Showing posts from April, 2014

Dialogue Dilemmas - Part 2

Technicalities In part 1 of Dialogue Dilemmas we looked at the ground rules for creating multifunctional, realistic dialogue.   But what about the nitty-gritty, the technical side of creating dialogue? Where do you start a new line of dialogue? What about internal thoughts, how should they be presented? How do you correctly set out dialogue? What about quotation marks? These questions all relate to the technical side of writing dialogue, the things you have to get right. Unlike a lot of fiction writing, there are no bending rules where dialogue is concerned. The first thing that all writers should learn is how to correctly format dialogue, i.e. set it out correctly. Dialogue Formatting It’s important that you clearly denote who is speaking for your reader, so dialogue must always be clear. There are still lots of writers who don’t use this correctly. Firstly, whenever a character speaks, always start a new paragraph. Don’t make the classic mistake of tagging one chara

Dialogue Dilemmas – Part 1

Ground Rules Dialogue is straightforward if you know how to do it properly, and shouldn’t present any problems, but lately I’ve seen many self-published books that use incorrect or badly structured dialogue. Writers are still getting it wrong. If you want to go down the route of traditional publishing, i.e. finding an agent or publisher, then it’s paramount that the silly mistakes found all over self-published work isn’t apparent when you submit to an editor for scrutiny. Dialogue should be correct and properly structured, which means writers should be aware of ground rules. Once you know those ground rules, you can concentrate on the technicality of constructing dialogue. Move the story forward Firstly, dialogue is necessary to move the story forward. That means it should be concise, it should get to the point and relay pertinent information to the reader as part of the continuing story arc. Dialogue should never turn into an info-dump - in other words, don’t fill your sc

How to Avoid Bad Writing – Part 3

In the final instalment of how to avoid bad writing, we’ll take a look at a few more common errors that writers haven’t yet understood, or have chosen to ignore at their own peril. There are quite a few, but I’ve highlighted the ones that crop up all the time in narrative, common errors that can be and should be avoided. Adverbs One of many things that drive me crazy is the use of too many ‘ly’ adverbs (although they’re not to be confused with adjectives that end in ‘ly’).   Adverbs are used to modify a verb, an adjective, or another adverb. They’re words that don’t really belong in the narrative – that’s not to say you have to eliminate all traces of them, because you don’t have to go that far. Some are needed at certain points and can be useful, but on the whole, many are unwelcome. For example: She looked up at him lovingly , his face so fetchingly constructed… This is the kind of stuff found in a lot of romance-style novels, and it’s awful. The use of adverbs we