Even when your characters are a bit long-winded?
Well, thanks to Lisa Hall Wilson, I’ve got a few good tips that might help.
Adding beats to your dialog keeps the pace moving. Below are some of her suggestions to get the beats right and keep your reader engaged.
Make every beat count in a story.
- Show what the character is doing as they speak.
- Picking at a thread, twirling hair…
- Use tone.
- Soft, loud, hateful…
- Show how the character is feeling about what is being said.
- Sad, thoughtful, tense…
- Show the actions of other characters and ambient noises
- A minor character walking away, clinching fists…
- Strangers in the area
- dishes clinking
- People singing, arguing…
- Internal dialogue
- But, word of caution- don’t overuse or the action will slow down.
- Avoid too much stage direction with dialogue
- You don’t want the reader simply observing the scene taking place, like someone in a movie theatre.
Above all –
write beats that move the story forward and engage the reader.
Read more of Lisa’s suggestions for writing great dialogue at this link.
Writers, what do you think?
Do you write a lot of beats in dialogue?
Get any good ideas for your current work in progress?
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