No, this is not a long article lecturing y’all about using your quotation marks correctly.
Just so you know.
This is an article about how to write characters’ speech/dialogue and how to make things seem believable when they come out of your characters’ mouths.
- What age is your character? This is actually very important in creating believable dialogue. If your character is eight years old, you’re most likely not going to have him/her going around using vocabulary most adults don’t understand . Same goes for adults. I’m not saying that there aren’t exceptions (there are, definitely) but as a general tip, use your character’s age as a guideline.
- Where and when is your story set? This is especially important when writing historical fiction. You should research when certain phrases began to be used, the sort of vocabulary people from the era you’re writing about used, etc. For all you know, in the past, people might’ve called your average *insert random object* something completely different. Read up on the slang used in these time periods and in the specific area(s) you’re writing about.
- Personality quirks. Here’s where it gets interesting. Say your character never pronounces the letter ‘s’, for example. If this is a unique part of your character, make sure to use it in every sentence he/she says. “Zophia ztole the zugar and zent it to Zamuel!”, rather than “Sophia stole the sugar and sent it to Samuel!” Keep in mind the accents of your character, too. But don’t go overboard, with loads of your characters mispronouncing or talking phonetically. This may annoy readers, if done in excess.
Yeah. That’s it for now. Comment, like, follow, whatever: please?
It’s something a lot of us, as writers, need to think about. Whether it’s a short story, novel or even an epic, word count is very important.
In contests, going across the word limit may make you ineligible to participate. Word count helps you to track your progress on a piece. In programs like NaNoWriMo, word count is integral.
Many of us have a problem where we just can’t write enough. Others (like me) have a problem where we just write too much.
So, cutting down on words (and increasing them) is important. Therefore, this blog post is dedicated to… you guessed it. Word count tips.
For cutting down on words:
- Remove excess words. For example, ‘et cetera’ could easily become ‘etc’. ‘Hello there’ could become simply ‘hello’. If there is an extra word you’re keeping in for effect, cut it out. (Unless, of course, it’s integral to the plot). Words like ‘there is’ could also become ‘there’s’.
- Especially if it’s a story with a short word limit (for example, 500 or 1000 words), don’t be afraid to cut out long descriptions of hair color, eye color, etc, unless, of course, it is important to the plot. Do your readers really need to know that your main character is tall and sprightly, with raven black hair and green eyes that could rival the brightest beanstalk?
- You don’t have to ramble on to sound impressive. Remember, however much you’re tempted to write long, ornate pieces of prose, it does make a significant toll on your word count. Especially if you’re a person that tends to have more description than action, remember not to go on and on about something.
- Get straight to the point. You do not need to describe in detail your characters’ feelings before things really start to happen. You do not need to state what the problem is before it starts to affect your characters. If you do it right, these things will come without having to write long internal monologues. For example, if your character is a preteen who is nervous about her first day of middle school, there is no need to say, ‘Annabeth was so anxious, she nearly rubbed toothbrush into her face and brushed her hair with her toast.’ Instead, you could make Annabeth seem fidgety and distracted during her conversation with her friend while waiting for the bus. This serves the point of ‘show, not tell’ as well as helping you cut down on words.
- Don’t be afraid to hit the delete button and remove an unnecessary paragraph. If you value it so much, just save it in a separate document: or if you’re handwriting it, copy the lines elsewhere before you cross them out. This way, you don’t lose your work, and are still able to play by the word limit.
For increasing your word count:
- If you find that you aren’t writing nearly as much as you need to, don’t worry. You probably aren’t adding enough description, so after you finish your first draft, go back and write more about the parts that seem unconnected or terse. Even if it is only the smell of the hotdog that your character buys at the carnival, add it to your story. Using the five senses to add description only makes your story more believable.
- Don’t rush through the events. Rather, pace yourself, so you have enough tension building up to the climax.
- Tell us more about the problem(s) your character is encountering in your story. How does it affect them? What are the consequences? Remember, if your reader doesn’t know why the problem is a problem, it isn’t a problem.
And may I just say… the grand total of this post is 619 words. Oh yeah. 😀
Hello. Hello, to my readers, who are currently scanning this very post like a hawk searching the landscape for prey. Hello to all of you who have come across my blog.
My blog is not a baking website, nor is it a travel journal. It is a journey into the world of books: reading and writing them. On the more literal side, it is a website, one amongst the many on the World Wide Web. It is also, occasionally, a site where you can find irony, awesomeness and hilarious memes. 🙂
So, without further ado, I leave you pondering upon the
secrets of ink.