Friday, October 21, 2011

Learning Along the Way...Emotion in Dialogue

While revising my manuscript I noticed something...I write a ton of dialogue. I mean probably over half my story is dialogue. I haven't made up my mind yet if this is good or bad but I think I need to add a bit more narrative to avoid over telling.

I also realized I have a lot of angry characters. Why shouldn't they be? I've killed off half the members of their family. So while I have all these half crazed, angry, teen age warrior's running around they tend to get a bit nasty with each other some times. My job is to show their anger and express some of it through dialogue.

First thing, every one expresses anger different but there are some common elements. When people get in a verbal fight the goal is usually to say something to make the other person mad. The better you know a person/character the easier this is to do. You can attack their flaw's, looks, cast blame, defend yourself or destroy a dream. An angry person will often say things they don't even mean. The words are usually spilled out before a person has thought about what they are actually saying. Your characters should be doing this to.

When my characters are fighting I like to use shorter sentences and paragraphs. I don't like to bog it down with descriptions or narrative, the stage should already be set. I also write in physical movement the help keep the pace up.

If you have hints how your character's express anger I would love to hear them. As usual I get all my dialogue tips form Gloria Kempton's book "Dialogue".


  1. in my first draft it is almost all dialogue - its like I have to put in the skeleton before I add meat to the bones. Know what I mean? good luck in nanowrino.

  2. Thanks Shelly, I love the analogy. When I revise I will build my world up around.

  3. I remember another blogger saying her sister only read dialogue and skipped all the rest of a book. I was stunned, but it made me realize how important it is to have strong dialogue. (I came over from Shelli's. Nice to meet you)

  4. hmmm. I love dialogue. I also love having my characters be true to their dialogue. I spent a lot of time making their dialogue... magical.


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