Writing dialogue can be tricky for me because I tend to write like people would talk. And don't misunderstand. I'm not patting myself on the back. This is not a good thing.
Here is why...
When people are having a conversation, a lot of the time they think out loud as they speak.
"So, what's up girlie?"
"Oh, you know, same ole, same ole."
"Well, I heard Jake's having this killer party tonight. You wanna come?"
"UM, sure. It's cool with me."
Did you catch those filler words (so, oh, well, UM) used as these two processed the conversation in their heads as they spoke?
I'm pretty sure we all do it. I know I do, especially on my blog. A lot! Please don't judge:)
Maybe we don't do it to process the conversation in our heads, as much as we do it out of habit. And so what? It's fine to do...when you're talking to your friend about going to the grocery store or telling your mom about some shoes you want to buy.
But when you're writing a novel, everyday speaking isn't always necessary.
I had a hard time digesting this when I first heard it. You mean to tell me we're told to bring the characters to life, make them realistic, but their dialogue isn't supposed to be natural?
That's exactly what I was being told and when I thought about it, it rang true.
I know people, especially us writers, are a cool kind of people. Go ahead. Toot your horn for a second. You're cool and you know it.
As amazing as we all may be. Our dialogue is more often than not--boring. Filler words are boring. They stall the reader rather than move the story forward. Characters in our stories don't need to meander on a subject for an interminable amount of time like we do in real life. They have killers to run from, relationships to terminate and a freaking world to save! They don't have time for a bunch of UMs.
So, (see I just did it) next time your finger is hovering around the 'find and replace' button on your computer, search out those filler words and get rid of some of them.
Yes, you did read right. I said some of them. In my personal opinion it's good to a have a few fillers sprinkled here and there. I've read some pretty fabulous books where they're used sparingly just to give the book a certain flavor. And it's magic. Just like an ice cream sundae is great with chocolate fudge. But if you douse that sundae in fudge, you lose the taste of the ice cream and it isn't all that good anymore (not the best analogy since some would prefer an ice cream sundae that way, but you get the picture).
Now it's your turn. What's your opinion on the filler word? Do you love em' or would you love to rid them from your writing for good?