Popping in very quickly as today I have a day off ‘real’ work to do what I like to think of as my personal real work – work on my novel. As per, sometimes my body forgets that these days off are not proper days off and likes instead to lie about slovenly and watch random television. I have to bribe it with biscuits to sit here and write/redraft. And today would be the day when I have no chocolate whatsoever and am reduced to eating biscuits from the back of the bread bin. Yup, the Biscuits That Taste Forgot.
I still eat them though.
Today one of the things I am checking within my novel is the dialogue. What I am looking out for is things like ‘I am’ rather than ‘I’m’ – when speaking, unless there is a reason to say it precisely, mostly folk would use a contraction and say ‘I’m taking the dog for a walk’ rather than ‘I am taking the dog for a walk’. The latter brings a whole new stress to the tone of the dialogue – if you say it out loud it sounds like the person speaking is highly exasperated with the person asking, i.e.
Parent (asking even though is watching teenage son fixing dog leash to dog): What are you doing?
Teenage son: I am taking the dog for a walk. (Optional ‘durr’ on the end.)
It is more natural to use contractions within dialogue – it’s for it is, I’m for I am, that’s for that is, etc. I’m taking advantage of a quiet house to declaim my dialogue to the cats (they are thrilled) so I can listen to my speech. The trick is reading aloud exactly what I have written and not what I ‘think’ I have written!