I am working on a new DCI John Blizzard novel at the moment and am at the stage when I am assessing what I have written so far, including a close look at the dialogue.
One of the golden rules of writing – indeed, probably the most important rule– is that every word must fight to earn its place on the page and that includes what can, at first glance, seem the most innocuous.
Words like ‘well’, ‘look, ‘listen,’ and ‘oh’, for example, can be excellent dialogue aids because they are used so often in real life speech that their presence on the page creates a sense of reality. Real people speaking to real people.
However, as writers we must always go back to the golden rule, and remember that such words must be used sparingly and only when they are truly needed. Too many of them in a novel will water down the effect. But if they win the battle to persuade you that they deserve to be there on the page, then so be it…
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