Fun, Amazing, Etc.

This is the official blog of indie author / adventure writer Andy R. Bunch, author of the fantasy book, "Suffering Rancor." As always, I'll post funny or amazing things I find in my travels or from poking around online. This is a great place to kick back and relax a bit. You may note that I’m not too clean or too dirty. For more information on my book, go to Here are links to first two books and

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Improving your dialogue

Hey gang,
I'm always looking for ways to improve my writing, revising, and editing. I've been reading Novel Shortcuts by Laura Whitcomb, and its inspired me to write a little of my own thinking on the topic.

Close up on dialogue:
Instinctively writers are good at some aspects of dialogue or another, but seldom all aspects of dialogue. So it’s worth being aware of all the aspects so you can make sure you’re hitting all the points you can in your writing.

Speaking of hitting all the points, your dialogue is part of a scene and must move the story forward. Is the dialogue necessary? Or do you have a long chain of dialogue in place of a more appropriate form of exposition? What do we learn?

Is it concise? What is the goal or conflict being conversed? Does the character misinterpret anything? What is left unspoken? Or more importantly, what is left unresolved?

These are important questions to answer when revising your novel. Depending on your answers you’ve got two ways to fix that dialogue; either cut the fat or add characterization. Cutting the fat is straight forward. Rewrite it more concisely. Adding character is a way of killing two birds with one stone. Say you’ve written a series of dialogue in which one character shares plot development with another character, and thereby the reader, but it runs unavoidably long. Make sure that the characters are speaking in a way that communicates who they are. It’s a good idea anyway, but it’s an extra grievance to have long dialogue chains without at least reinforcing the characters distinct personalities.

To do this, revisit your character sketches and ask these questions (taken from Novel Shortcuts by Laura Whitcomb).

Is this person educated or simple?
Quiet or verbose?
Does he/she hide their feelings or wear their heart on their sleeve?
Casual or formal? Modern or old fashioned?
Do they have a hobby or social group that would pepper their verbiage choice with slang? (Scifi nerd? Sports nut?)
Confident? Nervous? Optimistic? Pessimistic?
Is this their Mother Tongue?
Do they have a speech impediment or accent?
Do they inject humor into anything they say or perhaps use diplomacy at all times?
Do you need to incorporate anything to communicate a historic time for the book?

Finally, be sensitive to the potential for impact in what’s being said. Most of the time, a phrase like, “Are you hungry?” is best written quickly and simply, where a phrase like, “I love you,” is worth rewriting a few times for maximum impact. You can’t hand craft every line, but you should have some memorable ones in the mix. Give yourself a, “Frankly, my darling, I don’t give a damn.” Or a “Here’s looking at you, kid.” Something memorable could make your novel catch on with your audience. 

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