Are You Still Speaking? Revisited

I keep coming back to the notion that what is unsaid is as important as what is said. This can be something that is implied through non-verbal communication, like fiddling, through what they avoid saying, or through a meaning beyond what the characters’ words. This can sound difficult, and it can be made to sound … Continue reading Are You Still Speaking? Revisited


A Phrasing All Their Own Revisited

People have different ways of phrasing things whether it’s colloquial, individual, or passed down a family. It could be a verbal tic, an unusual saying or unusual grammar, literally anything. Simply because these things aren’t conventional doesn’t mean we can’t give them to our characters, giving them these quirks makes them more real to readers. … Continue reading A Phrasing All Their Own Revisited

Building Banter Revisited

We may think of ‘banter’ as intrinsically humorous and it can be but just because characters don’t have a funny relationship doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have a back and forth. They could be characters that the read knows hate each other but they have to make the appearance of liking each other which creates a … Continue reading Building Banter Revisited

Trimming the Fat Revisited

Part of making speech successful in prose is by cutting out the unnecessary bits. As I’ve mentioned before characters don’t have to say hello every time they walk into a scene and readers will accept it. Other things to watch out for can be repetition, verbosity, too many umms and ahhs. Even if we have … Continue reading Trimming the Fat Revisited

Individualising Speech Revisited

When we talk about individualising speech we’re talking about what people say and how they say it. What people say is as important as how they say something but this can be overlooked in favour of the more conspicuous, how they say it. What we mean when we refer to ‘what people say’ is simply … Continue reading Individualising Speech Revisited

Adding Some Sparkle Revisited

Now we've looked at the technical side of dialogue lets start considering the how we bring it to life: Monday - Individualising Speech, What do we mean by this? Tuesday - Trimming the Fat, Keeping things direct. Wednesday - Building Banter, Having back and forth between characters. Thursday - A Phrasing All Their Own, Considering … Continue reading Adding Some Sparkle Revisited

Mixing in Monologue Revisited

A monologue is a single character speaking, think of the internal monologue, as opposed to dialogue’s two or more. This can be internal or external or a mix, a character may even argue with themselves but unless that other self is depicted as an entirely different character, think of the devil and angel on the … Continue reading Mixing in Monologue Revisited

Backing Up Backstory Revisited

When we talk about backstory it can be easy to assume that it is explicit along the lines of ‘When I were a lad…’ (a little colloquialism for you). However, backstory can implied through what a character says, how they say it, and what they don’t say. The final one might sound odd in an … Continue reading Backing Up Backstory Revisited

Dabbling in Dialect Revisited

Dialect is closely related to grammar in speech because the two are so often linked. Often a heavily colloquial voice will have non-standard grammar, but a very upper-class voice might also because they have their own form of dialect. As an example British English is rife with these sorts of contrasts because it is so … Continue reading Dabbling in Dialect Revisited

Elliptical Ellipses Revisited

The basic function of an ellipses [… ellipses are always three stops, never more or less] is to create a hesitation or have a character trail off; examples might be trailing off before finishing a well-worn phrase because everyone knows how it ends or because they don’t know what to say. The full stop, on … Continue reading Elliptical Ellipses Revisited