“Now let me tell you…” Unless your character needs to drop the villain’s master plan version of a monologue. Don’t do it. Even if it’s the monologue…rethink it. Please. Its like word vomit and no one needs that. There is a benefit to removing extra words. Your story moves faster.
Example: “My, what a lovely day to go walking in the park, isn’t it?” – 13 words
The fix: “Nice day for the park.” – 5
An 8-word difference yet the same sentence. It’s the art of Compression. We tend to write two different ways. We write how we speak or attempt to write stronger than we speak. It’s a case of “How do you do, sir?” vs “What’s up?” Both work but at differing levels.
What’s up? I am all about cutting the fluff in the way I communicate. Sometimes. I am also a goofball and happy with fluffy things. So, sue me. Now run along kiddos and refill your cuppa and steal the last donut from the breakroom. I love the lemon filled ones that no one makes anymore. ARGH! WHY?! They are soooo good. **I whine as I munch on a rice cake with peanut butter. ** Sigh. Go on, get your copy of How to Write Dazzling Dialogue by James Scott Bell and meet me in the Compression section of chapter 6.
Good morning Mr. Bell. I do hope I have helped sell some books for you.
Let’s cut the fluff. Go back and read some of your dialogue. Now read it as if you were actually saying it. Would you say it as it is written? No? Then fix it. I have found the older the book the more fluff. They wrote as if they were characters in and Austenian world. Filled with “wherewithal’s” and “yonders.” We no longer speak this way…We don’t talk like that.
Don’t Forget About Silence
Have you ever asked someone a question and all you heard was silence? Silence is an answer. Don’t forget the silence. If you can’t successfully use a “sidestep,” silence can work in its place. Some of the most powerful scenes in movies are when the character has no words to offer. The pensive stare. The look of amazement. Silence.
Controlling Pace Through Dialogue
Do you need to slow your pace? Add more description between dialogue. Speed things up? Shorten words, less description. Remove the fluff. It’s called “white space” on a page. To move quickly you have more empty space. No pauses, no descriptions.
Slower means more words, less white space. Fuller and more detailed descriptions. Showing us in great detail the color and structure of the roses you bought for your truest love. In the end your reader will have no question about what has happened. No blanks to fill in. No subtext.
It is up to you to decide your pace and how it moves. Remember these tricks and things should flow nicely.
I lied. One more.
Gems and Spice
Slap on the sparkle and spice up the scene. Add in that sequence that captures all the senses. Make your reader remember it days, weeks, and even years later. It’s that scene in a movie that causes the hairs on your neck and arms to stand up in a good way. You may even gasp a little. That’s the gem. That’s where people start using the words you put on the page as their own.
Please remember that I am not trying to write this book for you word for word. I am skipping a lot of detail. I highly suggest you purchase the book and read between the lines.
Polish your sparkle and keep twirling.
Find joy. Be joy. Enjoy.
I’m always looking for new friends!
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