One secret to writing a page turner is writing authentic dialog that doesn’t jar the reader out of the atmosphere of your story.
In this post, I discuss three techniques for writing authentic dialog that will immerse readers in your story rather than making them cringe.
Time and Place
Write dialog that is appropriate for the time and place in which your story occurs. If you really want to immerse your reader in your writing, include current events in your storyline. World War II, the great depression or biblical times. Write about local news such as Mrs. Rogers having a difficult birth and Harry Wood being arrested for drunk and disorderly again last night.
Don’t forget to have people dress and act appropriately as well. Men wore hats several decades ago and there were no cellphones. Watch out for anachronisms (features out of time and place) such as Timex watches in an Elizabethan story.
Accents are a great way to convey time and place… just don’t get carried away and make your dialog unreadable (e.g. Scottish accents). All it takes is one “aboot” instead of an “about” and I know I’m in Canada. Add an “ay” to the end of a sentence and you instantly place your scene in New England.
Don’t use modern lingo (e.g. surfer dude talk) in a period piece. Keep your dialog appropriate to the setting of your story.
This is where research pays off. If you know that location of your story well or perform sufficient research, you can include local colloquialisms in your dialog (e.g. surfer dude talk). Use local expressions and words to convey place. This is the level of writing you want to achieve to keep your readers absorbed.
Writing Authentic Dialog
Keep your readers engaged!
I’ll see you in the classroom,