In this edition of Tipster, we explore the importance of dialogue.
The one writing tip or hack or technique that covers a host of writing sins is this:
Use more dialogue in your writing.
In "Writing Tools: 55 Essential Strategies for Every Writer," Roy Peter Clark quotes novelist Elmore Leonard. Leonard advises writers to "leave out the part that readers tend to skip" and to focus on what they read:
What is it that readers skip?
"Thick paragraphs of prose you can see have too many words in them."
No One Skips Over Dialogue.
Look at something you just wrote. Does it have dialogue, a conversation between two or more people?
If not, add some dialogue.
How do you come up with dialogue?
Invent it. Imagine it. Create it.
This is where business books kill the soul. And why almost no one reads business and consulting books.
They are dreary clumps of dense paragraphs, a kind of "mansplaining" about the way the world works.
Here's a great quote from Roy Peter Clark:
"Human speech, captured as dialogue on the page, attracts the eye of the reader and, if done well, advances the story."
Dialogue Moves the Action Forward.
Last thought: "The writer who uses dialogue transports us to a place and time where we get to experience the events described in the story."
Here is an example of dialogue:
"Your Thanksgiving okay?"
"It was ten hours with my family that I'll never get back."
"That bad?" I said.
"It's not one of my favorite days of the year."
"Yes, if you count the tension of who should wear a mask in the house. The younger generation was more paranoid than my 80-year-old parents."
By the way, I had a great day yesterday with my family. Just saying.
Figure out a way to add more dialogue to your writing. You'll keep your readers engaged.