I am usually a very sun shiny person, however since I’ve gone into super-editing-mode some things have started to drive me nuts. Today’s rant: Character names IN dialogue. Dialogue is one of the most important parts of a story. It needs to be done well and believably!
Sally walked into the kitchen. “Hi, mom.”
“Good morning, Sally!”
“Did you sleep well, mom?”
“You know, Sally, I actually did!”
Sally smiled. “That’s awesome, mom!”
A bit overdone, but are you getting the picture? Pay attention to the next time you have a conversation with anyone, in person or on the phone. Names and even endearments are RARELY used. When they are, it is often at the beginning of a conversation or sparsely within it. In real life names are also used to get a person’s attention, sometimes to single out one within a group. Names are also used in admonishment, such as, “Oh John, you so did not just say that!”
Writers often have a tendency to overuse names in dialogue, perhaps partly to indicate who is speaking to whom. However this is often unnecessary when a conversation is between only two characters. Within a scene with a number of people this can be better done using tags and simple writing; Sally turned to her mom, mom swatted dad on the shoulder, John glared over at dad, etc.
Please pay attention in real life and make your dialogue as believable as possible, otherwise I’ll be forced to throw rainbows at you. 😛