When you read your story, does it sound off, maybe you can’t quite put your finger on it, but you know you’ve done something wrong? Sometimes–maybe even lots of times–there are simple fixes. These writer’s tips will come at you once a week, giving you plenty of time to go through your story and make the adjustments.
Today’s tip: Use dialogue for character development; put exposition and story details into action scenes
There are a lot of rights and wrongs of dialogue. This one you might not have been aware of. It’s from Screenwriting U, but fits us fiction writers as well.
Beginning writers often fill their dialogue with exposition and story details, thus reducing the amount of character and creativity that shows up in that dialogue. Don’t do it.
Instead, put the exposition, information, and story details into the action and situations.
For example, instead of a trainer telling a new boxer that a certain philosophy doesn’t work, have him put the character in the boxing ring and learn it by having his ass kicked. Now, the trainer doesn’t have to lecture. In fact, he is free to talk about anything – breakfast, politics, his favorite dog, etc. – because the real meaning is being delivered through the action.
Please add comments with your favorite dialogue fixes.
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Jacqui Murray is the editor of a K-6 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, creator of two technology training books for middle school and six ebooks on technology in education. She is the author of Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.com, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, Cisco guest blog, Technology in Education featured blogger, IMS tech expert, and a bi-weekly contributor to Write Anything. Currently, she’s editing a thriller that should be out to publishers next summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.