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

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Chapter 11

Handling Dialect & Jargon

Jack Smith

Great fiction almost always includes great dialogue. As with drama, we get to know characters by what they say and by what others say about them. If the dialogue is flat, the characters will be flat. If the dialogue seems off, or not believable or real, we won’t trust the characters as authentic beings. Grant Tracey, author of three story collections and editor of the North American Review, emphasizes the importance of dialogue in solid character development: “Dialogue is about giving characters space to breathe, to step out from the author’s controlling voice to speak from a real authentic place of their own. Through dialogue characters are at their most autonomous and free.” It’s this distinct ...

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