The website of the historical fiction writer.

Festival of Writing 2015 Stave Six: Talking the Walk: Advanced Dialogue

Near the town where I was born a book was launched. The book was Tenacity, a crime thriller set on a Royal Naval Submarine, which I can heartily recommend. The author of that book, J. S. Law, gave a very interesting introduction into writing advanced dialogue. So, let’s dive in and find out how to make dialogue sound much better.

The workshop discussed what dialogue should do, which is to put wind in the story’s sails and reveal elements of the character that is speaking such as their motivations and helps the reader understand them. It shows the relationships the characters have with each other and the world around them and how they deal with the conflicts that come their way.

Other points raised that are worth considering include the uses of tags and punctuation. If what is being said is clear then words such as ‘cried/roared/exclaimed/grunted/etc’ are not necessary and a simple ‘said’ will do. The same goes for exclamation marks. If it is clear someone is shouting or making a joke then they are not really needed. Another important thing to consider is to cut to the chase so it keeps the plot on course.

So that rounded off Saturday nicely and gave everyone food for thought. And on the subject of food, the University of York did a fantastic job at looking after us over the weekend and keeping us well fed.

If you’re sailing past tomorrow, drop anchor as we find out about the Future of Publishing.

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