Reading two recent mysteries I was surprised by how, unlike real life, the dialog sounded. I remembered reading this tip, and jotting it down, somewhere, a few years ago. I couldn’t remember it all, but the internet is such a great resource to find needed information.
“If you are using dialogue–say it aloud as you write it. Only then will it have the sound of speech.” John Steinbeck
Great advice and so simple. This is also a great tip if you are self-editing, read it aloud. If it sounds funny and it’s not supposed to might be time to – revise.
Some western writers have a great passion for dropping the ‘g’ at the end of words. I think it sounds all right most of the time but am not sure it is always needed. Ridin’, eatin’, drinkin’, fightin’, shootin’, can get to be too much for me as a reader. Read it aloud, does it sound natural or forced?