I have recently just finished a book, I won’t tell you which one but it was free for the kindle. It tells of a sociopath in the world of serial killers, and is an excellent story. In fact it was really great. Except there were these huge monologues running through it.
One was three pages long; speech mark at the beginning and the end. Only to have two lines of dialogue from another character and then another three pages of monologue. I learnt more about torture in this book than I would have reading a text book.
I understand that as a writer you have to research your subject, but only put in the relevant bits. For one story I researched the different types of blade, before settling on my killer using a stiletto blade, but at no point did I think that I ought to list the blades in the story. I knew I’d done the work, but it wasn’t relevant to the story so I cut it. This book needed an editor…
Then there was the heroine. I loved her; a sociopath that lives a Sherlock-type life. Wonderful! But in the book there are two potential love interests. Which she ignores – completely. Instead the writer has made her into an asexual being. Even Sherlock has love… Sort of… I was so disappointed. Instead of light relief there were more murders and long complicated dialogue. Really, when was the last time someone you knew had a long speech that you didn’t call a rant?
It doesn’t happen. Sure, let the reader know about information but make it a conversation. Allow your characters to exist in their own world. Don’t tell the reader, show them. At one point the hero describes something that is so complicated I had to re-read it and I still couldn’t work out what it looked like. Keep it simple and use metaphors. How big was it? What was the shape? But the whole book was lacking in metaphors.
The problem was that the story was brilliant! It was so good that the author could have had a best-seller! It was just so annoying.
If they had stopped and slowed down. Re-written the rants into conversations and looked at the metaphors, added a few, it would have been fantastic. As it is the story has a two star rating and I was left feeling disappointed.
So when writing dialogue try to make it sound real. Read it out loud. Do the voices. Just make it feel normal and use a metaphor or two. Slow down and allow your characters to exist in their world.
And most importantly… give some light relief. Let your character have a romance or a friendship. Let them be more human… Don’t leave the reader thinking that the character missed an opportunity. Missed opportunities are for real life not the world in books. In books they take the bull by the horns, dodge the bullets and survive, or not… But they don’t leave a wake of missed possibilities, especially romantic ones. Make them shy but use it to give the reader a break from a traumatic experiences.
I love to read horror, and the best bits are that they have laughs, scares and gore. They are not written with one intensity, the story flows in and out. So put in the humour – please…