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People Don’t Say What They Mean

I love dialogue. I love writing it. I love reading it. Good dialogue can make a story sing. But good dialogue requires nuance. And authentic dialogue often means not stating things outright, because people rarely say exactly what they mean.

This is one of the keys to writing authentic dialogue. Because yes, sometimes we have the words and the bravery to say exactly what we mean in a clear and concise way, but most of the time, humans are much more inclined to talk AROUND things.

We’re mad because our significant other was late arriving.
Instead of saying, “I’m upset that you’re late.”
We say, “So, was traffic bad?”

We really want the guy we’ve been dating to kiss us.
Instead of saying, “I want you to kiss me.”
We say, “So, did you have to leave now, or…”

Someone has hurt our feelings.
Instead of saying, “That really hurt my feelings.”
We say, “Sure, sure, make fun of me. See if I care.”

We don’t want to be vulnerable about our feelings, so instead we hint at them in the hopes that the other people will care enough and be observant enough to be able to pick up on all our non-verbal cues and understand what we are feeling without us saying it.

This is why beats, facial expression, and body language are so important to include as well. Because if we’re in one person’s point of view, we want to be able to read the subtext of what their dialogue partner is meaning without them having to spell it out.

In crafting authentic dialogue, it’s essential to capture the subtleties of human communication. People often speak indirectly, using hints and subtext to convey their true feelings. Incorporating these nuances into your writing, along with thoughtful use of beats, facial expressions, and body language, allows readers to infer emotions and understand characters on a deeper level. You can create dialogue that not only feels real but also enriches your storytelling, making your characters’ interactions more compelling and emotionally resonant.

Clean Romance Highlights

Blood of the Dragon by Hypatia Rae.

She saved him once and he betrayed her.
Will she risk her heart to do it again?

Bride of the Sun by Jes Drew.

She flew too close to the sun.
Now he’s claimed her for his bride.
But can he woo her before she flies away forever?

And a COVER REVEAL for AJ Skelly’s Murder at Mistlethwaite Manor.

Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None meets The Gilded Age in this delicious, suspenseful murder mystery.
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