On Dialogue


Editing Dialogue Articles / On Dialogue

Recently I had a conversation with an author about the differences between editing dialogue and editing narrative. It occurred to me that this is something I do automatically, but I don’t really know if it’s a hard and fast rule or if editors follow their own rules. Maybe editors don’t make adjustments or aren’t consciously aware they make them. Perhaps I over think things. Anything’s...

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Articles / On Dialogue

Over the last few days, a picture has shown up in my Facebook timeline over and over again. The caption reads “190 Ways to Say ‘Said.’ ” Grammatical issues aside—the synonyms are actually all present tense, so they’re 190 ways to say say—it was causing a buzz in my timeline. If you’ve seen it, chances are you’ve had one of two reactions: 1) woo hoo,...

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Articles / On Dialogue

Gimme More—Using Creative Narrative Instead of Dialogue Tags If you’ve read my series on dialogue tags—or if you know me, have met me, or have ever been in my general proximity—you’d know that I’m a student of the “Less is More” school of dialogue tags. I’m not a fan of creative dialogue tags, and I’m a firm believer that unless you have a room full...

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Articles / On Dialogue

Dialogue Tags, Part II In my earlier article, Dialogue Tag Primer, we looked at the basics of punctuating dialogue tags, some commonly accepted rules to what constitutes a dialogue tag and what is a creative tag, and the challenge to generally use fewer tags in your writing. In this segment, we’ll talk more in depth about some other types of punctuation, how the placement of...

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Articles / On Dialogue

Dialogue Tag Primer Sometimes it’s good to just get back to the basics when it comes to writing, so I decided to tackle an area that has some set rules and yet also some guidelines or schools of thought that can vary. Dialogue tags fall into this category because while capitalization and punctuation around a dialogue tag is generally rule-driven, what constitutes a dialogue tag...

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Articles / On Dialogue

Speak Your Dialogue   Have you ever had one of those great writing moments when everything flowed out of you so fast you felt as though you were simply the stenographer sitting in a courtroom and doing your best to keep up with everything as it was thrown at you? Yeah, me neither. But for those who have, there comes that time when you go...

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Adverbial Dialogue Tags Articles / On Dialogue

We’ve all see it and a good number of us are guilty of it. That’s right. I’m talking about adverbial dialogue tags. I know some of you are thinking this is another article about creative dialogue tags. Well, it’s not. This quick tip is about using adverbs to describe how dialogue is said. Aside from the obvious advice to minimize your use of adverbs by...

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Articles / On Dialogue

So what is creative narrative, you ask? Well, it’s basically descriptive narrative that is used in conjunction with dialogue. It identifies who is speaking. Naturally, the next question is: why is creative narrative better than using a dialogue tag? After all, tossing in a dialogue tag is much easier. That answer is not so simple. The truth is it’s not always better to use creative...

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Articles / On Dialogue

Direct and Indirect Narrative   The difference between direct and indirect narrative is pretty straightforward. Direct narrative is basically describing everything in a scene, including all the action and detail. For example, say you’re writing a scene about pitcher throwing the winning strike in the game. Direct narrative allows you to describe everything from what the pitcher is feeling and  seeing to how he pitches...

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Articles / On Dialogue

Accents and Dialects   Who doesn’t love listening to an accent or an entertaining dialect, especially one delivered by a sexy model or actor? Accents and dialects make people more interesting, probably because the sound is interesting to listen to and offers a fresh perspective to the words being spoken. It also adds another layer to the character, makes them feel authentic, and gives clues...

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