Monday, June 27, 2011

No talking heads, please

Dialogue brings a story and characters to life, action creates movement, and narrative gives story depth and substance. Weave all three in your writing and you're golden!

My recent a-ha moment brought me back to Dialogue and the awesome book above.  
Some pointers:
  • No talking heads--make sure your characters are moving within the scene. Think motion-picture. Swoop in for the close-up and widen that lens to give the reader a more holistic picture of events.
  • Characters should always have a purpose in a scene.
  • When you find a long dialogue scene in your MS put yourself in your MC's head (thoughts and observations). Strategically place that information where the tension isn't interrupted.
  • Write a scene all dialogue, then all narrative, then all action and weave 'em together. 
Happy writing!


  1. No talking heads. Ha! You had me on the title. Thanks for the great reminders. Sometimes it's hard to remember great dialogue shapes the story.

  2. Definitely good advice. I also find it helps to read the dialogue out loud (although the dog looks at me funny) b/c then you realize if it's too stilted or there aren't any contractions or any number of the other things I do!

  3. Thanks Emily. I love a good title!

    Brenda, thanks for that tidbit. It does help.

  4. That's a fun exercise. I recently had to write a play, and this was how I felt. Stripped of narrative and having to focus first on dialogue and then action to make sure both were happening at the same time.
    It's evolutions baby.

  5. LOL Tanya, yeah. It is a good exercise. Thanks for commenting Christine.


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