Thursday, November 29, 2012

Dark Halo Author Christopher Kokoski

Dialogue Trick Of A Bestselling Author

One of the best ways I have found to improve my writing is to study the techniques of bestselling authors like Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Robert Jordan, Nora Roberts and Noah Sparks.

From his book, The Last Song, I noticed a trick Noah Sparks uses to enhance the dialogue sections of his blockbuster story. Today I want to share that technique with you.

While listening to the audiobook version of The Last Song, I picked up on a pattern that Noah Sparks recycled in nearly every passage of dialogue in this story. The technique centers on pairing dialogue with action or gestures.

 Lots of other authors, including many bestselling authors, intersperse gestures and action into scenes of dialogue. However, Sparks applies a slightly tweaked technique to make his dialogue even more memorable. By copying his technique, you can also make your own a dialogue more unforgettable, therefore enhancing the reader experience.

Instead of simply using generic body gestures or actions such as somebody stepping forward when they're being aggressive or drumming their fingers on a table when they're anxious or impatient, Noah Sparks carefully selects gestures that ground readers in the sensory details of the story. His gestures also seem to take into account the setting of each particular scene and also the individual traits of the characters. Study the three examples below:

    The female lead character engages in a conversation with another main character while sifting beach sand through her fingers

    A character in another scene makes little piles of salt on a restaurant table while in dialogue

    A character juggles fireballs while in dialogue

Notice how each one of these examples not only embellishes the dialogue and makes it more memorable, but also reveals the emotional state of the characters. Additionally, the fireball gesture creates an atmosphere of dangerous anticipation.

I also used this technique in my novel, Dark Halo. In three different scenes, the main character, Landon Paddock, engages in dialogue while:

    Picking broken glass of his daughter’s hair

    Chasing an aggravated angel around an abandoned cabin

     Tossing a severed human head into a bonfire

As you write or revise scenes of dialogue, you can apply this advanced trick by asking the following questions:

Question number one: What actions or gestures are specific to this character?

Question number two: What actions or gestures are specific to this setting?

Question number three: What actions or gestures would create the desired mood for this scene?

Question number four: What actions or gestures would reveal the characters’ feelings or state of mind?

Question number five: What actions or gestures would help this scene stand out from all the other scenes in the story and possibly other scenes in other stories?

By asking these types of questions, you can come up with a brainstormed list of gestures or actions that meet the needs of your story. The best actions and gestures are often the ones that meet multiple goals and answer multiple questions listed above.

Thank you for reading this post. If you've enjoyed it, please share it with your friends on your social media sites like Facebook or Twitter. If you want to see this dialogue technique in narrative form, please check out the hardback or eBook version of Dark Halo.

Dark Halo by Christopher Kokoski
genre: paranormal thriller
334 pages

In a town besieged by shadowy, demonic forces, a father races against time to save his family.

Thirty-five-year old Landon Paddock has deserted his wife and daughter, abandoned his business, and secluded himself in his late parent’s southern Indiana ranch. But he’s barely lapsed into a drunken coma when a mysterious, winged stranger appears during a violent lightning storm, chasing him out into the maddening night with his estranged 15-year old daughter.

As layer after layer of reality is dissolved by a series of violent encounters, the only way to survive might be for Landon to band together with the family he destroyed to make one last stand against a sinister army of unthinkable magnitude.

About the Author 

Christopher was born in Kansas, the son of an Army Ranger and Black Hawk pilot. He grew up in Kentucky and Germany, and graduated from Murray State University in 2002 with a degree in Organizational Communication. He spent the next three years laboring over his first book, Past Lives, while getting married to his college sweetheart, having a beautiful daughter, and more or less finding his stride in life.

He currently lives in Southern Indiana and works in Louisville, Kentucky as a national trainer. He has presented at local and national conferences on a wide spectrum of topics including communication, body language, cultural sensitivity and influence. Other notable activities include writing articles, short stories, novels and training materials for national and international audiences.

Christopher continues his passion and dedication to writing by working on additional novels, including a sequel to the Past Lives series. His most recent book is the standalone paranormal thriller, Dark Halo.

Social Media Links 

Author's Facebook Page 

 Author's Twitter