Episode 4

How to Write Better Dialogue

In this episode we’re talking print-on-demand price hikes, new imprints, and romance. The Muse also shares some tips on how to write better dialogue.

Music licensed from Storyblocks:

“More Jam Please” by Raighes Factory

"Cozy By The Fireside" by Jon Presstone

“California Sun Full Mix” by Bobby Cole

"West Coast Girls Full Mix" by Bobby Cole

"Sugar Rush" by Humans Win

Rosemi Mederos:

If you have plot bunnies coming out of your plot holes, it’s time for a writing break.

In this episode of Writing Break with America’s Editor, we’re talking print-on-demand price hikes, new imprints, and romance. I’ll also give you some tips on how to write better dialogue. So, grab a snack from the Writing Break cafe, and I’ll fill you in on some publishing news.

Authors, get ready for yet another price hike from IngramSpark for print-on-demand. IngramSpark raised their rates last November, and they’ll be raising them again in March. Also, return fees will rise from $2 to $3 per unit. Yeowza.

ncrease in digital lending in:

Let’s all welcome Harvest, a new lifestyle imprint from HarperCollins. Harvest will publish nonfiction books about food, health, and wellness.

Random House has also launched a new nonfiction imprint called Bright Matter Books. This one's for the kids. Bright Matter Books will publish educational nonfiction for ages three and up.

Harlequin has launched a subscription service called Harlequin Plus, which offers subscribers access to movies, games, and books for a monthly rate of $15 or a yearly rate of $150. Oh, wait, I’m sorry, they’re using that elusive penny pricing of $14.99 a month and $149.99 a year. More important than the psychological game of “penny, penny, who’s got the penny” is what Harlequin Plus means for royalties. Will authors be satisfied with their share of subscription-based royalties, or is this another lawsuit against Harlequin in the making? For the rest of us, a 7-day free trial is currently being offered on HarlequinPlus.com. Happy reading, romance lovers.

Links to these articles can be found in the show notes of this episode and on writingbreak.com.

All this talk about romance has put me in the mood . . . for a new book. I guess it’s time to head to the bookstore.

ipped Bodice, which opened in:

Today we're toasting to romance writer Minette Lauren. In Champagne Kisses, the prequel to her Hot in Magnolia series, Lauren starts off with a fun meet cute when girl drives minivan into boy's bar. This series is available in ebook, print, and audiobook format. Now, normally, I encourage you to get the books by the featured author, but we’re talking romance here, and your idea of romance might not be the same as mine, so find the happily ever after that works for you, and we can rendezvous on that Victorian sofa for our Overthinking time.

Given my editing workload and book preferences, I mostly read literary fiction, historical fiction, suspense, and nonfiction. I have been making an effort in recent years to read more books from other genres, and while I enjoy all genres, I used to avoid romance. Why was that?, I mused. Well, after overthinking about it, I realized that my tendency to stay away from romance came from having been told that romance is “less than” in some way. People often refer to romance as “trash” or “mom porn,” and even romance lovers sometimes use the term guilty pleasure to describe books they enjoy. Yet in romance, good things happen, yes, even to women! There are happy endings. It’s uplifting. It’s fun. And if fun, uplifting books with happy endings are the books we seek to give kids, why can’t we be okay with adults wanting the same kind of books for themselves?

If, like me, you were programmed to think less of romance books, I welcome you to rethink and even overthink your position and put a little love in your heart. And with that, it’s time to head home and talk dialogue.

Dialogue is an important part of character development. Look through your text and email messages. Think about how your friends and family communicate. Maybe even record them speaking (with their knowledge, of course). Everyone’s word choice and speech pattern is unique, and not just a little different but very different. For example, there are certain words and phrases your sibling might overuse that you never use, even though you grew up together. Every one of your friends will react uniquely to happy or sad news. Yet, as I traverse the land of unpublished manuscripts, I find that characters in a book often sound so similar that if the writer has left out a necessary dialogue tag, I am not sure who is speaking. Part of the fun for the reader is to get to know your characters, and one way you can facilitate that is through distinct dialogue. While you don’t want to overdo it by making the characters cartoonish or giving them all catchphrases, for the most part, I find that writers are under-doing it. Even if you manage to give your characters distinct voices, dialogue tags might still be necessary for clarity, and you can check the links in the show notes for an article I wrote about using dialogue tags effectively. Another Writing Break has come to an end, until next week, you deserved this break.

If you would like us to visit your favorite independent bookstore, feature your favorite independent author (yes, even if it’s you), or discuss something you’re overthinking about, please email me at podcast@writingbreak.com.

Thank you for making space in your mind for The Muse today.

Writing Break is hosted by America’s Editor and produced by Carolina Montealegre with technical direction by Gus Aviles. Visit us at writingbreak.com or contact us at podcast@writingbreak.com.

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Rosemi Mederos


Rosemi is the founder of America's Editor, a book editing company.