Thursday, January 22, 2015

Janet K. Brown: Dialogue - It's Not Just Talk

Here is my diagnosis for making dialogue dynamic:

D  Different Goals
The best dialogue comes when two characters desire different goals from the conversation. This increases the tension.

Interview your characters
Find out how they would answer certain questions even if the questions aren’t posed in your manuscript. This deepens your knowledge of a character’s reaction.

A  Action
Fiction and non-fiction are similar to stage plays. Dialogue is more than words. We need gestures, body language, even moments of silence to set the stage.

L  Listen to your characters talk
Each character should have a distinctive manner, so readers recognize the speech without putting the name to the line of talk. Educated/use slang? Pet names? Recurrent phrases?

O  Out loud reading
Prose and poetry have meter in common. When you read your work out loud, does it have rhythm, cadence, and energy? Is it missing a word or is it three words too long? You can only tell by reading it out loud.

G Go along with the story
Dialogue should fit your story—does it show tension when applicable? Does it fit the mood—teasing & light or dark and heavy? The shorter the piece, the more important to inject a sense of time and place.

U  Use of dialogue
Dialogue only has three uses.
1.  Move the story along.
2.  Intensify characterization
3.  Both
If none of these apply, take out the dialogue.

E  Eliminate words
Dialogue should be concise. Eliminating words that we’ve slaved over and think are beautiful is hard,but sometimes necessary to strengthen.
One part of speech to eliminate almost totally is…
     Adverbs—like almost totally.
Beats or tags? Which is best?
          Beats = gestures/body language
          Tags  = he said
Sometimes using neither is best.

Summary advice to helping your dialogue:
1.  Read every day from your favorite writers- both in your
 chosen genre and in other genres.
2.  Periodically read or reread a writing craft book or take        an online course.

3.  Write something every day even if you delete and restart.

About Janet K. Brown:

Janet K. Brown lives in Wichita Falls, Texas with her husband, Charles. Writing became her second career after retirement from medical coding.

Worth Her Weight will be the author’s debut inspirational women’s fiction, but it makes a perfect companion to her recently released, Divine Dining: 365 Devotions to Guide You to Healthier Weight and Abundant Wellness. Both books encompass her passion for diet, fitness, and God’s Word.

Worth Her Weight marks Brown’s third book. Who knew she had a penchant for teens and ghosts? She released her debut novel, an inspirational young adult, Victoria and the Ghost, in July, 2012.

Janet and her husband love to travel with their RV, visit their three daughters, two sons-in-law and three perfect grandchildren, and work in their church. Find her on her website, on Twitter, or on Facebook.

About Worth Her Weight:

How can a woman who gives to everyone but herself accept God’s love and healing when she believes she’s fat, unworthy, and unfixable? Can she be Worth Her Weight?

LACEY CHANDLER helps her mother, her sister, her friend, and then she binges on food and wonders is there really a God?

BETTY CHANDLER hates being handicapped and useless, so she lashes out at the daughter that helps, and the God who doesn’t seem to care.

TOBY WHEELER loves being police chief in Wharton Rock, but when the devil invades the small town, he can’t release control.

Is God enough in Wharton Rock?

This inspirational women’s fiction is AVAILABLE NOW.

Pen-L Publishing



  1. Hi Janet, it's always nice to hear from an author whose work is new to me. Thanks for being on Write Right

    1. Thank you for stopping by, LoRee! It's always a pleasure. :)

  2. Thank you, LoRee. I love new readers. What a combination!

  3. Thank you for sharing your insight on dialogue, Janet. You make some good points.