She said, you can cheat the eye but you can’t cheat the ear, so read it out loud. Be in the body of your character. Stories are oral and this is why voice is important. So write like you talk. It really is as simple as that. Say something. Then write it. Record it if you want and read what you wrote aloud. If it sounds stilted or wooden, stop and think about what you're trying to say. Say what you want to convey aloud. Then write it down. A group reading or performance is even more useful since each reader, like an actor, will deliver their lines of dialogue at a different pace. But she reminded us, for dialogue, less is more – use limited speech tags.
However, it is not only the way the characters talk that is important, Pamela said you should prepare for writing like an actor prepares for a role. Spend time trying to understand why your characters do the things they do, and how they feel about it. Think about the characters and their motives:
- What would she do?
- What happens next?
Make these motives plausible.
Create character sketches and think about their off the page activity:
- Are you giving yourself enough rehearsal time?
- Can you step into your characters shoes?
- Do you know their world?
- Do you know their voice?
- What food do they like?
- What is their taste in music?
All these things can contribute to moving your story forward.