Tag Archives: Writing Tips

The Patient Writer | Golspen

Work hard. And have patience. Because no matter who you are, you’re going to get hurt in your career and you have to be patient to get through the injuries.

Randy Johnson

The Patient Writer – Golspen

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.

Keep reading on Golspen. Follow me over there if you are interested in writing tips.

Why You Shouldn’t Give Your Book An Existing Title

As you browse through the book market, you will find out that there are many books sharing the same title. You ask yourself, is this a mere coincidence or intentional? I will go ahead and say that most of the times it’s coincidental. But how much respect will you give a book having the same title as a book which already has made a household name?

The following books by different authors, share same title:

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (1960)
Great Expectations by Kathy Acher ( 1994)
The Cave by Tim Krabbé
The Cave by José Saramago
The Doubles by José Saramago
The Doubles by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Presently, there is no law forbiding the use of an existing book title. In other words, there is no copyright attached to any book title. However, using a book title of a best seller may look like you’re trying to lure people into buying your book by using the title of a popular one. How cool is that?

If you are a factual writer, you may find avoiding an existing book title difficult. Nonetheless, you can make some changes to the existing title to create a unique one.

As a creative writer, it becomes imperative to give your book a unique or uncommon title. This unique title gives your book a special presence in the market. You need to be cautious with titles. You need to research your title well before publishing.

Think about branding your book. Things might go well and your book becomes popular and therefore ‘branded’. A ‘branded book’ is well sought after and has a unique name on it. Books like; Things Fall Apart, Harry Potter, Pride And Prejudice, Arrow Of God, Macbeth, to mention but a few are well sought after and therefore ‘branded.’

Common sense will tell you that a book can’t be that successful if it’s left to compete or be confused with other successful books bearing the same title, except if it’s published first and already successful before its rivals, as is the case witb Charles Dicken’s Great Expectations.

Since it’s allowed to use an existing book title, you might be conned into using one. Do not be tricked. it’s wise to avoid using such, if not for any reason, to prevent confusion and increased competition in the book market.