I’ve had a few rejections, and every time I get the same feedback, I feel like I’m a broken record. I keep getting told I either have inauthentic or not enough dialogue. I feel like I’ve just hit a brick wall, and can’t quite work out where I’m going wrong, or what exactly I need to do moving forward. Any advice you can give me on how to write effective dialogue would be greatly appreciated.
You are not alone when it comes to the struggles of writing authentic dialogue, or even just getting the right balance between enough of it versus the narrative of the story. So don’t worry! Dialogue is essential in a Romance because it allows the reader to have a direct link with your characters and their voice.
So, when you first start thinking about your hero and heroine, as well as thinking about where they came from, what has shaped them, what they have to overcome (yes the list of what you have to know about your characters is endless!), why not make a few notes about how they would speak. Are they measured and calculated, thinking in their head first before they speak? Or are they more spontaneous, spilling exactly what they’re thinking first? Do they ever raise their voice when in situations of high stress? Or do they struggle to get the words out when they’re upset or emotional?
Once you’ve mapped out how your characters would speak and what their idiosyncrasies are, as you write, why not try saying what they have to say out loud? It may be embarrassing at first, but the more you do it, the quicker you’ll be able to hear not only if their conversations flow, but if how they’re saying it is authentic to the characters you have created. Keep asking yourself, is this conversation believable?
Just how much is too much?
Secondly, when considering how much dialogue to use, in this instance, sometimes more is better! Not only does it help your readers connect with your characters, but it helps with the pace of the story. More turning points should be revealed through a conversation rather than through the narrative of the story. Readers will instantly see how your characters react, what they’re feeling and what will happen next. For example, nobody wants to the magical moment in the book to be revealed in the third person! ‘And then Marco said I love you,’ it just doesn’t have the same impact as him saying it himself, pouring his emotions out! So why should all the other turning points/black moments or even the more simple moments not be explored through dialogue. Keep thinking to yourself, can my characters say this instead of the narrator? And if the answer is yes, then let them speak for themselves. Ultimately it all comes down to having the confidence to let your characters take over.
And never forget, writing dialogue should always be fun. You have the power to give your characters a voice, enjoy it!
The SOLD Editors x