Writing Tip #6 Loose Dialogue

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This is the sixth of 12 posts for Writers who are planning to self-publish using the great services now available to the amateur writer, such as Smashwords, Amazon KDP, CreateSpace etc.

These mistakes are straight from week1 of “Good Writing 101”. You might get away with one or two of them; maybe people won’t notice. But if you consistently break these rules your chances of building a career as an author will be doomed.

6. Loose Dialogue

Dialogue needs to be short and to the point. Forget ums and ers and verbal ping pong. This is an area where I continually stray and my editor has to drag me back onto the straight and narrow.

Detective Inspector Darius cracked his knuckles. “Give me the highlights, Sergeant.”

“So far we have very little to go on, sir,” said Sergeant Clooney. “It’s going to be the devil’s own job to identify the victim.”

“No sign of the head?”

Clooney shook his head. “I have gangs searching the woods—”

“What about the sewers?” said Darius.

“And the sewers. And we’re doing house to house, of course.”

“You’re not optimistic. I can tell from your expression.” The inspector stretched out his long limbs and yawned, and the sergeant bit his tongue. Darius was full of himself. One of those useless pricks that couldn’t find a pint in a brewery. The only thing he was good at was getting himself promoted on the back of the good police work of others.

“No, sir. We need to find the head.”

“And check dental records.”

“Yes, sir.”

Reduces to:

“No sign of the head?” Detective Inspector Darius cracked his knuckles.

Clooney shook his head. “I have gangs searching the woods and the sewers, and we’re doing house to house.”

The inspector stretched out his long limbs and yawned. The sergeant bit his tongue. Darius couldn’t find a pint in a brewery. The only thing he was good at was getting himself promoted on the back of the good police work of others.

 

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Guest Post: Laurence O'Bryan
A Washerman's Tale
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