3. Set the Tone
Speech can set tone. Are your character’s angry? Are you showing just that in the way they are talking to each other? Are they in love and are you being mushy and overly ‘hearts and flowers’ to show it? The cumulative effect of your dialogue can set the tone for your book and how the readers perceive it.
“Hey! Ya you. What in the heck are you doing not paying attention to me? I have worked frickin’ hard on this and you have the gall to go get a cuppa coffee!” What is the tone? Am I mad cuz you weren’t paying attention? Maybe I was ticked you didn’t offer to bring me a fresh cuppa. Who knows…I have issues. Oooo, coffee. With that reminder, go get a fresh cuppa, while I pour myself one. Today, I have a nibble. I had a craving for a good old fashioned pb&j. Creamy peanut butter with elderberry jelly. Perfect. Grab what you are hankering for and dig out your copy of How to Write Dazzling Dialogue by James Scott Bell. We will move forward when I finish this awesome-sauce sandwich. See you in a few.
4. Set the Scene
Remember a book you have read in the past. Where was it set? How do you know? It is possible to set the scene through dialogue. As your characters are talking to one another they could describe where they are, or the setting.
Example per Mr. Bell:
“Man, this place is creepy. What’s with all the hanging vines?”
“I hate San Francisco! I hate all the hills and the fog and the superior attitudes!”
You also have the ability to set the dynamics of the scene as well. Your character can get mouthy with a testy detective in a murder mystery or a teenager mouthing off to their teacher. Its all about bouncing dialogue off the characters and having them react.
5. Reveal Theme
What is your theme, and can you find it within the words your characters use? Now, let’s ensure our characters have real things to say and aren’t playing the role of mouthpiece to the story. To do this your dialogue should feel natural. Like it is meant to be there.
Now that we have a general idea behind the purpose of dialogue in fiction- next we will learn about training our ears to recognize it.
** I know this post is short, I don’t want to jump into a new topic at the base of an old one. My next post will move to Chapter 4: Training for Dialogue. **
Stay tuned my werd nerd friends.
Polish your sparkle and keep twirling.
Find joy. Be joy. Enjoy.
I’m always looking for new friends!
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