O'Reilly logo

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

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

Chapter 9

Manner of Speech

Jeff Gerke

Most plot-first novelists rely on a funny way of talking for the beginning and end of their character-building work.

Ah, he’s the Scotsman. And she’s the one with the perfect diction and impressive vocabulary. He’s the one who always says, “Whatever.” She’s the chick with the lisp.

How are characters differentiated in movies? Easy: They walk on-screen. Instantly the audience perceives that she is not the other girl who was here earlier. She looks different. She’s taller. She dresses differently. She’s a blonde. But you can’t do that in a novel. You can write “Julie entered the room,” but that doesn’t do anything, by itself, to distinguish Julie from Hannah. You can keep saying, “She toyed with her blond hair” ...

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required