Monday, 18 February 2013

A Guide To Writing Romance - Part Nine

The inspiration for my first novel, The Dashing Debutante, came from a scene that flashed into my mind of a man and a woman involved in a spirited argument. I wrote that scene down on a scrap of paper and created a whole story around it. I have always enjoyed writing dialogue scenes – for me they are the most fun aspect of creative writing. If done well, dialogue has immense power to move your story along. It’s a great way to end a chapter on an intriguing cliff-hanger, and it’s also a wonderful way to convey how two people relate to each other, as opposed to those long descriptive paragraphs about their relationship which could slow the story down.

Read on to find out more about writing believable dialogue from “The Guide To Writing Romance” online course:
Ninth Secret: Write believable dialogue
This is what people first notice about a book. If the dialogue rings true, it brings pace and energy to a story. It helps you “show”, rather than tell what your characters are like.

Dialogue should be the appearance of real speech. But if you’ve ever recorded people speaking, you’ll see they do a lot of repeating and um-ing and ah-ing. If you faithfully include all of this, your dialogue will become turgid and tedious.

The challenge for the writer is to give the appearance of real speech, without its drawbacks. Allow people to interrupt each other, have them not finish their sentences, but don’t let them go on long, circuitous repetitions.


Buy yourself a cappuccino as a reward for nearly finishing the first module of our Guide. Seat yourself strategically, where you can hear what other patrons are saying without being too obvious. Take a small recording device or notebook with you and eavesdrop shamelessly.
Write down exact words or, if you’re recording, transcribe it faithfully when you get home. Don’t just write down the gist of what was said. Try to get the rhythms and the quirks of vocabulary.
See how people stop, start and talk in parallel without listening to each other. If you’re going to be a writer, do this often. It will help you develop a feel for the way real people use language.



  1. I love a book that's pushed forward with dialogue and not with long descriptions - it's always easier to read and drags less. Maybe that's why I love writing dialogue too.

    Thanks for some interesting posts!

  2. Glad you're enjoying the posts, Kathy. It's a great writing course :-)

  3. Agree, Kathy! Eavesdropping comes in very handy...