Tag Archives: beginner’s-writing-guide

Few Things You Should Avoid In Your Story Dialogue|Golspen

Dialogue like the series of events in a story should advance your story, reveal character traits as well as keep the story pace. You should know how to write your story dialogue to achieve this aim. The purpose of this post is to share with you how to write a dialogue that sparkles. Before that, I want you to understand it is good to master conversation skills but wrong to apply how people talk in real life to your story dialogue. You will learn why and how as we go on.


What are the things you should avoid while writing your story dialogue?

Stay away from telling whenever you can

Show not tell may sound cliché but it’s still one of the keys to writing a great story. In real life dialogue, people tell what they feel. You hear things like, ‘I’m so excited,’ I’m sad,’ ‘I’m glad, and so on. This is normal in the real world because that’s how real people talk. But when writing your story dialogue, you need to pay attention to what people do while they say what they say and describe it. You don’t need your character to say how they feel except you must include it alongside the description.

 If your character says, ‘I’m happy, there should be sparkling of the eyes and the corners of the mouth drawn back, or even teary eyes when the happiness overwhelms.

Know how people of the era or place in your story talk.

If your story takes place in a different era or place, do not assume how the people talk. Your dialogue must show off the talking style, Otherwise, your story loses its quality.  If you are not sure, find out from those who know it well. Make a thorough research, watch movies if possible, ask questions, this will help you to avoid a plain or assumed version of the language. You must not write it if you are not sure of it.

Keep your dialogue tag functional

Some writers use description in their dialogue tag to replace a boring “he said”  “she said” tag. Do not do that. Dialogue tag in itself shouldn’t be descriptive. Its function is to let the reader know who is saying what. When you use tags like, “she shouted,”, “he roared out”, she screeched,”, you make the reader stop and think about them and that’s distracting.

Instead of using descriptive tags, show or describe the character’s action or body language at that time. Look a close look at the dialogue from Half Of A Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 

‘Train station? Arinze and I are not leaving until tomorrow, Mohammed,’ Olanna said. She almost ran to keep up with him. ‘I’m going back to my uncle’s house in Sabon Gari.’   ‘
Olanna,’ Mohammed started the car; it jerked as he took off. Sabon Gari is not safe.’
    ‘What do you mean?’ She tugged at the scarf; the embroidery at the edges felt coarse and uncomfortable against her neck.

Keep reading on Golspen. Follow me over there if you are interested in writing tips.

Why You Shouldn’t Compare Your Work With Others

Have you ever felt inadequate and beaten while reading someone else’s write-up? Have you ever felt that person’s writing is better than yours?

Writers read a lot and it is interesting to know that as they read other writers works, especially, works of well-established writers, they do so to learn from their work and become better writers themselves. It is possible for a writer during the wonderful moments of reading to learn, to also compare his or her work with what he or she is reading.

When I began reading Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half Of A Yellow Sun, I found out I was such a poor writer. I noticed that what people say about my writing was not true. I was nowhere to be found laid side by side with Adichie. I got so tiny in her imagery and literally disappeared in the captivating and thrilling way she tells her story. Not only her work but also works of other great authors.

This happened for a long time that I stopped writing all my stories because I felt they belonged to the bottom part of the refuse dump. They didn’t measure up at all – “low standard” became the issue.

I put my weiting on hold to master the writing art of these well known authors. But you know what, I found out I couldn’t write like them. I couldn’t write like Adichie and I couldn’t writer like Achebe and the rest of them. But I can only write like me.

I can write like me!!!

These authors are my role models, models I can’t write like but can measure up to. I try to work hard and become a good writer just like them through my own style of writing. I whisper to myself each time in a funny way;

I’m as good as everyone else with my own unique style

What Happens When You Compare Your work with others?

We all have our writing fears and these fears are inpacted in us by our own negative thoughts and other people’s negative comments or attitudes towards our writing.

Somehow as we journey on the path of our writing life we try hard not to allow these negativities to weigh us down. But when we compare our works with others harshly, we confirm our fears. This brings a feeling of hopelessness.

What Does Comparing your Work With Others Do To Your Writing?

You feel that you’re not as good as them and this gives you the assurance that you can never be as good as they are. Your writing zeal diminishes and eventually dies off. Consequently, you begin to see writing as what belongs to them and not you. Since you can’t beat them and can’t join them, you better get going – it’s time to find some other things to do.

You keep seeing these defects your work has which theirs don’t have. You forget about your own writing skills and focus on theirs. You see their writing as of high standard and this overwhelms you.

What Should You Do

It’s human for you to notice the professionalism with which they have written that book but do not dwell too much on it on how good it is. Instead, see it as a means to model your own work instead of comparing it.

During modelling, you review – look at other people’s works, find out what you like about them and look for a way to improve your own writing.

Why You Should Model Your Work Instead Of Comparing It With Others.

There is no judging of your work during modelling as is the case with comparing.

Modelling helps you get better while comparing makes writing more difficult and eventually impossible.

Writing Tips;

1. To survive as a writer you need to have confidence in your writing.

2. Always remind yourself that you are unique in your own way.

3. Shut the door against negativities in your head and those from others who think you’re not good enough.

4. If you find someone’s work to be good, focus on what you can learn from it and ways it will help better your writing get better.

Every Writer Needs a Deadline to Complete a Project

Whether you’re writing for a client, writing as a team or writing your first book, time is your only enemy and if ever you want to achieve a completed project, you must set a deadline.

You probably have a job, family to spend time with, friends to keep up with, groups to meet with and so on.

These are time-consuming perfect sources of distractions and ground for excuses and procrastination.

I had these projects I worked on for three years before realising how much I needed to do something about it.

When I started, I was writing up to a chapter a day, and then a chapter in a week, then a chapter in three months and then, one year, before I knew it three years had passed without achieving much.

When I set a deadline and started working with it, I made some alarming progress.

Without a deadline, a writer will be looking for trouble.

What does setting a deadline do for you as a writer?

It snatches you away from your comfort zone and fights with procrastination until you’re done.

Assuming you had a lot of projects to write, for example, you’re writing for many clients, for sure there should be pressure here and there. Setting a deadline helps to reduce pressure to make your writing less stressful.

Deadline just like goal helps you to stay focused and work hard to finish a writing task within a stipulated time.

When you’re known with meeting up with deadlines, you become a reliable writer before your clients. You gain a good reputation and this means more respect, more and more clients, more work assignments and more money of course.

Set Your Deadline.

List all those projects you need to complete.

Starting with the ones you want to write first, write down the lists of projects you need to be completed.

It’s important that you understand that you are human and not some robotic machine. Take as much as you can chew at a time. One at a time.

Do not take too many projects from clients or decide to write ten books at a time. It won’t work.

Break up your projects into small manageable tasks.

Manageable in the sense that even if it’s large, you’re sure to finish within the stipulated time, otherwise you reduce the task.

Create a daily time table and stick to it

For example, you want to finish the draft of a book within a month or two months.

You may decide to be writing five or more pages a day. This five pages you have distributed among the 30 days in a month and will be coming up with 150 pages a month or 300 pages in two months. No more, no less. The key is in writing those five pages a day.

You need to be very disciplined to be able to stick to the deadline. Discipline is the key.

I remember the funny words of Douglas Adams, the author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,

“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.”

You know it’s always easy to talk about deadlines and the need for it but hard to meet up with it due to the time factor and human weaknesses.

That’s when discipline comes in.

Need to finish a book or pressure from clients won’t make you work hard, it will only scatter your brain and makes it hard to concentrate.

Set a deadline, stick to it. That’s all you need to finish that project.

Write It As If You Know What You Are Writing About

Some say, “If you don’t have a thorough knowledge of the topic, do not write about it. Writing on a topic you know nothing about is like giving prescription medicine to a sick person when you’re not a doctor. Don’t do it.”

While some say, “You can write on any topic as long as you are interested in it. You don’t need to be a professional or well experience before writing on a topic. All you need to do is write it as the professional would.”

This is an expression of opinion and in this case, as far as Im concerned, everyone is right.

I quite agree that it is easier and more comfortable to write on any topic within your scope of professionalism. For ease of writing and to attract less headache. Also, an expert gives the seekers of knowledge the authentic information as it should be, without any mistake.

However, I’m not in any way against writing on a topic that is not within your expertise.

Life is all about learning and growing. We learn what we don’t know, get to know them, apply them and pass them across to others as well. It could be passed on verbally or in writing.

No one is born a professional in a particular field. It takes a learning process to attain. You find out that in life, no one knows it all, not even the professionals.

You Can Write On Any Topic Of Interest

I have mentioned this in one of my previous posts that you can write on any topic of interest as long as you are comfortable with the topc and are ready to do what it takes. All that is there to it is, write it like the professionals. Let nothing reveal you do not have thorough knowledge on what you’re writing about.

All researchers or readers want is to get authentic information from a reliable source and all you need to do is give them reliable information.


Research Paves Way For All Writers

If you are a fiction weirer, you must have known that every story has some element of truth in it. You’re not just writing a story, you’re passing specific message across. This message is not a lie, it’s a fact – a truth which needs to be told through your story.

To be able to talk about the truth surrounding your story, you don’t need to go get a degree in that area to equip yourself. You don’t need to be a law professional for example before you can write your crime stories.

All you need to do is tell it as if you know all the facts surrounding the element of truth just like a professional in the field.

You may be inspired to write a story which points to the difficulty facing farmers in rural area of of a country in West African. You desperately needed to suggest in your writing the possible solution or just to let the world know what these farmers are facing.

But your problem is that you have not set your eyes on an African soil, let alone West of it. Yet, you burn with this desire to write this story because of the disturbing casual conversation you overheard between two people on the issue.


You shouldn’t shy away from such topic because you do not have all the facts involved. You get the facts somehow and do your writing

In all cases, wether you’re writing fiction or factional writing , all you need to do is do your thorough research.

You Can Use The Following Means To Research Your Topic Of Interest And Get The Needed Facts.


1. Tap From The Knowlege Of Others

Sit down with a professional or someone who has experience in the field of your topic and get the facts you need from them. You can also listen to professionals through podcast, audiobooks and documentaries. You can resort to social media group or community forum to seek for help. Ask for who knows about what. You may end up with a lot of people who would like to help you with the facts you need.

2. Use The Library

Reading wildly on the topic can give you a second-hand experience on almost any topic. A well stuffed Library could be all you need to write on that topic of interest. Read different authors on the same topic and note down the facts. You can also read maga

3. Get There

You need to take yourself to that area if you really need to. Sometimes you need to make personal research for more originlity and to get afirst hand information. You might end up making a new discovery – something new to add to the already existing information.


4. Search The Internet/ Google it

It’s all over the internet. Google knows every thing these days as long as the right search term is typed in. We all search it and get what we’re looking for. Hundreds and more articles written by over are all over the internet on the same topic. This is a sure way of getting the facts you need without much stress. Researchers know that if they can’t get it on the net, it will be tough.

Nowadays people can make such comments like “Why don’t you google it” when you ask them questions on what they know. Of course you have your smartphone at your disposal. Simply google it.

So, it’s simple, Google it. Youtube also has lots of information. You can use it as your research means.


5. Take A Short Course

You can take a short course to expose yourself to the area of your interest. You may consider Masterclass, Udemy, Skillshare and so many others out there.


What Next After Getting The Fact?

By now you’re smiling! You have all the facts in your hand!!

Time to sit down and get to work. Write your first draft, rewrite, edit and proofread and you’re good to go.


Happy Writing😀!


Would you rather you stocked with your writing on the topics from your area of specialty or try writing on some other topics too? What research method do you use or would you like use? Give your opinion on the comment section.

Thanks for visiting😍