Three Differences Between Dialogue and Conversation

by Bonita Y. McCoyfeedback-2990424_1920

Dialogue simply put is what the characters in a story say to one another. The back and forth flow of their words. Most new writers think that writing dialogue is easy. After all, we talk all the time. How hard can it be, right?

However, there is a huge difference between good dialogue and the typical conversations we hold every day.

One difference is where they start. Most new writers start their dialogue in the wrong place. They want to start at the beginning of the conversation like when you answer the telephone and say hello. But the reader is not interested in the everyday courtesies we use in our conversations. The reader wants to get to the meat of the dialogue.

As writers, we must determine the right place to start. Just like the scenes in our story, we want our dialogue to start as close to the important information as possible without it seeming unnatural. We don’t want any extraneous chatter, but we don’t want it to sound contrived either.

Good dialogue should move the plot forwarded by giving us information about the story or another character; or by creating tension in the scene; or by giving us a picture of the character who is speaking.

Another difference between good dialogue and typical conversation is filler words. Umm’s and Uh’s can be used to show hesitation on the part of a character, but if we wrote dialogue as we hear it out in the real world, our readers would die of boredom.

Good dialogue should be paced at a nice clip. You don’t want your dialogue to drag. Filler words slow down the pace of the scene and cause the reader to lose interest.

Again, we want our dialogue to sound natural and have a good rhythm but without all the speed bumps real conversations contain.


One other aspect of dialogue is the use of dialect, slang, or colloquialisms. As writers, we want to use the kind of language that everyone will understand.

Colloquialisms, sayings familiar to a specific area of the world, can distract the reader and pull them out of the story. Try to use sayings that are familiar to the larger audience.

With slang and dialects, a little goes a long way. If your character has an accent, you don’t have to mangle every word to make the point. Pick a few key words familiar to the audience as part of that areas dialect and use them. An example would be a southerner using “y’all” or an Irishman using the word “lass”.

The use of dialogue can be tricky, but with practice, dialogue can become one of the best parts of your story elements.

connect with me on my website Bonita Y. McCoy


Marketing – Not One Size Fits All

People hangout together at coffee shop

As a writer in today’s business world, you are expected to do the lion’s share of the marketing for your book. It does not matter if you are traditionally published or if you, like many others, are an Indie author. You will carry the responsibility of giving your book wings.

Because of this fact, the noise level on the subject has increased in recent years. Everyone is looking for the “right marketing plan” that will land them in the financial plus column at the end of the day. Many have copied the marketing plan of others to no avail, only to be frustrated and feel like they are running in circles.

But do not despair.

There is hope for all of us authors who would rather be writing, but also want to make a living with our words.

Here is the secret. The best marketing plan for your book is the one that fits you and your quirks.

There is nothing wrong with looking at what other authors do or how they do it. In fact, you’d be amiss if you didn’t, but the marketing plan that is going to push you forward in your goals is the one that fits who you are.

The mistake is thinking one size fits all.

IMG_title not one size fits all


So, here are four questions to ask yourself as you start to plan a marketing strategy that fits the way you work.

1. Am I an introvert or an extrovert?

This will affect some of the strategies you might use. For instance, an introvert will be more comfortable using Facebook Ads and Direct Mailing because it takes less social interaction.

Using these strategies will be more successful because the stress factor for the author will be lower.

If you are an extrovert, book signings, interviews, or teaching a class will be of interest to you. These authors enjoy the interaction with readers as a group and find it energizing.

2. Do I work better in the morning, afternoon, or evening?

The real question is when are you firing on all pistons? Whenever that is for you, set aside that time once a week to hit the marketing hard.

3. How much time does my schedule allow for my marketing?

I know many of us are not yet full-time writers and with that in mind, we have to pick and choose our marketing strategies very carefully.

The first thing to take into account as you choose strategies is where are you in your writing journey? If you are just beginning, then this is the time to set up your social media accounts. Begin connecting with others in the industry such as agents, editors, cover designers, and other authors.

If you are further along, your goal should be to connect with potential readers. Let friends and family know about your writing and start a blog or a newsletter. Engage in Facebook groups online and with writer groups in your community.

Another thing to take into account as you choose strategies is how much return on invested time will you see. If you have limited time, put your efforts into the one or two strategies that will profit you the most. These strategies will, of course, depend on your overall goals. But do not try to do it all.

4. Do I need accountability?

If you are one to procrastinate, you might need an accountability partner. This is someone who will hold you to your plan. These types of friends are helpful not only in keeping you on track with your marketing, but they also come in handy in meeting deadlines for writing.

There is something about saying a deadline or goal out loud to someone that makes it real.

These four questions are to get you thinking about who you are. The bottom line about marketing success is author know thyself. Design a plan that fits who you are, and you are more likely to stick with it and have success.

Happy Writing,

Bonita Y. McCoy