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I’m Hearing Voices In My Head… and That’s a Good Thing

6 of my Favorite Online “Dialogue Coaches”

Even though I’ve read thousands of novels over the years (yes, thousands), my first-time status as a novel writer has been showing itself when it comes to writing dialogue. Dialogue seems so easy when you read skilled writers such as Georgette Heyer or Dorothy Sayers. Both of them managed to create entirely distinct characters whose conversation is natural, charming, insightful and, in Georgette Heyer’s case, often laugh-out-loud funny.

Both these authors perfectly illustrate a core principle of novel writing, which is to show it, not tell it. For example, as I noted above, Georgette Heyer can write dialog that is both charming and funny. She doesn’t have to tell you that her characters are witty. They (literally) speak for themselves.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is the author who, incapable of writing either charming or witty dialog, fills her characters’ mouths with leaden commonplaces. Then, having left you feeling as if you’re at the world’s most boring office party, she tells you that “Count So-and-So was one of the cleverest people in court” or that “Our hero couldn’t get over how brilliant the object of his desire showed herself to be.” No, the Count was not clever and that desirable object was dull, not brilliant. With dialogue, you just can’t fake it ’til you make it.