People come into writing from different places, and every author’s unique experience reveals something about the writing process. Martinez offers several good tips here, but numbers three and four really stand out for me.
Good dialogue can help keep a story interesting. You can maintain momentum by delivering background and exposition in dialogue, rather than in data-dumps. But I don’t think readers will necessarily notice good dialogue. On the contrary, bad dialogue stands out. It draws the reader out of the illusion.
One thing you can do to improve your dialogue is just listen to how people speak around you. Some writing gurus will tell you to avoid “ahs” and “ums” in your dialogue, but I disagree. Filler words are a real component of natural speech, so why avoid them? Unless you intend your dialogue to sound artificial.
Martinez also mentions word choice and efficiency. This is a very important skill for fiction writers to develop. Efficient prose will make your story read much better. It will improve your flow. Part of the problem fantasy authors face now is that agents and publishers expect, even demand, overly high words counts for novels which results in long, dry exposition and filler.
Well, that’s my spiel. Head over to the original article and check out all the tips this journalist-turned-author has to offer.
Former journalist and current thriller writer Michael Martinez shares five things that journalism taught him about writing fiction—including paying attention to details, researching, and economy of words.