Bite Size Writing Tips: Dynamic Dialogue Part Four

Here’s part four in my writing dialogue series. If you missed part one, click here. For part two, click here. For part three, you’ll find it here.

Now for part four:

‘He said’ or ‘she said’ are fine as dialogue tags. There’s no need for lots of variations e.g. he/she yelled, shouted, screeched, shrieked, expressed, explained, commanded, announced, intoned, stated, breathed, muttered, murmured and so on. Too many of these detract from the actual words of dialogue and they slow the pace.

If there are only two characters having a conversation, establish who they are and then you can do away with dialogue tags all together e.g.:

“Where were you last night?” Tom asked.

“At my mother’s,” Chloe said.

“I rang her at nine o’clock and she had no idea where you were!”

“Did I say my mother’s? I meant Melanie’s. I went to see Melanie.”

“Who on earth is Melanie?”

“I went to school with her. I bumped into her the other day in town and she suggested I go round one evening.”

“What a load of rubbish!”

See how it’s easy to tell which words are Tom’s and which Chloe’s.


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Need Some Inspiration?

Stuck for something to write about? I often find a photo starts the creative juices flowing. Here’s one of an old ruined abbey. What happened there all those years ago? What about now? Could there be a ghost haunting the ruins? Or perhaps a homeless person stays there – what could their story be?

Let your imagination loose…

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Can You Tell A Story In…

It’s that time of the week – five-word challenge time again! For this week’s challenge, can you tell a story in five words, using the word Teeth in it somewhere?

Last week, your story needed to contain the word Nightmare. You sent in some great stories. Here they are:

Chelsea Owens:

Not all nightmares involve shopping.

He finally succumbed to nightmares.

Though awake, her nightmare lingered.

He named the stallion Nightmare.


Recurring nightmare. Incubus beds woman.

Nightmare. Morning stallion. Noon foal.


Tank full. Purse forgotten . Nightmare!

Even my nightmares don’t scare.

Report writing – every teacher’s nightmare.

Simon Farnell:

Traffic is a total nightmare!

Nightmares were never far away.

Eyes watching, waiting. Nightmares hidden.

A J Shawer:

(Evil-teethy-grin) “WELCOME TO YOUR NIGHTMARE!”

Flying economy is a nightmare.

(Smirks) I give Freddy nightmares.

Roberta Writes:

Will this nightmare ever end?

Is corporate life a nightmare?

Do nightmares scar you permanently.

Ruth Scribbles:

Nightmares repeat night after night.

You are my biggest nightmare.

My nightmares turned into daymares.

Val Fish:

Nightmare neighbours; in-laws moving in…

The Nightmare Before Christmas?

Shopping! Nightmares; All in the mind.

Sharon Harvey:

The nightmare woke me up.  

A horrid, terrible nasty nightmare.  

I awoke from the nightmare. 

Sweat accumulated from the nightmare.

It’s a nightmare that’s all.


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Markets For Writers

Have you got a passion for poetry? Then you might like to take a look at The Writers Bureau‘s annual poetry competition. The closing date is 31st July 2019 and the first prize is £300. Their competition page is certainly worth a look, as there are some helpful tips for entering poerty competitions.


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Funny Of The Week

Well, they’ve got a point…or ten…

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Photo credit: Tumblr

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Bite Size Writing Tips: Dynamic Dialogue Part Three

Here’s part three in my writing dialogue series. If you missed part one, click here. For part two, click here.

Tip three: You want your dialogue to sound realistic, but if you listen to people talking, every day speech is full of ‘um’s, ‘ah’s, ‘er’s, ‘you know’s etc. Don’t add these to your dialogue. The odd one is okay if you’re trying to convey a character who’s undecided, but they’re not necessary and slow the pace of the story e.g.:

“I told her…um, well, I said I didn’t know she was going to, ah, er, do, you know, that. Um, I couldn’t…well, er, I couldn’t believe it.”

See what I mean! The meaning becomes lost and it’s very laboured. Here’s the passage without all the ‘um’s and ‘ah’s.

“I told her…well, I said I didn’t know she was going to do that. I couldn’t…I couldn’t believe it.”


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Countdown To The Bloggers Bash…One Week To Go!

Four years ago, I found myself wandering around outside The British Library, in London, trying to look casual, while out of the corner of my eye, looking for fellow bloggers, who were gathering for the first Annual Bloggers Bash. Could I see any? No. Perhaps I’d got the date wrong? Or maybe I was in the wrong place?

Just as I was checking my email for the date and venue, members of the commitee appeared before my very eyes and one by one, other bloggers joined us. It was a great day spent making new friends, talking about blogging, taking part in the wonderful Bloggers Bash awards and I went home feeling inspired.

There have been three further ‘bashes’, each building on the previous one. Number five takes place next Saturday – 15th June. Why not come along? If you’d like to find out more about it, visit the website. To buy a ticket, click here. I’m on the panel this year and can’t wait! Hope to see you there.


Bloggers meet for the first time outside The British Library – 2015

Photo: Hugh Roberts

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