I love me some dialogue.
I love writing it. Narrative? Not so much. But my characters are into dialogue.
Angie did a great blog post on dialogue. Go read it.
I’m really careful when writing dialogue to make sure it ‘sounds’ realistic, that it’s something real people would actually say. I do read it out loud.
Charlie reads my work and he’s a stickler for male dialogue, always red-penning the male dialogue that doesn’t sound “guy-ish”. I get a lot of “a guy would never say this” notes in the margins. He’s great for that kind of stuff because, obviously, I’m not a guy. I don’t think like one and I don’t talk like one.
When I did copyedits for Surviving Demon Island, the copyeditor wanted to change a piece of Derek’s dialogue. Derek and Gina were in a hot, passionate moment, and Derek wanted Gina to come over and lay down with him. The copyeditor wanted to change it to ‘lie’ down, making it more grammatically correct.
Nuh uh. Dialogue isn’t always grammatically correct. I didn’t make that change. Derek is not an English butler.
Original: Now come lay down on the bed with me and I’ll make you forget all your troubles
Suggested Change: Now come lie down on the bed with me and I’ll make you forget all your troubles
No ex military alpha male rough and kickass guy is going to say ‘lie’ down. At least not in my mind. Sorry. No change.
One word. One little word, but to me it changed my character. So I left it the way it was.
Dialogue makes your characters’ personalities. And every character is different, so their dialogue should differentiate one character from another.
If you removed every reference and dialogue tag from your book, would you be able to tell who the characters were? You should.
Off to write more dialogue.