Watch what you say…

Posted on Aug 31, 2017 by   No Comments Yet | Posted in Blog

Allie PleiterOr rather, watch what your characters say.

By Allie Pleiter

Strong dialogue is one of the most powerful ways to set yourself apart and catch the eyes of an editor or agent. It’s also one of the strongest ways to engage your readers. Think about it—don’t you love the character who says just the right thing at just the right time?

Dialogue can do more than just convey information. Wielded with skill, it can do all kinds of “double duty” that take your book from good to great.

In my upcoming September online class for FF&P, we’ll be exploring some of those secondary super-powers such as:

  • Instantly revealing a character’s full personality
  • Establishing a scene or circumstance with a single line
  • How to let your character lie effectively
  • Realistically conveying anger, excitement, and other strong emotions
  • Giving your characters something flat-out surprising to say
  • and more…

Description can add depth, plotting keeps the pages turning, and complex characters keep our interest, but it is dialogue that truly captures our hearts as a reader.

If you can’t take the class, here’s an easy tip for upping your dialogue game: find the screenplay.  Take a scene from a movie—one you love or a scene you’d like to emulate in your current work—and go find the screenplay. Official screenplays and unofficial transcripts can often be found with a quick internet search. Then, take a look at the words aside from their delivery onscreen. How are the sentences structured? What’s the pace of the interplay? Long words? Short words? Repetition? All of these will give you clues how to formulate your own memorable dialogue.

Keep on writing and I’ll see you in September!

More About the Author:

An avid knitter, BBC Television geek and French macaron enthusiast, Allie Pleiter writes both fiction and non-fiction working on as many as four novels at a time.  The enthusiastic but slightly untidy bestselling author of over thirty books, Allie spends her days writing, buying yarn, and finding new ways to avoid housework.  Allie hails from Connecticut, moved to the midwest to attend Northwestern University, and currently lives outside Chicago, Illinois.  The “dare from a friend” to begin writing has produced a seventeen-year career with over 1.3 million books sold.  In addition to writing, Allie regularly speaks on faith, the creative process, women’s issues, and her very favorite topic—time management for writers. Visit her website at or her knitting blog at to learn more.

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