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Crafting Dynamic Dialogue by Cheryl St. John, Writer's Digest Writer's Digest Editors

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Chapter 5

Strengthen Your Dialogue

Jerry Cleaver

Some writers freeze up when it comes to putting words in their characters’ mouths. “How does he talk?” “What would she say?” “It comes out so stiff, wordy, detached.” So, what should you do?

The first thing, always, is: Put it down anyway. It’s better to write poor dialogue than to write no dialogue. Lower your expectations; take off the pressure to write well. It’ll actually help you write more and write better.

Before getting into specific techniques, the how of dialogue, you need to understand the why of dialogue—dialogue’s place in story.

The biggest mistake you can make with dialogue is treating it as something separate from the story. If you think you have a dialogue problem, you, in fact, ...

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