Tuesday, 5 November 2019

NaNoWriMo Day 5: He Said, She Said

Usually, I wait until the end of writing my story to read it back to myself—the temptation to fix things instead of moving forward with my word count (the goal of NaNoWriMo, of course) is too big. It can lead to serious procrastination, and that's the opposite of what I need if I'm going to "win" this year.

But, last night, I didn't hit my goal—at all. I just couldn't get into it. So to try and get myself in the mood, I read back what I've written so far. It worked to get me inspired to write...but it also pointed out some of my weaknesses. Like my dialogue. It doesn't sound natural...at all.

So, I looked up some tips for writing dialogue and thought I'd share them with you, in case it's a weakness for you too. Here are the top three things I've learned:

CUT THE BORING STUFF. Get rid of conversation that doesn't enhance the plot or provide insight into your character. Everyday stuff like hello, how are you, and goodbye should go. Eliminate repetitive phrases.

KEEP IT SHORT. I have a tendency to ramble...which means I'm including a lot of boring stuff (see above) but also, most people don't talk that way. (Except my dad when he's going on and on about his work.) Keep your dialogue brief and to the point.

MAKE THE VOICES DIFFERENT. Your characters shouldn't sound the same. Create a cheat sheet that allows you to see at a glance their favourite (and different) words, catch phrases, and how their characteristics are drawn out in what they're saying. A shy person might spit out the occasional um, for instance.

Of course, I'm not suggesting you go back and FIX your dialogue—that would be counterproductive to meeting your word count goals (especially since it might mean CUTTING some words), but something to keep in mind as you move forward with your story.

Gotta jet! Have a great day and...may the words be in your favour!

~ Chase Superman Duffy

Word Count: 1,020

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