Writing Seamless Dialogue

Any one that follows me, knows I write blogs on the issues I am having. I figured that if I was having problems with a certain aspect of writing, my readers probably were too. Especially the newbies like myself.

Well one of the areas I experienced problems with was dialogue. I had an agent to return my work and tell me my dialogue was dragging. What was that suppose to mean? My people were having conversations and I thought they were pertinent to the story.

At any rate, after doing some research, and reading novels with my attention focused on the dialogue, I think I cracked the code 🙂

Dialogue should be seamlessly integrated into the story.  It should flow. If you can feel yourself reading, stopping for a brief conversation, and then reading again, something isn’t quite right.

Conversation works best when combined with thoughts, actions, and settings.  Don’t separate them but interweave them. People don’t stop to talk, they keep doing what they are doing unless it’s something really important that demands their full attention.

You can integrate by using setting, thought, and action in combination with dialogue.


The day had been crazy but it wasn’t over yet. Walking into the conference room, Mark  found Ellen sitting at the head of the table preparing packets for their upcoming meeting.

“Sorry I’m late,” he said walking over to offer assistance.

Handing him a few, she looked him in the eye, anger and disappointment written all over her face, “Isn’t that your norm?”

Mark grasped for something to say that would ease the tension between them and get him through this day. Staring at the packets he was at a loss. What she said was true and he couldn’t explain why. At least not now.

Easing herself up, she walked by him without saying another word.

“Well that didn’t go well at all,” he said quietly to himself as he continued to prepare for the meeting. He would attempt to smooth things over with his secretary later, but for now he had a business to save.

By interweaving thought, action, setting and dialogue, the scene moves forward seamlessly. I hope 🙂

If you just use dialogue you are witnessing a conversation. When you begin to interweave thoughts, actions, settings and dialogue you are pulling your reader in and making them a participant.

A really good exercise to help understand and follow this concept would be to write a simple conversation with no tags or anything.  Read it. Now go back and add tags. Read it again. Now go back and add more tags or actions. What was the person doing during the conversation? What about setting.  Where were they during the conversation?  You can even add thoughts. These aren’t conveyed through the conversation but because we are on the outside looking in, we can get a better idea of where the character is coming from.

Hope this series on writing dialogue helps you in your endeavors.  Would love for you to join me on this journey. Please consider pushing the follow button and you will receive a notice any time I write a new blog. Also if you have any comments or questions I would love to hear from you.

Something to think about.

-Jan R

Writing Seamless Dialogue

Don’t Rush To Get Published

If you’re new to the process, you’re going to make mistakes. I’ve made them all. Well, I haven’t tried to self-publish so maybe that was an over-exaggeration, but not by much:-)

Everybody wants to get published. Once my story was written, I didn’t hesitate to send it out. I knew it had a few grammatical errors. There’s no way you can catch them all. That’s what an editor is for – right? My story was so good, or so I thought, an agent would jump on it and make sure mistakes were corrected so it was ready for publication.

Well, that wasn’t exactly what happened. I’ve written numerous posts outlining the errors I made in that first very rough draft. When you begin your writing career, odds are you don’t know what you don’t know.

I received a rejection letter from every agent I submitted to with the exception of one, who I like to think saw a promising new author in that mess somewhere. She rejected my work as well, but praised what was right and pointed out what was wrong.

Her list was long and I was more than a little shocked once I realized how rough that first draft was. She used words like head-hopping, writtenese, and dragging dialogue. That didn’t even count the grammatical and structural errors. You know, the ones the editor was going to correct 🙂

Do your homework and remember, that the first draft is the first draft. Get it done, then get it good.

Something to think about.

-Jan R

Don’t Rush To Get Published


I took a few month break from my blog. It was a mistake on many counts. What started out as a need to get away from everything turned into several months of doing nothing.

When I first started this blog about five years ago, I never missed a post. It wasn’t until this year that I got slack and decided it wouldn’t be the end of the world if I skipped a week. Well if you’re following me, you know that week turned into months. The more I skipped the easier it got.

Writing novels, poems, songs, whatever you’re interested in, can become the same way. Especially if you’re dealing with discouragement due to writer’s block, or rejections. If you’ve been around for a while, you’re going to face both of these dilemmas.

One of my favorite blogs is Battlefield of the Mind. I got the title and idea from a Bible study I participated in years ago. The study was wide sweeping, covering every aspect of life, whether you were a Christian or not.

The reason I brought this blog up is our mind is where it all begins. Not just our story ideas, but our motivation and ability to complete what we start.

What is your mind telling you? You’re not good enough? You’ll never have an agent? You might as well give up? It’s okay to take a break?

The problem with taking the break, is you get slack. It’s easier to skip the next time, and the next time, and the next time. Before you know it, you’re not even thinking about that blog or whatever else you’re writing, it’s been put on the shelf to gather dust.

Don’t give up! Keep moving forward! Write! Write! Write!

Something to think about.

-Jan R