On Dialogue…

As I prepare for the Writer’s League of Texas‘ annual Agents and Editors Conference I have been going over the novel I am going to shop there. After doing more critiques and attending a convention recently, it came to me that I write dialouge the same way I speak. For most people that may not be a problem. For me it is. I tend to use lots of objectifiers and modifiers; my use of adverbs and adjectives is not quite peerless but it gets up there. I do a lot of public speaking due to the fact that I teach a lot. (See? That last sentance can be trimmed considerably or even cut without losing any impact!) This means I have to keep the audiences’ attention. Sometimes it’s easier to throw out the patter so my mouth can catch up to what my mind wants it to say.

In writing, this can be a story-killer. While reviewing a critque I recieved during a contest I eneter last year, there was one very curt piece of advice: Eliminate “just” and “well” from the manuscript. It saved me almost a thousand wordds and made the story a better read. Huh? Well, it just did! Try it yourself. Reread one of your stories and see if dropping those two little words do anything for it.
Also remember, you have the story in your head. There is much that doesn’t get on paper; have someone read the story cold and tell you what confused them. I’ll bet lots of stuff like character descriptions and scenery descriptions never make it out of your neurons and onto the paper…

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