advice

Tips from the Editor

The Itchies and the Twitchies: Oh, For Heaven’s Sake, SIT STILL!

Mary tapped her lips with her fingers. “I’m not sure what to get Susan for her birthday.”

“I know what you mean.” Kris twirled her coffee cup around. “It’s really a problem.”

“Mary tucked a lock of her hair behind her ear. “I know.”

Kris took a bite of her sandwich. “Maybe we should ask Tom.”

A lot of newbie authors are frightened by stretches of dialogue that aren’t broken up by some sort of action. Rather than simply letting the characters talk, they fill the scene with so many insignificant gestures that the characters seem completely unable to sit still—as if they’ve been chugging Red Bull all day.

But, really, it’s okay to let those folks talk.

Tell us who they are, and who initiates this chunk of conversation. Then stand back and let ’em fly.

“I’m not sure what to get Susan for her birthday,” Mary said.

Kris nodded. “I know what you mean. It’s really a problem.”

“Maybe we should ask Tom.”

That works just fine.

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