How to kill your character

It doesn’t matter how well a novel is plotted or how exciting the action is, if the dialogue is flat or forced you lose your reader. Learning to write dialogue is a major challenge.

Nothing can kill a character faster than the words they speak. Dialogue is one of the main ways a reader gets to know a character.

There is good dialogue and there is bad dialogue and, depending on which you are writing, it will make or break your story. Nothing engages a reader more than realistic dialogue and nothing disgruntles a reader more than a phrase that is contrived, clichéd and unnatural; it will pull a reader away from your lovingly crafted prose quicker than a flat character or a thin plot could ever do.

Their personality is revealed in every word they speak, and in their actions, and it’s the writer’s job to make sure the dialogue is appropriate and sounds natural to that character. What to put in and what to leave out, so that you aren’t boring your reader with unnecessary dialogue and so your dialogue sounds natural, is also important.

It is not too much of a surprise, then, to discover that writing dialogue is one of the most challenging elements of fiction writing and one which takes time to master. This is a skill that can be learnt.

The next workshop at Gondor Writers’ Centre explores ways to make sure you aren’t killing your character every time he opens his mouth.

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Workshop: Writing believable dialogue: Tutor Elaine Ouston
Making the dialogue suit your character, add depth to the scene, and show emotion is an important part of making your character believable. In this workshop, we will examine how to make your character’s voice authentic by examining the speech patterns of people from different walks of life and learning what to put in and what to leave out.
Course cost: $50 One day—10am to 4pm.

Places are filling fast so book now on 54981 332 or go to the website and book and pay there.


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Robert Favretto
    May 02, 2015 @ 02:25:37

    Succinctly put, Elaine. This sounds like a great workshop at a bargain cost for anyone wishing to develop their craft.


  2. Elaine
    May 02, 2015 @ 02:30:13

    Thanks, Robert. It usually is a real eye-opener for writers. So much to learn to be the best.


  3. Tom
    May 03, 2015 @ 10:42:03

    Another good post based on an area of creative writing that many novice writers seem to judge badly, if at all. My own method is to print my manuscript at various stages during rewrites. At those times I sit in a room with no distractions (including music), and I read my work aloud. It comes as a surprise when I occasionally find something that is ‘out of character’ for the particular character.


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