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Being Married Vs. Dating
Subscribe to our FREE email newsletter and download free character development worksheets! Rachel Scheller February 11, Writing dialogue to suit the gender of your characters is important in any genre, but it becomes even more essential in romance writing. In a romance novel, characters of opposite sexes are often paired up or pitted against each other in relationships with varying degrees of complication. In an excerpt from On Writing Romance by Leigh Michaels, the author discusses ways in which you can render the dialogue of your guy or gal protagonist more realistic and effective. But you can make your dialogue more realistic by checking your dialogue against a list of the ways in which most writers go wrong. Men tend to request specific information, rather than ask rhetorical questions. Instead of asking questions at all, can he make statements? If you need him to explain, can you give a reason why he must? Can you scale back the level of detail? Men tend to avoid euphemisms, understatements, comparisons, and metaphors. Men tend to be direct rather than ask for validation or approval. Women tend to sympathize and share experiences rather than give advice. Women tend to talk about their accomplishments and themselves in a self-deprecating fashion rather than a boastful one. Can you rephrase her comments in order to make her laugh at herself? Women tend to be indirect and manipulative; even an assertive woman usually considers the effect her statement is likely to have before she makes it. Can you add questions to her dialogue, or add approval-seeking comments and suggestions that masquerade as questions? Can you ramp up the level of specific detail? If you need your heroine to be angry, can you give her a really good reason for yelling? Women notice and interpret facial expressions and body language, and they maintain eye contact. If you need your female character to not notice how others are acting, can you give her a good reason for being detached? How do two women speak to each other? How do two men speak to each other? How do a man and a woman speak to each other? On what evidence did you base your opinion? Unnatural lines may hide on the page, but they tend to leap out when spoken. Better yet, get a man and a woman to read the appropriate parts. How do the lines sound? How do they feel to the speakers? For more insights into the craft of writing a romance novel, check out On Writing Romance by Leigh Michaels. Ready to pitch your novel? You might also like:
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