Good dialogue convinces the reader, depicts the characters and moves the plot. It allows your characters to interact and should be interesting and convey meaning.
It should be natural sounding and as credible as spoken conversation. It’s okay for your character to say ‘you know what I mean’ at the end of a sentence or start one with ‘let’s face it.’
Dialogue should be believable for the character speaking it – if your character is a teenager he or she isn’t going to sound or speak the same way a senior would.
Stilted dialogue makes your characters sound the same.
‘Hi Tony,’ said Katy.
‘Hey,’ Tony answered.
‘What's wrong?’ Katy asked.
‘Nothing,’ Tony said.
‘Really? You don't act like nothing's wrong.’
That’s pretty boring, so instead of writing a dialogue like that, you could try:
‘Hi Tony.’ Tony looked down at his shoe, dug in his toe, and pushed around a pile of dust.
‘Hey,’ he replied. Katy could tell something was wrong.
At this point, I’d also like to mention descriptive tags, those short one liners that are the life’s breath of a the romance novel. They’re the difference between a cold report and a sensuous story that lets the reader know what her characters feel. For example: ‘He reached out and touched her arm.’ So what? ‘He’ could be a stranger in the street, rather than the love interest in your story. But write, ‘The touch of his hand was suddenly almost unbearable in its tenderness,’ and you begin to feel the attraction between your two protagonists.
One issue new romance novelists have is moving body parts, such as:
His eyes caught and held hers.
His voice grated. (with cheese?)
His voice sang. (What tune?)
His eyes were full of half promises. (To mow the lawn?)
His stare drilled into her.
His glare burned through her. (Ouch!)
Unseeing, she stared past him. (If she can’t see, how can she stare?)
She was unwilling to face him, and unable to turn away. (If she can’t face him, how can she turn away?)
His lips left her mouth burning with fire. (Please, someone, pass the poor woman a fire extinguisher).
Her eyes told him everything she felt.
Her voice was like silken oak.
Romance writers want to entertain their readers, make them cry over the tender, emotional scenes between hero and heroine, not make they laugh out loud.
Nest week I'll be discussing setting.