Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Monique DeVere's Secret to Great Dialogue #MFRWauthor #MFRWorg #WriteTips #Authors

Over the years, one of the compliments I often receive is for my dialogue skills. While contemplating the subject for my column this month, I decided to share my "secret" for writing great dialogue. I would love to unveil some amazing trick that I alone have uncovered. 

Alas, it is not to be. 

My simple trick is to write the dialogue first. I write in scenes and chapters. I never view the book I'm writing as a whole until I reach the end. Therefore, each day I sit to write my scenes and sequels, I visualize only the scene/sequel I'm about to write. Like all authors, I see my characters in conversation, what they're talking about and whether it's what I need them to talk about in order to fulfil my requirements for that part of the story. At this stage, I'm not worried about what my character is thinking, feeling, smelling, eating, seeing or anything else.  I just need to know that they're involved in dialogue that excites me enough to make me want to write it.

I've found that writing dialogue first, so you have only dialogue nothing else to start, gives me a clear indication on whether what my characters are saying is worth listening to AKA reading. Then I can turn my attention to fleshing out the scene with introspection, emotion, the senses, internal conflict, traits and everything else I need in order to create a rounded and complete scene. 

I'm sure you know dialogue in romance has five main functions. When we write dialogue first we're able to see at a glance if we've achieved the objective. 

Five Functions of Dialogue

1. To move the plot forward. 

2. Create conflict. 
3. To inform or reveal something pertinent to the plot.
4. Reveal character.
5. Create tension--sexual/emotional.

I have found that by writing dialogue first--think talking heads--it allows me to see if I've left questions unanswered, taken a side road in the conversation or have fallen into the trap of writing pointless conversation--think boring bits when people talk about nothing. The sort of yakety-yak that goes nowhere.

"Hi, how are you?"

"I'm fine. How are you?"

That sort of thing.

Dialogue is my absolute favourite part of a book. I just love the way we can create situations that pit two characters against each other in wit and banter. The way the characters can argue even while we let the tension simmer underneath. The way we can let them just say whatever they're thinking and see how it creates fireworks. Even letting the characters dodge questions is pretty fun to write. I love cheeky heroes who say the most scandalous things, and sassy heroines who gives him back just as good.

Dialogue is the heart of the novel. Without good dialogue, the most thoroughly planned out and executed story can become a drag to read.

So the next time you sit down to write, take a good hard look at your dialogue. Picture or write only the dialogue and see if it makes a difference to your end result. Then take a look at your character's introspection and see whether you're hiding some of your best dialogue in your character's thoughts. Why not let her/him say what s/he's thinking and see if you can't up the conflict a little.

Do you have any secrets on writing great dialogue? I'd love to hear them. Please share your thoughts in the comments section below. I look forward to reading and learning new dialogue tricks.

Until next time, write with clarity and style!

Author/Screenwriter Monique DeVere currently resides in the UK with her amazing hero husband, four beautiful grown-up children, and three incredible granddaughters. 

Monique writes Romantic Comedy stories some call Smexy—Smart & Sexy—and others call fluff. Monique makes no apologies for writing fun, emotional feel-good romance! She also writes Christian Suspense with a more serious edge.  

Monique loves to hear from her readers. You can contact her by visiting her http://moniquedevere.blogspot.co.uk to learn more about her and check out her other books.

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