Show Don’t Tell: Changing Monologue to Dialogue

June 3, 2015

This month I will be focusing on the wisdom of editors in my weekly posts on the writing craft. I’ve had the fortune of working with several amazing editors and have gleaned some excellent writing tricks from them.

So let’s start with one of my favorites.

Turn Monologue into Dialogue

It’s just like how it sounds.  Would you rather read an entire page of dense text outlining the character’s thoughts or would you rather they have a pithy conversation with another character on what is trouble him or her?

Turning monologue into dialogue can do two things:

1.) Explain a lot of back story in a normal back and forth conversation between characters.

2.) Reveal the inner thinkings of characters without droning on in monologue.

For Love of the EarlHere’s an example of the first point from For Love of The Earl:

“This is all your fault, you know,” Sarah said, her teeth barely opening long enough to get the words out. Her nostrils flared with greater force.
“I know,” he finally whispered.
“If you hadn’t taken off, your family would have been able to protect you. But you packed your things and left!” Sarah yelled now.
Alec raised a finger.
“I did not pack. There wasn’t time,” he said and watched the loathing flare in her eyes.

Here the reader is caught up on some lengthy back story as Book Two in this series opens directly in the action.  I was able to relay to the reader who may not have started with Book One exactly what has happened that has brought our two characters to this point without pages of monologue.

Next week, we’ll take a look at adding sexual tension like red pepper flakes to a bland marinara.


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