In case you still aren’t reading her blog (you should), Patricia C. Wrede has been blogging for the past few weeks about how to handle dialogue. Well worth reading all of the posts. But this one I bookmarked to share:
Because I think the actions around dialogue are just as important as the words the characters say. And, as usual, PCW does a great job of explaining it.
I don’t know that anyone would agree with me on this, but I think my writing greatly improved when I started paying attention to how I present dialogue.
Early on, I would write something like this:
“Go away,” she said, turning her back on him.
It’s not horrible, but it’s clunky and unnecessary. Much better to write something like:
“Go away.” She turned her back on him.
In that recent pass through the first novel I wrote, I found myself removing a lot of “he said” and “she said” and replacing them with action beats instead. Or paring back to just the action beat. I think it really tightened up the writing and made it flow better.
Anyway. Something to think about at least.