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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Guest Blog: Mageela Troche: Tell Me About It, Stud

Dialogue makes up most of a novel and is one of the most important aspects of a book. It moves increases pace, heightens tension and reveals character. Good dialogue can become great dialogue though understanding key basics of it.

There are three points when it comes to writing dialogue.
1. It has to serve a purpose.
2. Fit the character’s voice.
3. It has to be natural.

That’s it. Nothing more. But it isn’t always that easy.

For the first point, it has to serve a purpose. The easiest way to explain this step is think of it as an interview. Let’s say you need a job (that’s your goal) and you need it because you have to pay rent and credit cards and all the other stuff (motivation). But last night, you went out with friends and got drunk and have a hell of a hangover (conflict). Are you going to tell the interviewer that? No. You’re trying to hid it as you do your desperation for the job. You share information that will get you the job. You’re not telling him about the night in college when you went streaking.

So make sure your dialogue serves the purpose of your goal, motivation and the conflict.

The second point, dialogue has to fit the character’s voice. The best way to see this is to watch reality shows like Mob Wives even better Jersey Shore. At no point will you find a Jersey Shore cast member speaking about the theory of relativity. During the president’s first run, MTV used the cast to get their fans to register to vote but when reporters asked how to register, they didn’t know how. Make the dialogue your character speaks fit their knowledge, education and lifestyle.

The third point, it has to be natural. This one can be a difficultly. Make your dialogue natural but not too natural. Don’t tell information that should be known by another character. If you want to see great dialogue, I recommend three things—1. Watch His Girl Friday with Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell. The dialogue is snappy and quick—just utter perfection. 2. Watch The Big Bang Theory. In the show, there are a lot of physics and other scientific knowledge that has to be shared. How do they do it? Watch a few episodes. You see how the dialogue helps build character and shares the information that must be known to enjoy the joke. 3. Read Julia Quinn. She writes great dialogue. Type up just the dialogue, read it aloud, highlight and see the patterns. Then do the same with your WIP.

When it comes to dialogue, we mustn’t forget one important fact. Dialogue is a sense—Sound. With dialogue, there is tone (emotion of the words), pitch (the resonances of in one’s speech), volume (loud/low) and pace(speed/slowness). These will help create emotion and/or conflict in your dialogue.

EG: “He plans to dump her.” Richard stressed each word even as his volume dropped to a whisper as Pippa neared us.
Or: He blurted out on a short breath.

Another aspect of our topic is dialect. For me, I have a character with a Scottish brogue. The thing about dialect is you have to use it with a soft hand. In fact, the May/June issue of Writer’s Digest has an article on dialect and slang. So, I pull out my Robert Burns poetry and used certain words readers unfamiliar with Scottish dialect yet the reader can still understand the conversation.

Another factor to remember about dialogue is the use of it in a love scene. It is another way of layering the scene, heightening the sexual tension and heat of the scene. Remember one thing—the deeper into the love act the harder to talk.

An Air Force brat, Mageela Troche landed in New York City and wanted to leave the same day she arrived. Yet, with her stubbornness, she learned to like the place and the libraries were the main reason. Once she learned to read and write, she decided to be an author and an actress. Once in college, she changed her life plan in the pursuit of money. After all, college loans must be repaid.

With life’s twists and turns, she returned to writing and focused on the romance genre. She joined RWA (Romance Writers of America) in 2004 and soon discovered RWA-NYC. At her first meeting, Keynotes Editor volunteered her to write an article and she knew she found her group. She placed second in Best Love Scene contest and in 2012, RWA-NYC annual award ceremony, the Publisher of the Year, Secret Cravings Publisher, held a contest. First place winner would have their novel published.

Mageela placed second. Nevertheless, the publisher wanted her book, The Marriage Alliance. She signed the dotted line a couple of weeks later.

In her free time, she loves watching her lovebird get up to his crazy antics, good books, and hearing from readers. You can find her at

To save his clan…

Laird Alec Cameron wars against Clan MacKintosh and its sept, Clan Chattan over a swathe of land. When he learns MacKintosh schemes to wed his English sister-in-law to chieftain of the Chattan, he knows the risk threatening the clan. Her riches and blood ties could overpower the Camerons. For the upper hand, he kidnaps her.

To save her life…

Widow Lady Portia de Mowbray hides in the rugged Highlands far from the clutches of a deadly baron desiring her riches but not her hand. She has lost the man she loved and nearly her life at his hands and she must save herself. Snagged in a deadly power play between two feuding clans, she is caught in the clutches of Laird Cameron. He may be the man who can save her.

Danger stalks them even as love grows and only together do they have a chance at surviving. They must survive the threats for their own happily ever after.


Melissa Keir said...

What a great post about the importance and value of dialogue. I think that great dialogue moves the story and shows another aspect of the characters.

Thank you for sharing!

jean hart stewart said...

Great advice...thank you. I love all this Scottish, so your latest book sounds great to me..

Cara Marsi said...

Very interesting. Thanks for the advice. I agree with what you said about dialog.

Sandy said...

Mageela, I definitely agree with you on dialog.

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