Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Writing tip Tuesday - Writing Romantic Dialogue
Here's some of my own tips for Writing Romantic Dialogue. I'd love to hear your tips and thoughts on how you write romantic dialogue.
1 - Dialogue should sound authentic, but not reflect real life too closely.
In real life people greet each other with:
"Hi, Sue. How are you doing?"
"I'm okay. You?"
"I have a little headache."
Dull and boring, huh? Try to strip as much of these exchanges that you can from your dialogue. Get to the heart of the matter by passing over pleasantries. Rule of thumb: Stay away from pointless chit chat.
#2 - Dialogue should move the plot forward, but not be an info dump.
When you use dialogue, reveal a little about your character, but don't go into a monologue that reads like an info dump.
"Lord Varga does not like garlic," said Lazlo.
Amelia arched an eyebrow. "I didn't know. Why?"
"It makes him sick."
"How interesting. Garlic is known for it's healing properties."
Lazlo pursed his lips.
#3 - Should I cuss?
Try not to, but remember there are times when it is necessary. If your characters gets their finger caught in a door, and the pain is immediate, they're going to cuss. Don't, however, liter your character's dialogue with cuss words. It makes your character unromantic and unsympathetic. It's more acceptable to write "he swore" than a cuss word.
"David took the money."
"What did he do with it?"
"I think he blew it on cigarettes."
Sam swore. That was all the money he had.
#4 - Dialogue shows passion
Ah, pillow talk. Flirting banter. Promises of seduction. All these types of dialogue "show" romance. And don't forget to use dialogue during your love scenes. Let your characters be playful. Show them flirting. Depending on the hero, if he's talkative, then being intimate with the heroine might be a time where he's quiet and more reflective.
"I didn't get a chance to tell you last night so I'll tell you now - I love you."
#5 - Avoid dialect in dialogue.
Why? Quite honestly, most authors can't do it well and readers who don't "get it" might find it a bit stilted.
#6 - You are what you speak.
The words characters say reveal who they are so make them shine. Are they educated? Young? Friendly? What do they value?
"Old lady Jenning's pig ran away again."
"Did you find him?"
"Sure did - down by the river."
"Did you return the pig?"
"I sure did. She said she appreciated my honesty."
#7 - Dialogue shows suspense
The lack of dialogue or reluctance to talk may heighten the suspense.
"Do you know what she wanted?"
"What was what?"
Write a vignette, no more than 500 words using one of the following sentences as a prompt.
Prompt #1 - "Josie, don't do that!"
Prompt #2 - "Aiden, you are such a rock."
Send it to me as an attachment to either: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org ATTN: Romance Dialogue Contest and I'll pick one which I will feature in my official JULY 2011 newsletter. Winner gets a $5.00 GC to Amazon.