- Use said almost all the time – it becomes invisible;
- Dialogue tags like retorted, objected etc. should be used judiciously and ‘he ejaculated’ is not recommended any more;
- There is a school of thought that it should be clear from the text how the dialogue is presented, but this is not always the case, and then sometimes you may need a descriptor or an adverb – but this should be used carefully;
- Exclamation marks can be useful, but don’t overuse. Don’t use multiple exclamation marks or exclamation or question mark combinations;
- Be vigilant about unintended repetition and sentence construction – don’t use repetitive sentence rhythms, as it will put the reader to sleep;
- Try to give each character their own rhythm and speech patterns (easier said than done!).
- Including everything slows the pace too much;
- All you can do is the best job you are capable of at that time, with all the input available to you. You cannot control how the reader will interpret it;
- Every reader’s view is correct – subjectively speaking;
- Remember every character is the star of their own show. Give each character a thumb-nail sketch of realness. Don’t ever treat a character as a cardboard cut-out;
- Use italics to stress a word of dialogue judiciously – only do this when needed to clarify an ambiguous line where it’s important the reader get the correct message;
- It’s said that you can get the reader across the galaxy, but you can’t get them across the room.
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