In the modern world of technology, the next time you get asked to a party (and it may be sooner than me because of my cheesy salsa incident) take along a voice recorder. Discreetly place your cellphone (mobile) or other listening device on the table amongst the chatty Cathys and press the record button. At the end of the night, go home and listen to the recording.
Write down each person's name and their dialog. It will surprise you (or maybe not) that you will recognize each individual just by the sound of their voice. You will also notice that each person has their own speech pattern and special phrases.
That's distinctive voice.
Now, just because people have distinctive voice doesn't mean we want to write like we speak. Why? Because most of our conversation (I would say at least 50%) is filled with babble and small talk. Whereas dialog in a book should 6 elements:
- 1)It should always move the story forward
- 2)It should make sense to the reader
- 3)It should end. Who wants to read an hour's worth of conversation?
- 4)It should have a point.
- 5)It should tell us more about the character
- 6)It should be interesting and meaningful
Picture Source: here
Random acts of Writing.
Elizabeth at Mystery Writing is Murder lists six really important questions you should ask about your plot.
Rayna, uses a great example to show how important it is to know your readers.