Writing Reader Observation #5

book

Chit Chat

Specifics have been changed because I don’t remember them and I don’t watch the shows and to protect…well, there’s no innocent here so…onwards.

I recently read dialogue like this in a book calling itself romantic suspense. The conversation between three women revolved around a reality tv show.

“I just love Bachelor Dating Bash. Didn’t you just love it when Jason picked Gabriella? Wasn’t it the greatest?”

“I know what you mean. She was my favorite. I was so glad Deborah wasn’t chosen.”

“She was pretty bad. But Angie was the worst.”

“I know, right?”

“Her shoes were perfect though.”

“I hated her hair.”

The conversation continued in this vein for a whole page.

So what’s wrong with this conversation? It sounds like one you might hear while getting coffee in the morning. It sounds so real. That’s good, right?

It sounds real but it does nothing whatsoever to further characterization or the action of the novel.  Also, if your reader doesn’t follow the show, you’re losing that reader for the entire page and perhaps for the rest of the book because they tossed it somewhere.

Lesson Learned: Avoid dialogue that neither furthers the plot nor shows character. Small talk can bore the reader. Keep it interesting!

 

Resource:

Writing Dialogue That Works

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6 replies »

  1. Great observation. One way I use dialogue to further a character is to let them speak with distinguishing vocabulary, idioms or idiosyncrasies. Some dialogue I read seem so static, so I follow – speak – action – speak.

    • I think this is a great way to distinguish characters. I keep trying to remember (when you write it like that it’s never good, is it?) to do this in my own writing. Everyone you encounter frequently has a catch-phrase.

    • I certainly didn’t see it in Spooning Daisy. (I’ve only seen this in one published book. It happens a bit more in self-published books.) You have a lot of witty dialogue, I guess “banter” is the word, but it furthers the character and makes the reader chuckle.

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