it will in part depend on your character. But having one character with a word or two that they say differently or that you spell differently, for them to say in your head right, like, there's a Like y'all.

Speaker 2:

If you had a seven character you could say y'all here and there, but if it was y'all, y'all, y'all, y'all, all the y'all time, yeah, your readers are going, or you were doing too many. Y'all want some pecans in the bayou. It's going to get overdone.

Speaker 1:

Right, but. But here's the trick, right? So when you're doing that, if you had a character that said y'all, and the reader might interpret pecan instead of pecancan based on the fact that they say y'all. So you're going to still spell pecan the same as pecan regardless, but then it's up to the reader to actually interpret that differently. So my example that that I had was that I had a troll character in one of my, in the Senyari chronicles, and instead of saying you, he said yeah, right, like that was, that was in my head, that was. That was the dialect. Well, when I got the audio book made, the narrator interpreted that as ye so, so ye all want, and it sounded like a pirate a little bit Funny. She made it work because she's a fantastic voice actress, but it was, it was. It proved my point to myself, I guess, that how you write it on the page, ultimately the reader is interpreting that.

Speaker 2:

So you have to be really careful with what you put in, how you put it in, how much you use, et cetera, et cetera. So it's that balancing act, yes, and also, if you do too much dialect, you do run the risk of turning that character into like a stereotype.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah.

Speaker 2:

We I think we both actually read an early submission at a conference one time. Maybe you didn't get the same one, I did, but I know we both had submissions from the same writer and this writer was trying to put in a character that was British and it was so not the way modern British people speak. It was so stereotypical, like British from the Victorian era or British from 100 years ago or there was so much blimeys and bloody this and blimey that and it was like I would go listen to like 10 podcasts that are by.

Speaker 1:

Brits, go listen to our interview with Stephanie Carey. Yeah, yeah, or Stephen Moore.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, or Joanna Penn. There was no blimeys and no bloodies. Yeah, it was just too, so that's it yeah.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, you just gotta be. You gotta be careful about it, right, you don't? You don't want to be stereotypical and you don't want to be offensive either, right, as you know. So. So, yeah, you do have to be careful about that. Now I do have a bonus tip that I just thought of Woohoo, yeah, yeah. So bonus tip number three today is in dialogue, in written dialogue, avoid the fillers. Hello, how are you? How are you? It's good today, I don't know. Well, maybe People do talk that way a lot of the time, but in the written word, you don't want to actually have those fillers in your dialogue. You want to make it a little bit more concise. So, being careful to you know, get right to the point of the dialogue to use partial sentences, cut off sentences, but use them sparingly and avoid the back and forth pleasantries, if you will, that we all use in actual day-to-day conversation but that make for really boring dialogue on the written page dialogue.

Speaker 2:

I write it the way I hear the characters in my head talking, and then put it aside and then maybe the next day I go back and I often edit out and clean up those fillers. You know Exactly the you knows and the wills. Like I'm saying to you and you're saying to me, but on the page it's like oh yeah.

Speaker 1:

Yep, exactly, exactly. So there you go, bonus tip.

Speaker 2:

So if you are enjoying this podcast, please consider supporting the show. We will give a shout out to you and to your books or products and services for authors. At the bottom of each episode show notes is a link that will lead you to a place where you can donate as little as $3 a month to help us cover the ongoing expenses. I almost said suspenses, because you know that's what I like. Yeah, I like hosting and editing.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and quick, quick note on that too. That shout out will happen in the intro to the interview episode, so just when you're going back and going. Did they say my name? Did they say my name? That's when you'll hear it.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, isn't there a song? Say my name, say my name. Probably Anyway yeah, so sorry I digress. Yes, that will be there, and another way to support us is to leave a five-star review and share your favorite episode with a writer friend. So until next time, keep your stories rolling.