We’re still on how to make or break your book. This next part is really important. All authors should sit up and take note, because the problems outlined here are prevalent and wrong to do.
First of all, have you educated yourself in how people talk to each other? I’m sure most of you reading this are scratching your heads and saying that you have no need of that, since you already know how people talk to each other.
Hold on there, pardner. (Pardon the Western genre moment) I beg to differ. Far too many of today’s authors have no clue how people talk to each other. You can see that in how their characters interact verbally. Take an exchange such as this one…
“Hey, we’re all meeting at the place on Third Street. The one that’s halfway past the grocery store, but not past the liquor store. You need to drive past Main Street three blocks, because it’s blocked off. There was a wreck there twenty minutes ago, so no one can go that way. Just take First Street west four blocks and go south on Apricot Street until you get to Fifth Street. Turn left and keep going until you’re on Main Street. I’ll be standing on the sidewalk looking for you.”
Uh, yeah. That really sounds natural. Time to head on over to your local hangout. It can be the mall, a park, anywhere there are a lot of people talking to each other. Listen to their conversations. Do they sound anything remotely like what you have in your book? A hint—these people will be talking naturally. Their hands will be moving in all directions, because we tend to talk with our hands as well as our mouths. They won’t give detailed directions around an accident that has most probably been reported on the local news.
The same is going on all over the writing world. Instead of dumping information into the narrative, which everyone knows is a huge no no, they’re using dialogue to get the information out about not just location but also what’s happening.
How do you cure this problem? Listen to people talking wherever you go. Take notes. Commit certain conversations to memory if you think they’ll work in your book in some way. Mostly, relax when inserting detail into dialogue. Just don’t info dump.
About K.C. Sprayberry
Born and raised in Southern California’s Los Angeles basin, K.C. Sprayberry spent years traveling the United States and Europe while in the Air Force before settling in northwest Georgia. A new empty nester with her husband of more than twenty years, she spends her days figuring out new ways to torment her characters and coming up with innovative tales from the South and beyond.
She’s a multi-genre author who comes up with ideas from the strangest sources. Those who know her best will tell you that nothing is safe or sacred when she is observing real life. In fact, she considers any situation she witnesses as fair game when plotting a new story.
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