12 Days of Christmas: Writing Tips Day 10

Day 10

 

The more our stories and words reflect “real life,” the more they resonant with a reader. But that doesn’t always hold true when it comes to dialogue. Listen closely to a nearby conversation. A lot of dialogue is boring and repetitive.

When you write dialogue, cut out the average and add in the unusual. What do we need to learn from a conversation? Keep that. What doesn’t matter? Delete that.

Dialogue. What people say in a scene. Must be spoken out loud. Must be inside quotation marks.

Dialogue Should Not                                     Dialogue Should

Be cheesy                                                        Be witty

Stall out the story                                            Push the story forward

Kill tension                                                    Drive tension

Be confusing                                                   Be precise

Be boring                                                        Be creative

 

**Bonus Tip PUNCTUATING DIALOGUE

  • Use a COMMA and a lowercase letter with a dialogue tag.

“You’re awesome,she said.  “Are you awesome?” she asked.

  • Use a PERIOD and a capital letter with an action or voice cue.

“You’re awesome.She smiled and leaned closer. “You’re awesome.Her voice pitched high.

***Bonus Bonus Tip:

Punctuation always goes INSIDE the quotation marks. The book was “awesome.

 

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When all twelve days have been posted, you can find them here–12 Days of Christmas: Writing Tips.

12 Days of Christmas: Writing Tips Day 9

12 Days of Christmas: Writing Tips Day 8

12 Days of Christmas: Writing Tips Day 7

12 Days of Christmas: Writing Tips Day 6

12 Days of Christmas: Writing Tips Day 5

12 Days of Christmas: Writing Tips Day 4

12 Days of Christmas: Writing Tips Day 3

12 Days of Christmas: Writing Tips Day 2

12 Days of Christmas: Writing Tips Day 1

 

For more tips, see Monday Writing Minute.

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12 Days of Christmas: Writing Tips Day 9

Day 9

 

Take a look at a page of your WIP (work in progress) and count how many long versus short sentences you have. Read the page out loud. Where do you stumble, have to take a breath, or get irritated with choppiness?

Shorter sentences are great for building tension. Look for places to use them.

Example: “911. What’s your emergency?” An insanely calm woman came on the line, her voice echoing through a tunnel in my head.

“My sister—”

“Tell them where we are,” the stranger instructed.

I glanced around. Water. Trees. Dirt. The bridge. The name of the creek stuck somewhere underneath my tongue.

 

Christmas_Snowman-0755c878-1f61-34fb-9545-922eb6493ea8

 

When all twelve days have been posted, you can find them here–12 Days of Christmas: Writing Tips.

12 Days of Christmas: Writing Tips Day 8

12 Days of Christmas: Writing Tips Day 7

12 Days of Christmas: Writing Tips Day 6

12 Days of Christmas: Writing Tips Day 5

12 Days of Christmas: Writing Tips Day 4

12 Days of Christmas: Writing Tips Day 3

12 Days of Christmas: Writing Tips Day 2

12 Days of Christmas: Writing Tips Day 1

For more tips, see Monday Writing Minute.

Read More

12 Days of Christmas: Writing Tips Day 8

Day 8

Sometimes simple is better. Especially when it comes to everyday actions. When you write, “I sipped my Coke,” the reader understands it has to be opened and lifted to your lips.

Example: Les reached out and set his hand on Lucy’s face.

Versus

Les touched Lucy’s face.

Or

Les set his hand on Lucy’s face.

When your character touches someone, we assume the “reaching out” part. Look for actions you can simplify.

 

**bonus tip–everyday means commonplace, while every day means each day.

 

Christmas_Snowman-0755c878-1f61-34fb-9545-922eb6493ea8

 

When all twelve days have been posted, you can find them here–12 Days of Christmas: Writing Tips.

12 Days of Christmas: Writing Tips Day 7

12 Days of Christmas: Writing Tips Day 6

12 Days of Christmas: Writing Tips Day 5

12 Days of Christmas: Writing Tips Day 4

12 Days of Christmas: Writing Tips Day 3

12 Days of Christmas: Writing Tips Day 2

12 Days of Christmas: Writing Tips Day 1

For more tips, see Monday Writing Minute.

Read More