“Ditch dialogue qualifiers,” said the baboon, rapidly falling backward.

manga-heroQualifiers are like potholes in the road. They bump your readers off the hook.

Here’s a little story designed to inject humor into the lesson.


“Is that your Uber driver?”

Taken out of context, the question is straightforward. Banal.

Could be more exciting if the Uber driver in question were dressed in a zebra costume. Or, steering a Sherman tank.

I wish this had been the case.

It was not.

Repeat writing advice here:

“Never use dialogue qualifiers. They distract from the story.”

Now, continue the story.

Ok smarty, how do you flesh out “is that your Uber driver?”

Let’s try “Is that your Uber driver?” he asked, as the SUV sped past, flipped a U in the middle of the block and came back.

All right, action. Show me. Add depth to the characters.

“Is that your Uber driver?” The California Highway Patrolman asked Ivan, the hog farmer who was my 3:30 Uber fare. He told me about my brush with the law then we got into more important things.

Yes. Ivan raises Mangalitsa hogs. Just this morning, a sow gave birth to a dozen piglets, who will grow up to provide healthy, hearty organic meat. Ivan is moving to Napa to start an organic farm. He has friends in the highway patrol. The pigs will stay in Escondido.

I will never make a U-turn in the middle of the block again.

And never forget the pigs.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s