How Do You Write Internal Dialogue?

Internal dialogue can be more confusing than one would think. I don’t believe there’s a “right” way or “wrong” way to write internal dialogue, but I’ve seen plenty of people write it in different ways. I’ll admit, I have a preference, but that’s just my opinion.

How do you write internal dialogue | Creative Writing | Writing Tips | Dialogue tips | RachelPoli.com

There are different forms of internal dialogue – direct and indirect.

Direct Internal Dialogue

Direct refers to a character thinking to themselves in first person. This means these are thoughts they’re actually thinking, not thoughts we believe – or the narrator is telling us – they’re thinking. This can be written in two ways: using quotations or italics.

Using quotations makes it seem like the character is speaking aloud. It’s up to the dialogue tag to show that the character is actually thinking instead of speaking.

Using italics without quotations, but still using dialogue tags, makes it easy to differentiate between thoughts and speaking. Both are fine ways to write internal dialogue, but I prefer the italics. I find it easier to read and follow along.

Indirect Internal Dialogue

Similar to direct internal dialogue except it’s written in third person. This also means the narrator is telling us what a character is wondering, or may be wondering. So it’s not the exact thoughts from the character but we have an idea of what they may be thinking.

How do you typically write internal dialogue? Do you like using quotations or italics? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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All About Dialogue Tags

Dialogue tags are important and essential to use in every story we write. Are they always needed? No, but we do need them from time to time in order to know which characters are talking to each other or to themselves. So this post is all about dialogue tags.

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What is a dialogue tag?

A dialogue tag is a tag that goes before, in between, or after a piece of dialogue. It’s that little quip that says, “he said” or “Rachel cheered.”

How do you use dialogue tags?

Well, as I said they can go before or after the dialogue or in between it. Depending on where you put the tag, you need to make sure your punctuation is correct to go along with the dialogue. For example…

Rachel asked, “Where were you last night?”

“Why are you asking?” Chase replied.

“Well,” Rachel sighed, “you didn’t answer any of my phone calls.”

When do you use dialogue tags?

This is sort of like personal preference but also you need to read your manuscript and see what makes sense.

If there’s two characters speaking to each other and the banter is quick, one right after another, you can get away without using dialogue tags. Of course, use them in the beginning to make sure your readers know who is speaking.

“I didn’t know you were trying to call.” Chase said.

“Um, maybe you should check your phone then?” Rachel replied.

“What did you want, anyway?”

“It doesn’t matter now.”

If there’s a lot of detail and description in between the dialogue, a tag doesn’t hurt to remind your readers who’s speaking next. Also, if there are more than two characters speaking with one another, it’s a good idea to use tags so they knows who’s talking.

“What’s all the bickering about?” Chip asked.

“I think Chase is hiding something from me.” Rachel answered.

“It’s not just from you.” Chase replied.

“See?” Rachel exclaimed.

“Guys, please…” Chip sighed.

Overall, dialogue tags are a great way to convey the message to your readers about who is speaking and how they’re saying it. Though it’s not always needed and your readers can always infer based on what they already know.

Do you use dialogue tags a lot? Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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The Best Tip To Know About Writing Dialogue

Writing dialogue can be such a hit or miss. It’s something you can improve in but I feel like some authors are really good at it and some just aren’t. So, here’s the best tip to know about writing dialogue – in my opinion.

The Best Tip To Know About Writing Dialogue | Creative Writing | Writing Tips | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

Keep It Realistic

Dialogue can be such a hit or miss. It can take a little while to get it “right.” When I said right, I mean get it to sound realistic.

It’s easy to make your characters sound like robots. Unless they really are robots, you don’t want them sounding like that.

The main goal of the dialogue is to get your characters speaking as though they’re real people having a real conversation.

This is pretty simple as though you write as you or anyone else would normally speak. The hardest part, I think, is to ignore the editor. If you write in Word Document then you know the red squiggly lines come after you – when you try to have someone stammer or when you try to have someone speak unclearly. Word doesn’t like it.

I’ll admit, I’ve edited my dialogue based on Word for a while. Then I realized it just didn’t sound realistic and now I try my best to ignore Word. I mean, Word is right sometimes, but not when it comes to that.

Be sure to listen to how people talk. Hear how they pronounce their words, tones, emotions, and even accents. Treat your characters like real people and you should be good to go.

What do you think? Do you agree with me or do you have any other tips? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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How To Format Dialogue

Dialogue is how we as writers show our characters talking. It’s a fairly simple concept, but formatting it isn’t always easy or straightforward. So, here’s how to format dialogue.

How To Format Dialogue | Creative Writing | Writing Tips | RachelPoli.com

Quotation Marks

Yeah, this is a given. Most dialogue is enclosed with quotation marks at the beginning and at the end of your character’s words. I’ve seen some stories where people don’t use quotations at all. I’m not sure if that depends based on where you are in the world or if that’s just a personal format choice from the author.

Quote Within Dialogue

A quote within a dialogue, or a character quoting someone else, is showed with single quotation marks around it.

Punctuation

Punctuation is tricky. I’ve seen people add it on the outside of the quotations, but it’s supposed to go inside the quotations. The punctuation is part of the sentence and the quotations is just like a cover of the sentence, so it doesn’t make sense for the period or question mark to be on the outside.

Actions

If the character is performing some sort of action before or after the dialogue, it goes in a separate sentence. However, if the character is doing it during the dialogue, their action is separated from the dialogue with a comma. If there is an action interrupting or in the middle of the dialogue, the next part of the dialogue starts with a lowercase letter.

New Paragraphs

We all know a new paragraph is indented as is when a new character speaks. It’s a new paragraph and is indented. When a character is speaking so much and a new paragraph is needed in the middle of it, there is no ending quotation. The next paragraph begins with a quotation and ends with one as well. It’s a continuation.

This is all common sense to people who have been writing for a while. Yet, we still sometimes make mistakes and some things are not always clear. Dialogue seems so simple and yet, look at the “rules” that go along with it.

Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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July 2018 Wrap Up

July 2018 Wrap Up | creative writing | blogging | reading | RachelPoli.com

Reading

Since it’s the summer I’ve been reviewing books twice a week on Tuesdays and Saturdays. As always, you can check out my Reading List to see which books I’ve read and reviewed this month. You can also check out my Goodreads to keep up with what I’m currently reading… if I remember to update it.

Writing

My writing projects have been steadily going this month. With the help of Camp NaNoWriMo I’ve gotten in plenty hours of editing.

I’ve edited George Florence & The Perfect Alibi which brought me back to square one for the novel. I have to do yet another rewrite. So we’ll see how that goes.

I’ve also been editing my project for Patreon. This is exclusive for my patrons for now. My patrons get exclusive looks into my process and sneak peeks of the project. When it’s out in the world, patrons will get special goodies as a thank you for their support. If you would like to support me and my writing and see what this project is all about early, please check out my Patreon here.

Blogging

My blog posts have kind of taken a back seat since I’ve been working on a lot of maintenance and admin stuff for the blog. However, since I was on vacation last week, I ended up getting a little ahead in my posts again in preparation for being away. So, I’m slowly catching up with that.

Overall

July was a crazy month. More so because of real life. It was overwhelming at times but I powered through. Now onto August!

Posts to Remember

1. July & August 2018 Writing Submissions
2. 5 Elements of a Scene
3. 8 Types of Scenes

How did July treat you? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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4 Tips To Writing An Emotional Scene

“Emotional” can mean a lot of different things. You can be filled with joy or sadness, anger or envy. Cry happy tears or sob distraught. Any scene can be emotional but for many different reasons. Depending on the emotion and the tension you can get different levels of emotion as well. So, here are some tips to writing an emotional scene.

4 tips to writing an emotional scene | creative writing | writing | emotional scenes | writing tips | blogging | RachelPoli.com

Make the emotion authentic

First and foremost, you can’t force emotion. Sometimes we don’t always cry at something sad or laugh out loud at something funny. When something emotional is happening, allow your characters to talk as how people would talk in real life. The message will come across to your readers and it’ll make your characters seem more real.

Less is more

Sometimes you don’t need a super long scene to make it emotional. Something short and sweet will do nicely. You don’t need to swell on it too long. Unless something else is going to happen that would advance the plot further, you don’t need to show off every moment of the funeral.

Use your own experiences

You know how to be happy. You know how to be scared and brave when it isn’t easy to be. Take those feelings and pour it into your characters. Again, less it more. You don’t need to describe every little detail, but it definitely helps to get the idea across the paper.

Show your feelings and tell them too

One piece of writing advice I’m sure everyone is familiar with is, “show, don’t tell.” I agree with that to some extent, but when it comes to feelings and emotional scenes, you can choose to show or tell them. Showing will give a subtle feel to the readers. However, it always helps to talk about our feelings. Allowing two characters to talk to one another and describe their feelings and why will certainly add some emotion to the reader. Sometimes a little bluntness can go a long way. It doesn’t need to be a long conversation, but it can be a start.

How do you convey emotional scenes? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around.

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4 Tips To Write An Action Scene

We’ve talked about different types of scenes and how there are different ways to go about writing a scene. However, what if you’re trying to write a particular kind of scene and you’ve never been in a fight before? Here’s some tips to write an action scene.

4 tips to writing an action scene | creative writing | writing | blogging | action scenes | RachelPoli.com

Research

There are so many research options out there. There’s the Internet, the library, and just reading books in your genre to see how other authors have done it. You can also go hands-on as well. If your character fights with a bow and arrow, find some archery classes in your area and see what it’s like for yourself.

Every action should advance the plot

If there’s a big battle, why? Why does the battle matter and why is it needed in the first place? You can’t have your characters fight for no reason or just for the sake of throwing some action into the mix.

Each fight should be unique from the others

Not all fights are the same. Even if you have multiple battles with the same enemy, no battle is the same. Fighting style may change, the approach to the battle will be different, and, of course, characters will die and you certainly can’t have the same character die twice, right? Well, I guess you could depending on what genre you’re writing… but hopefully you get my point.

Remember the aftermath

After every action scene whether it’s a fight or a heated argument or anything – there’s always consequences or some sort of aftermath – good or bad. Be sure to show that off.

What are some tips you have to write an action scene? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around.

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21 Questions To Ask When Writing A Scene

To make sure the scenes in your novel are the best they can be, here are 21 questions to ask when writing a scene.

21 Questions to ask when writing a scene | creative writing | blogging | writing a scene | writing tips | RachelPoli.com

1. Does my scene have a strong hook to grab the reader’s attention?

2. Does my scene have a clear beginning, middle, high point, and end?

3. Is the end resolved or hanging?

4. Is the scene important to the plot? Does it move the plot along?

5. Is something revealed about any of the characters?

6. Does the scene showcase the setting at all?

7. Does the POV stay true throughout the whole scene? Is it clear who the POV character is?

8. Is there a good balance between dialogue and description?

9. Does the scene include sensory and texture detail?

10. Does the scene pick up where the last scene left off? Or is it clear time passed?

11. Is there a good transition or segway to the next scene?

12. Does the scene begin in a unique way from the few scenes before it?

13. Does the scene have any sort of twist or element of surprise? Is it meaningful enough for the themes of the book?

14. Has the inner and/or outer conflict been addressed in some way? Has it advanced the plot or any of the characters at all?

15. Does the scene have any lulls? Are there any boring words or overused words that need to be taken out?

16. Does the scene overwhelm the reader with too much detail? Does the scene have not enough detail?

17. Is the setting of the scene clear to the reader?

18. What are the stakes of the scene? What happens if the protagonist succeeds? What happens if the main character fails?

19. Is there enough action or tension to keep the reader reading?

20. Is there a good balance of emotion in the scene?

21. Do all the elements of the scene work together well to make the scene the best it can be?

Is there anything else I missed? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around.

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Dos And Don’ts Of Writing Opening Scenes

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: each scene is unique from the rest. However, cliches and tropes are everywhere. There’s nothing wrong with them as long as they’re used in a unique way, a special way that tricks your readers into thinking it’s never been done before. With that said, there are some dos and don’ts of writing opening scenes.

Dos and Don'ts of writing opening scenes | Creative writing | blogging | scene writing | RachelPoli.com

Do

Start with the story you’re currently telling. Your readers came to find out what’s up with the blurb on the back of the book.

Don’t

Start with a dream or flashback sequence. Your protagonist doesn’t need to wake up from having the “same dream.”

Do

Open with some sort of action or conflict. Draw the readers in right away with some tension making them wonder what it’s all about.

Don’t

Open with too much scenery or talk about the weather. The description is good, but sometimes we don’t need to know it right away. It can easily be woven into the story throughout.

Do

Introduce the protagonist. Let the reader know right away who they’re going to be learning about, who they’re going to be journeying with and why they should care about that particular protagonist.

Don’t

Introduce too many characters at once. A couple characters can be introduced for sure, but you don’t want to bombard your readers with too many names.

I could go one with more dos and don’ts of writing opening scenes. But I won’t. In the end, you should take this advice with a grain of salt and do what you think is best for your book.

Do you have a few ways to write opening scenes? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around.

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5 Tips On Writing A Great Scene

Writing a scene isn’t as easy as it sounds. We write them automatically into our stories, but are we really writing the scenes to the best of our ability? Do they make sense to our readers? Do some scenes need to be included in the first place? Not one scene is the same from another, but the process can be similar. Here are some tips on writing a great scene.

5 Tips on writing a great scene | Creative Writing | Writing Tips | Scene writing | RachelPoli.com

1. Find the purpose

What’s the purpose of the scene? Where are your characters and why are they there? What are they doing and why? The scene needs to have a meaning behind it. It either needs to show some character development and/or move the plot forward. Or else, why would your audience care to read it?

2. Show the tension at the end

To go along with the purpose of the scene, something big must happen that transitions to the next scene. Usually, this is some sort of high moment that can leave the reader gasping. This can often be left at the end of the scene making the reader want to read on to the next scene or chapter.

3. Describe the inner and outer conflict

There’s always something going on in our minds, whether it’s positive thoughts or negative. Worry or wondering. Planning or daydreaming. Your characters have a purpose as does the plot. What’s the inner and outer conflict of the story? The scene can show off both or just one for the time being, but at least one should be addressed.

4. Express the characters’ emotional state

What happens in this scene that effects the characters? Something good or bad usually happens that changes the characters’ emotional state. It may add to their reason for doing what they’re doing in order to make the plot move forward. This can be something as simple as escaping from a following or something as drastic as a character death.

5. Detail sensory and texture clues

Painting the picture for your readers is key to having a well rounded, in-depth scene. Allow your audience to see, feel, smell, hear, and taste what your characters are feeling and seeing, etc. Bring your readers into the action beside the characters and allow them in your world.

Of course, there are many other things that can go into writing a scene. I personally feel as though these are the big ones. Each scene is unique from all the rest but they’re all made up of the same matter.

What do you include in your scenes? Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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