This post is part of the “From Dreaming to Publishing” series.
- Beats are descriptions or actions between dialogue, e.g. walking, grabbing, and all that “stage-business”
- Fewer beats » less interruptions
- High tension » relax with beats
- Writers may overuse beats because they lack confidence and feel the urge to explain everything
- However they’re great to let the dialogue breath, add texture and variety, develop a character’s personality*
- Readers aren’t fools, they can picture what you’re saying, don’t limit their imagination
- Find your rhythm and balance
- How often do you interrupt dialogue with beats?
- Familiar everyday actions as beats? Drop them!
- Do your beats fit the rhythm? Read out loud
This post is a personal summary of a chapter from the book Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, which I read when preparing for NaNoWriMo. It warns amateur writers for the common pitfalls and provides solutions with examples. I’m sure you’ll find it useful too.