Every Monday, MYSTERY OF CHARACTER FEATURING SHANNON MUIR focuses on the art and craft of writing, from Shannon’s perspective or that of guest authors. To catch up on all posts, check out the MYSTERY OF CHARACTER FEATURING SHANNON MUIR portion of the website!
This week welcomes a guest post from author Julie Moffett.
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Guest Post from the Author
How I Handle Dialogue
By Julie Moffett
“Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.”
Familiar with this line of dialogue? If you said yes, then you are in good company with millions of people who recognize this line from Margaret Mitchell’s novel Gone with the Wind. Dialogue is critical to any novel and is an important tool to develop your characters and give the reader insights into their deepest feelings, fears and emotions. When dialogue is good, you don’t even notice the pages flying by. When it’s bad, well, it’s awful.
So, how do I handle dialogue? Carefully. Every writer needs to use dialogue to make their characters come alive – it makes them real to the reader. The narrative part of the story, including the setting and the action, is important, but it’s dialogue that makes your characters live. Here are a couple of things I do when writing dialogue.
- I use dialogue to express internal and emotional turmoil of my characters. Many times, the way someone says something means more than what they said.
- Stories tend to move faster when there is more dialogue. Dialogue is always an active part of my stories.
- I often use dialogue to show the reader my protagonists’ relationships to other characters in the story. This is a great way to show instead of tell.
- I sometimes use dialogue to heighten tension. Words can often have more than one meaning. I use that to my advantage.
- I use dialogue to replace narrative if the pacing seems slow. If weather is important to the story, have the characters talk about it, instead of having someone looking at the sky and thinking how cloudy it is.
- If a character is alone and there is no way to bring another character into the scene, then I sometimes have my characters speak aloud to themselves. It can be humorous and, of course, as someone who often speaks to myself, I can identify with this. It makes my character seem more human.
- Everything I make the character says should be important to the story. A novel has no room for incidentals, nonsense or pleasant chit-chat that isn’t leading up to something. Extraneous dialogue will slow the pacing.
- I try to make sure that the characters speak in the correct dialect with the right inflection based on their background and location.
- Secret tip: I often write a first draft almost entirely in dialogue. It really makes the writing go fast! J
Now, having said that, what is your favorite line of dialogue in a book or movie? Is there a memorable line of dialogue that will always be linked in your mind to a special moment in a book?
From the Featured Author
Genre: YA spy mystery
My name is Angel Sinclair. I’m the youngest senior at Excalibur Academy for the Technologically Gifted and Talented in Washington, DC. I was pushed ahead a year because of my high IQ and considerable prowess behind the keyboard, making me an outcast even among my own peers. I’ve been looking for my dad all my life. A brilliant mathematician and cryptographer, he disappeared under mysterious circumstances when I was 18 months old. Although my mom tells me I must put him in my past, it only makes me more determined to find out what happened to him. When weird accidents start happening at my school and the vice-principal is involved in a deadly accident, I don’t see it as a coincidence. After launching my own investigation, with the aid of an unexpected set of allies calling themselves the White Knights, I discover a threat far greater than I ever could have imagined. I could take my discoveries to the authorities, but my own investigative methods would be at risk. Can anyone say hacking? No, it’s up to me to set things right. My objectives are straightforward. Clear the name of the vice-principal, learn the truth about my father, and stay alive. In other words, save the day and try not to look too much like a dork while doing it.
About the Author:
Julie Moffett is a bestselling author and writes in the genres of mystery, historical romance and paranormal romance. She has won numerous awards, including the 2014 Mystery & Mayhem Award for Best YA/New Adult Mystery, the prestigious 2014 HOLT Award for Best Novel with Romantic Elements, a HOLT Merit Award for Best Novel by a Virginia Author (twice!), the 2016 Award of Excellence, a PRISM Award for Best Romantic Time-Travel AND Best of the Best Paranormal Books of 2002, and the 2011 EPIC Award for Best Action/Adventure Novel. She has also garnered additional nominations for the Bookseller’s Best Award, Daphne du Maurier Award and the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. Julie is a military brat (Air Force) and has traveled extensively. Her more exciting exploits include attending high school in Okinawa, Japan; backpacking around Europe and Scandinavia for several months; a year-long college graduate study in Warsaw, Poland; and a wonderful trip to Scotland and Ireland where she fell in love with castles, kilts and brogues. Julie has a B.A. in Political Science and Russian Language from Colorado College, a M.A. in International Affairs from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. and an M.Ed from Liberty University. She has worked as a proposal writer, journalist, teacher, librarian and researcher. Julie speaks Russian and Polish and has two sons. She greatly enjoys interacting with readers at her website: www.juliemoffett.com. You can also follow her by clicking on the following social media sites: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.
Check out each blog spot for an individual giveaway for an ebook of WHITE KNIGHTS and a magnet to each winner (US only)
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The Book Beacon – Guest Post
Just One More Chapter – Spotlight Post
YA/NA Book Divas – Spotlight Post
YaReads – Author Interview
thehufflepuffnerdette – Review
Eru Books and Recs – Review
Mystery of Character at Shannon Muir, Author – Guest Post
Crossroad Reviews – Spotlight Post
Roxy’s Book Reviews – Spotlight Post
A Dream Within A Dream – Spotlight Post
The Phantom Paragrapher – Review
Ginger Mom & the Kindle Quest – Review
RoloPoloBookBlog – Spotlight Post
Lisa Loves Literature – Interview
books are love – Review
Never Too Many To Read – Review
Smada’s Book Smack – Review
Reading for the Stars and Moon – Review
2 Cooks Crafting Books – Review