Dialogue is one thing that came very naturally to me as a writer. It is one of the few skills that I haven't had to spend years and years getting right. However, there is always room for improvement. Adventures and Adversities has given me some unique challenges when it has come to dialogue. Unlike my Destiny Trilogy, where the characters came from all over the place and accents and speech patterns were easy to add, most of my characters have lived in the same place all their lives and they all live in the same country. Here are some things I have learned.
Think about the education level - Some of my characters are peasants and have had no formal schooling, some are soldiers and had some training of sorts, others are nobles with an education. The education level affects speech quite a bit.
Think about their background and employment - A farmer's daughter will often compare life to the fields. Rich nobles will know little of what it is to want for anything. A craftsman will always be trying to improve. Backgrounds and employment greatly affect speech.
Think about repeated phrases - Some characters might have a phrase that they often repeat. An Australian might say mate, a girl might over use the word cute (or like, but only if her name is Winter), and person who is shy might fall back on 'ummm' or 'so'. Repeated phrases can add depth and instant recognition to your character.
Think about the mood your character is in - I have read a few books where a character is in a bad mood but the character says something cheerful, or a character is angry but they say something kind. The dialogue has to be in keeping with the character's mood.
Think about the mood of the scene - Dialogue can help set the mood as well. If you are trying to write a happy scene, Puddleglum should not make an appearance. If you are trying to write a serious, thought-provoking scene, Lydia Benet shouldn't be there. The dialogue should reflect not only character, but the scene.
Those are my tips for writing sparkling dialogue. Join me next week to meet another character from my upcoming book...