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Writing Dialogue

While noodling around the internet, after following a number of links and then following their links I happened upon an interesting site: Write and Publish Your Book. In fact, I landed on the current lead story: Common Mistakes for Beginning Writers (written by Nancy Moore).

What leapt out at me the most was that I have been guilty in my own writing of at least 3 of the errors and, had I written more, I am sure I could hit all 8 easily. I won’t list out all the errors since I have linked to the site and believe that you should read the page itself. What I will say is that I have read many many books and errors number 1 & 2 on the site are something that really annoy me.

If your character says something, have them say it, don’t have them declare, speak breathily, announce or anything else unless it is necessary to the character or their situation – if they are in a coffee shop they would usually “say” something. If they are secreted in a warehouse watching a drug deal, then have them whisper. Any other words are usually unnecessary, if your character is announcing something and you have already set them up in a situation where they will announce, don’t say “they announced”, it’s redundant. He expostulated.