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Few Things You Should Avoid In Your Story Dialogue|Golspen

Dialogue like the series of events in a story should advance your story, reveal character traits as well as keep the story pace. You should know how to write your story dialogue to achieve this aim. The purpose of this post is to share with you how to write a dialogue that sparkles. Before that, I want you to understand it is good to master conversation skills but wrong to apply how people talk in real life to your story dialogue. You will learn why and how as we go on.


What are the things you should avoid while writing your story dialogue?

Stay away from telling whenever you can

Show not tell may sound cliché but it’s still one of the keys to writing a great story. In real life dialogue, people tell what they feel. You hear things like, ‘I’m so excited,’ I’m sad,’ ‘I’m glad, and so on. This is normal in the real world because that’s how real people talk. But when writing your story dialogue, you need to pay attention to what people do while they say what they say and describe it. You don’t need your character to say how they feel except you must include it alongside the description.

 If your character says, ‘I’m happy, there should be sparkling of the eyes and the corners of the mouth drawn back, or even teary eyes when the happiness overwhelms.

Know how people of the era or place in your story talk.

If your story takes place in a different era or place, do not assume how the people talk. Your dialogue must show off the talking style, Otherwise, your story loses its quality.  If you are not sure, find out from those who know it well. Make a thorough research, watch movies if possible, ask questions, this will help you to avoid a plain or assumed version of the language. You must not write it if you are not sure of it.

Keep your dialogue tag functional

Some writers use description in their dialogue tag to replace a boring “he said”  “she said” tag. Do not do that. Dialogue tag in itself shouldn’t be descriptive. Its function is to let the reader know who is saying what. When you use tags like, “she shouted,”, “he roared out”, she screeched,”, you make the reader stop and think about them and that’s distracting.

Instead of using descriptive tags, show or describe the character’s action or body language at that time. Look a close look at the dialogue from Half Of A Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 

‘Train station? Arinze and I are not leaving until tomorrow, Mohammed,’ Olanna said. She almost ran to keep up with him. ‘I’m going back to my uncle’s house in Sabon Gari.’   ‘
Olanna,’ Mohammed started the car; it jerked as he took off. Sabon Gari is not safe.’
    ‘What do you mean?’ She tugged at the scarf; the embroidery at the edges felt coarse and uncomfortable against her neck.

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The Sleep Deprived Writer

Photo By: infosmi.net

Someone once said that he couldn’t remember the last time he had four-hour night’s sleep. Looking at him, there was nothing wrong with his appearance and daily performance. He seemed healthy and strong and went about his normal daily business. I guess he’s one of those extraordinary people around.

Sleep is as substantial as food, sound sleep is synonymous with good health and every adult human being needs at least eight hours of sleep every day to maintain a healthy body.

Unfortunately, it’s a busy, stress-filled life, with so much to do, so much to accomplish, little time. It becomes even harder for a writer, who needs the quietness of the middle of the night and early hours for better imaginative or factual writing.

Middle of the night is very essential to a writer. Taking this away from him is impeding his writing activity.

What Do You Do?

Do you go to sleep while loads of work await? Will you ever be able to sleep well with those unfinished projects everywhere? How can a writer ever sleep when all he has is quiet hours of the night?

I Stayed Awake At Night To Write.

When I started writing my first two novellas in 2013 – that was six years ago, I was determined to finish both of them in three months and  I stayed awake into the early hours of the morning, writing slept between 2 to 3 am just and woke up by 5 am on workdays.

It wasn’t hard for me to do because I was very passionate – a hundred per cent, you know, when you’re starting a project you’re passionate about and you have this burning desire to make it happen, I didn’t feel like I was sleep-deprived and physically, I was fit past a fiddle but that was not for long.

Three months later, and with continuous wake keeping, I began to notice a lot of abnormalities in my system. I felt tired and dizzy. I found it difficult to concentrate and hard to remember things. My digestive system felt funny with grumblings I couldn’t understand.

I also found out that, my writing turned bad and I needed to depend more on external aid to extract thoughts and ideas.

My writing process began to retard as I continued to feel very tired.

Funny enough even at this stage, it didn’t occur to me that the whole chaos within me was because of lack of adequate sleep. 

It happened that my body got so tired that it refused to keep awake with me anymore. That’s when I began to sleep by 10 pm at most to wake up at 5 am.  Lo and behold, after a week of sound sleep, I felt this peacefulness within me and every symptom I had disappeared. I felt my whole body was delighted and thankful.

What Happens To Sleep Deprived Writer?

      Photo by; seregalab.livejournal.com

A writer said that writing sleep deprived is like writing drunk. While writing, you think you’re at your best, and that you have come up with your best writing ever which actually read well to you, only to wake up in the morning to find out that everything you’ve written makes no sense at all.

Sleep deprivation can decay the mind and body and its damaging effect can lead to other mental and physical illnesses.

Understand that Sleep Impacts Mental And Physical Function Of The Body

Sleep impacts brain function in a big way. A healthy amount of sleep gives the brain, the ability to adapt to input. It means that with sleep deprivation, it becomes hard for the brain to process what is learned during the day and this interferes with thinking pattern and makes it hard to remember things.

The entire body system; the central nervous system, the immune system, the respiratory system, the digestive system, cardiovascular system and the endocrine system can all be affected by prolonged lack of sleep.

So, not just the brain and thinking pattern that get affected, but the entire body can be affected badly by prolonged lack of sleep.

Do this;

Write whenever you feel is best for you but please make sure you get adequate sleep at night, 7 to 9 hours will do.

It sounds unrealistic and easier-said-than- done right?

The truth is there is no better way to keep the body and mind sound than having a deep sleep at night as well as maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

I find the early morning writing more productive and there are writers who have discovered this time and think it’s the best time for them to write.

So, instead of staying awake at night most of the time to write, make use of early morning often and night hours a few times.

© Florence Ezekafor

The Writing Process – Overview

Starting from the time the idea hits you to the time your work sparkles like the stars of heaven,  all polished and ready to be published, a process of refinement or improvement is involved known as the writing process

What is the Writing Process?

The Writing Process is a series of stages involved in turning your idea, thoughts or topics into a refined and polished final product. In other words, it is a series of stages that all writers must move through to create their finished product.

All writers take their ideas, topics through these stages no matter what they are writing about, except of course it’s private journal meant for his eyes alone.

If a writer wants his work to be read by others without screwing up their noses, he must follow the writing process. No one publishes their first draft.

When burning with the urge to make his work more presentable, a writer”s passage through the writing process can be spontaneous in the sense that he passes through it even though he’s yet to hear about it not heard about it. But his walk becomes guided when he does. 

The Writing Process – Stages


Looks easy huh? From prewriting to drafting to revising to editing to presenting, right?

Wrong! Not always that easy

Writing Process Is Dynamic And Can Be Sometimes Messy.

Even though it looks and sounds systematic and reliable, it usually isn’t.

New ideas come up along the line to interfere with the process making the writer go back and forth, up and down the stages, in and out – returning to a stage he had already passed through, again and again. This impacts the writing process making it impossible for the writer to predict what is going to happen along the line or how smooth his writing process will likely be.

So the movement of a writer in and out of the different stages is recursive instead of progressive.

And Each Writer Moves Through The Writing Process in a unique way to suit his need.

So, a writer definitely decides how he passes through the writing process.

The diagram below shows how a writer may decide to pass through the writing process.

Once he walks into the process through prewriting, he controls how he moves to finally come out through presenting with the mistake-free product and beads of sweat all over his forehead.