Recently in a local monthly women’s publication I read an article written by a business life coach that mentioned certain words you shouldn’t use in negotiating a promotion.
I realize the dialog she suggests avoiding is also dialog to avoid in novel writing. Unless you are going for an unlikable secondary character. If you are, here is the way to have your reader cringing in no time.
Have your character:
- apologizing or saying “I’m sorry” often.
- “I feel …” this and that
- “You always…” or “You never…”
- “Well we all know…” or “The fact of the matter…”
- “To be honest with you…”
- “Yes but…”
- “Don’t misunderstand me…”
- “Oh, by the way…”
- “This is not personal…” (yeah, right!)
What faults do you give your unlikable characters? Remember, you must show the miserable ones in your book, not just tell us they are unhappy, or a know-it-all. Dialog is a good way to paint us a picture.