D is for Dialogue ~ Keep it Real

I like a good bit of dialogue, a bit of banter, a bit of he said she said but…. and it is a very big but (not mine, although mine is rather large and has 2 t’s) only in small doses! There I’ve said it. Dialogue that goes on for pages bores me and can slow the pace of a book no end. I do not profess to be an expert, I just know what I like. As a general rule three sentences are about right for me before the red mist descends. If you have a character who is angry or needs to speak for longer try to break it up either with another character cutting in or action. What’s their body language saying, are their arms flailing, is their face reddening? You get the idea. The point behind dialogue is to make it seem real.Now then, whilst we are on the subject of dialogue another pet hate of mine is name calling.You want your character to be believable, yes? So why continuously use their names? Here’s what I mean. Meet Alan. Alan works with Jan and has done for five years. Whenever Alan speaks to Jan this is what he sounds like:

‘Hi Jan, how was that restaurant last night?

‘Well Alan it was really nice’

‘ I’m glad to hear that Jan’

‘Yes Alan I would highly recommend it’

AARRGGGGHHHHH…….. No, no,no,no,no. Unless you are writing comedy (in which case it is funny and reminiscent of Gavin & Stacey) do not do it – it is not real! It sounds wooden and flat and well… yuk! Remember, less is more. If in doubt speak it out (oh, I quite like that). If it doesn’t sound right to you think about how it’s going to sound to your readers.

OK, so now we’ve sorted out Alan & Jan here’s a question for you – Do you need it? The dialogue that is. Is its presence warranted? As with all things bookish it has to have a reason to be there in the first place. So, with your hand on heart should it stay or should it go? To help you decide here are a few questions to ask before letting yourself lose with the scary red pen:

  1. Are you advancing the plot? By that I mean building suspense, revealing something new that was not known before. Well, are you?
  2. Are you introducing, revealing or changing your character’s relationships? In Forbidden Colours, Midori Yates talks about her family a lot. It was a way for me reveal the importance of her family. Dialogue is a great way to add depth to your character and reveal sides to them not yet seen or known.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my take on dialogue. Here’s to dialogue being sharp and to the point – I know, I know, time to leave! Next week I shall take a look at small touches that can make a big difference to dialogue. D is also for dog and mine is biting at my heels wanting to go on an adventure. So, for now, I bid you adieu…

Please feel free to comment and/or share  🙂 Have a great weekend people!


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Friday Feature ~ Duby’s Doctor by Iris Chacon

Today I am really happy to be featuring friend and fellow mystery author Iris Chacon. I am a big fan of Iris’s writing having recently completed another of her novels ‘Finding Miranda‘, a funny heartwarming tale of love and misadventure. Her latest offering ‘Duby’s Doctor’ is quickly making its way to the top of my TBR pile! Welcome Iris, it’s good to have you here. To kick things off  I’m keen to find out where you got your inspiration for Duby’s Doctor?

IC: Duby’s story was inspired by the landscapes, art culture, elaborate mansions, and live-aboard sailboats of Coconut Grove. For years I passed through the magical Grove community on my way to work in the high-rise offices of Miami. The unique aura and ambiance of the Grove always launched my imagination into a happy stratosphere of quirky characters and exotic locations.

NF: Sounds wonderful, and what about Duby, did he stem from anywhere in particular?

IC: Sometimes the girls in my carpool would simply stop in the Grove and watch the panoply of beautiful people (mostly male) passing by. Thus, a secret agent, who lived on a boat and worked undercover in an arms dealer’s mansion, was born. And if he lived in Coconut Grove, he had to be an artsy type, so Agent Yves Dubreau, a/k/a Duby, became a talented sketcher and painter.

NF: I’m loving your work Iris! I’m intrigued to know more, I’m already getting a sense that Duby will find an adventure or two to keep me entertained! Thanks for joining me today and here’s wishing you every success with Duby’s Doctor.

So lovely readers, if Duby’s Doctor is grabbing your attention too read on:

Iris Chacon

When he can steal time away from his undercover assignment (as an arms dealer’s bodyguard), Agent Yves Dubreau jogs with all the other muscular Coconut Grove athletes. He enjoys the morning tai chi group in Peacock Park, and he quietly remains on the fringes of the Grove’s art scene — until he blows his cover and gets himself murdered. When resuscitated, he is a scarred, nameless giant with no memories, no language, and only his drawings with which to communicate. Of course, he still has the same deadly enemies he had in his former life; he just doesn’t know it. Neither does naive, lady surgeon, Dr. Mitchell Oberon. Soon, Duby’s unscrupulous supervisor forces the unsuspecting Mitchell to shelter this recovering “John Doe” in her home and begin teaching him how to live again. Both Duby and Dr. Oberon will learn a lot about living— they just may not be living long. A murderous arms dealer will soon be stalking them.

If you enjoyed this interview with author Iris Chacon tweet about it here

Wow… I love a good murder mystery! Want more? Yep I thought so… Iris has kindly given her permission for me to post a snippet. Feast your eyes… Continue reading “Friday Feature ~ Duby’s Doctor by Iris Chacon”

Tuesday Spotlight ~ My Top 5 Travel Guides 2017

Books come in all shapes and sizes, in all genres and for all purposes. There is nothing quite like a travel guide though to get you in the holiday mood. The internet is my friend when it comes to information gathering but there is something spine-tinglingly good about holding a physical copy of a travel guide. They make me feel equipped for adventure regardless of my destination. Highlighter at the ready I slowly devour each page looking for nuggets of gold to underline and emphasize.

I like ‘local’ books. Don’t get me wrong there is nothing amiss with the big boys. The likes of ‘Lonely Planet’ and ‘Rough Guide’ certainly have a place and their research is solid. I, however, like to support smaller ventures. Books with quirky facts and tips that offer an alternate flavour excite me. Below is my top 5 for 2017 (so far). They are books I’ve travelled with and enjoyed. It is by no means a definitive list – Lord knows I have not read or travelled enough to make it so. My aim is to get you to think the next time you go and search for a travel guide. I want you to dive beyond the first five pages offered up when you type in your travel destination. You’ll be surprised by what’s out there.

I can attest to having read all of the books below and found them informative, funny (in places) and well worth the investment. A test of a good travel guide for me is one that returns from vacation full of pink highlighted sections – there is something deeply satisfying about getting to work with a highlighter! So without further ado……

  1. Brit Guide to Orlando – This book is updated yearly and was the first book I ever used, I haven’t looked back since. There is almost too much information and for first timers it may seem overwhelming. Arm yourself with a highlighter (pink preferably) and you won’t go far wrong. Reliable and informative this guide is full of top tips and insider info. I have returned to Florida many times over the years and always go armed with this book, there are always new nuggets to be found. If Orlando floats your boat then this is the one! It is quite a weighty book but it does cover pretty much everything!

2. Cruise Control – Top Tips for First Time Cruisers – A nifty little book chock full of top tips to help you enjoy your cruise experience. As a first timer, I found this book really informative and funny. It doesn’t tell you what cruise to go on or where to travel to but it is helpful when it comes to making the most of your cruise. I would argue that even veteran cruisers would be able to gather some useful insights. It is a small book so fits perfectly into your handbag!

3. Secret Beaches South West – As someone who lives in the South West of England this book was a revelation. A great easy to read guide, which showcases some truly beautiful and captivating beaches. I am slowly visiting as many of these beaches as I can and they are exactly as the book suggests – secret! You could build your holiday around visiting this wonderful selection.

4. Sweden:101 Coolest Things to Do in Sweden – This is exactly up my street. Just like the cruise book  it is full of interesting bits and bobs. OK so the formatting and spelling leave a bit to be desired but I quite like the ‘less than perfect’ feel of it. It is full of cool things to do and they are not activities I’ve seen featured in other guides.

5. Venice & Verona for the Shameless Hedonist – Venice is one of my favourite cities, which is why a large chunk of my debut novel All Tomorrow’s Parties is set there. This is one of the best guides I have come across. It has the benefit of including 6 walking tours too. This book has the feel of being written by someone who loves Italy as much as I do. It is good for foodies, wine lovers and shoppers alike!

So there you have it fellow travel enthusiasts my down and dirty guide to guides. All of these books are worth you taking a cheeky peak… Hopefully, your feet are well and truly itching…

I’d love to know what guides you’ve found useful? Please comment below.

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