Hi, welcome to Write Better Now, a podcast of quick, weekly writing tips meant to help you become a better writer. We’re your hosts with NYT bestselling author Carrie Jones and copyeditor extraordinaire Shaun Farrar. Thank you for joining us.
It’s a super quick writing tip again today. Ready?
When you’re writing dialogue, make every new speaker a new paragraph. If you’re writing kids books? You might as well just keep each dialogue a paragraph of their own?
Why? Our brains are wired to read each paragraph as a new speaker. If we jumble a bunch of different speakers into one paragraph, it slows down the reader’s pace of reading and also can get their brain all hitched up as they try to figure out who is talking and when.
Why else? It makes more white space on the page. The more white space on the page, the less intimidating the text is for the reader—especially the reluctant reader.
So don’t write a paragraph like this:
Carrie said, “Please support our channel.” Shaun nodded and said, “We are insecure.” “That’s true.” They laughed. Shaun added, “Wow. This is boring dialogue to prove a point.”
Instead write the paragraphs like this:
Carrie said, “Please support our channel.”
Shaun nodded and said, “We are insecure.”
Shaun added, “Wow. This is boring dialogue to prove a point.”
Pretty easy, right? Now we know who said “that’s true” even though there wasn’t a dialogue tag there. No readers’ brains hitched during the reading of that dialogue and all is good with the world.
For other posts about writing dialogue, check out below:
Thanks for listening to Write Better Now.
For exclusive paid content, check out my substack, LIVING HAPPY and WRITE BETTER NOW. It’s basically like a blog, but better. There’s a free option too without the bonus content but all the other tips and submission opportunties and exercises are there.