book writing

Bringing Readers into the Conversations of your Characters

Bringing Readers into the Conversations of your CharactersRegardless of how engaged you readers are, they never get to put in their two cents worth during any part of your book’s scenes. But you as a writer very much want the readers to be watching and listening vividly as the characters interact with one another. Whenever any kind of conversation takes place with your characters, your very first task as a writer is to ensure that the spoken words are clear, they know which character is talking at any given time, they know where the characters are, and what the characters are doing.

Your next task regarding the dialogue of your characters is to get out of the way and allow the characters to fend for themselves. You want to let their words be their words and not yours. And you want the characters to convey exactly what is going on between them. Whenever you try to over explain what is taking place in the conversation, then you’re intruding on the conversation itself. So let us look at a few ways to bring readers into these conversations without intruding on them.

Write Suggestive Dialogue

Whenever we say suggestive, we are not talking about using dirty jokes or double entendres. The idea here is to create verbiage that sounds authentic but really isn’t. Whenever you read a transcript of a tape recorded conversations, everyone knows that when it’s put on a page, real speech is nothing but confusing and boring. Real speech is not very useful as dialogue. It is simply full of too many uhs, umms, digressions, sentence fragments, repetitions, and senseless babble. So the idea is to not duplicate real speech, but simulated in a way that sounds convincing while moving the story along.

Keep Attributions Clear

Attributions are separate tag lines that serve to identify who is speaking. There are several things that writers use to handle them in an efficient manner. The most common method is using the word “said”. When using the word said, the trick is not to use it too much or at intervals that are too close together. To readers, this word actually becomes invisible as they were usually skip the word and quickly move on to the dialogue.

There are also times when you need to punctuate and emphasize how the reader is saying the words. This is done by using words like called, replied, muttered, screamed, shouted, and whispered. And of course there is the word asked when your character is asking a question.

Be careful when you are tempted to use adverbs and adjectives. Using these can get you into trouble and clutter up your conversation if you are not careful. If you’re in doubt, then go with the safe attribution.

One of the best things a writer can do is to skip the attribution altogether. But before doing this, you must make very sure that it is clear which character is speaking. When this has been done, using no attribution at all can be very powerful.

Identify your Speaker at the Very First Opportunity

As a writer, get in the habit of doing this at the very start of your writing career. When you get this task out of the way at the start, you will find that your scenes will materialize much smoother. This is particularly important when your character has a lot to say that any one time. Otherwise your reader will have to read to the bottom that big paragraph to figure out who is actually saying the words.

Read more here >>

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

To Top