Something I have been thinking about recently is dialogue. This may because I have been writing more recently with Go Teen Writers 100 for 100 challenge and because I am in Speech class.
Does your character own their dialogue?
What I mean by that is: Can you take the words that one character says and put them in another person’s mouth and sound the same. If you can, then you need to reconsider your dialogue.
Speaker tags and speaker beats point to person talking, but the words that they say should too. You don’t have to get nitpicky here. Words like “Yes” are going to be the same, but people have different ways of saying things. Dialect, Slang, and Jargon are examples of the differences in language.
An example of this is Mozzie in White Collar. His choice of words is so unique that if you looked at his language written, there would be no doubt that he was the one to say it. This is more Jargon.
Another example of this is Sherlock Holmes in Elementary. This might just sound different to me because he is British and living in New York. But, this is where context comes in. This is more Dialect.
Listen to the people around you. Think about the different ways to say the same thing. Think about the kind of people that your characters are. This will help you write dialogue that belongs to your characters.