Don’t do that! Just cut out the “don’t forget”! While you’re at it, cut out “As you know” and “As I’m sure you know” and “As we discussed before”. These words are like nails on a chalkboard to audiences. If you’ve got a good reason for one of your characters to deliver a fact the other person would already know, then that’s fine: just have them do it.
Don’t panic and think, “Wait, the other person would already know that, I’d better make it clear in the dialogue that they aren’t hearing this for the first time.” People tell each other things they already know all the time, but they don’t remind the other person that they already know it.
In this case, the husband had a good reason for reminding his wife they’ve been at this a long time—he was steeling up her courage for a tough job by reminding her that they knew what they were doing. But he had no good reason for saying “Don’t forget” first.
The fact is that almost all dialogue with commas in it sounds weasel-y. Characters shouldn’t preface things, they should just say them. Here’s a trick that always works: When characters answer questions, cut out every “Yes” and “No.” Compare these exchanges:
- “Are you going to the fair?” “No, I’m going to the bar” vs. “Are you going to the fair?” “I’m going to the bar”
- “Do you love me?” “No, but I need you.” vs. “Do you love me?” “I need you.”
- “Did you hear the news?” “Yes, I’m so sorry” vs. “Did you hear the news?” “I’m so sorry”
- “Are you visiting Iowa?” “Yes, we need the rural vote” vs. “Are you visiting Iowa?” “We need the rural vote.”
For each of these, you may be thinking, “But then things might not be clear!” Good! Life isn’t clear. Your goal should be to write dialogue with maximum personality and the minimum necessary amount of clarity. The audience doesn’t want you to hold their hand. They’d rather you play hard to get and give them the thrill of the chase.