Reading books is one of my favorite things to do. Every time in a while I'll come across one that needs a shot in the arm. It's an okay read, but definitely lacks pizzazz. When trying to figure out what ingredient was missing in a story I just read, I came to the conclusion that it was boring dialogue between and among the characters.
As a writer, you need to think about really listening when someone speaks. Are they mesmerizing or ho-hum? Are you moved by their snappy style or do you feel like snoozing while they are speaking? Reflect on the speaker who grabs your attention and keeps it. Think about the words used to make that speaker interesting; then work some of those words into your character's dialogue.
Writing with dialogue is a simple but very effective way to improve your story telling. Dialogue can bring a story to life by using a few lively vocal verbs and adverbs in place of the ho-hum "he said, she said" exchanges.
Vocal verbs: added, agreed, argued, began, bellowed, blurted, claimed, commented, confessed, demanded, explained, remarked, screamed, shouted, whispered.
Vocal adverbs: adamantly, adoringly, arrogantly, cautiously, cheerfully, cowardly, defensively, eerily, energetically, joyfully, meanly, meekly, mysteriously, pensively, and proudly.
There are many more vocal verbs and adverbs. Meanwhile, these should get you started toward some lively prose that will keep your readers coming back for more. Who knows, you may be the next Pulitzer prize winner!
Copyright © 2005 by Pamela Beers. All rights reserved.
By Pamela Beers
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