Complicated Dialogue: Keeping 5 Characters in Line

Fiction Notes at darcypattison.com

Today, I’d like to answer a question from a reader. Shena asks, “I’m writing a story and I have five people who are carrying on a conversation with each other. How do I go about stating each person’s line without constantly using, he said, he replied or using the person’s name to say this person […]

Fiction Techniques for Nonfiction

KentuckyBBallCover384-500

All those fiction techniques you’ve spent time mastering — dialogue, description, setting, mood, scenes, characterization, and plot — are equally useful in writing nonfiction. Yes, there is more leeway in nonfiction than in the last twenty-five years, but publishers still value creative nonfiction or fiction written with fiction techniques. For example, I have a new […]

Imperfect Dialogue: Making Characters Sound Real

soccer

I’ve been reading manuscripts lately and one thing keeps jumping out at me: dialogue that is too perfect. It’s grammatically correct, perfectly punctuated. And totally unreal. Characters don’t talk that way. Kid-characters, especially, in the midst of an exciting bowling tournament or soccer or other sports games do NOT talk in complete sentences. Use Sentence […]

2 Dialogue Tips from Studying SitComs: Just Spit it Out

everybody-loves-raymond-0

I learned that Sit-Coms just spit it out. On one episode of Everybody Loves Raymond, Raymond’s brother Robert comes over to take the kids to the zoo. Raymond realizes that the kids might even like Uncle Robert more than him. Robert actually spits it out: You’re not a good father. Of course, in a sit-com, […]