Tuesday, August 12, 2014


Dialogue is actually conversation.  I love a dialog-based story.  When your characters talk to each other – your story comes alive – it’s action.  Here are some interesting things to remember when writing dialog.

The first thing is to make sure dialog moves the action forward.  You’ll kill your book immediately with stilted dialog.
          “Morning,” Amie said, then slid onto the bench.
          “Morning, Miss Washen.
          “How are you?”
          “I’m fine.  Lovely morning, isn’t it?” . . . .

Okay, I’m too bored writing that – to continue.  Your characters need to bring the pages alive with their dialog and they must sound like real people.  Just don’t include all the missteps that occur with ‘real dialog.’  Have you ever taken minutes for a meeting?  That’s a great way to realize people start talking, get interrupted, or their thoughts shift gears, and they don’t always makes sense.  They also add sounds you’d never add in your book; er, umm, well, you know, etc.  Don’t forget how much we interrupt each other.

When you’re talking with someone you hear the tone, rising and falling of their voices either in excitement or perhaps in anger.  We see body language that communicates a lot.

The truth is dialog should be quicker and more plain-spoken or direct than real speech.  A great tool to use to create realistic dialogue is to develop a distinct voice for each character.  I don’t mean have one talk with an Irish brogue, another with a English accent, and a third with a broken Southern accent.  Don’t be as obvious as that.

How about having a character with a bit of a lisp, and another who shows class and sophistication, and a third who doesn’t seem to know how to shut up – all within realistic limits.  It wouldn’t take a reader long to recognize who’s speaking.  Giving your characters diction creates depth beyond just the words.


Ginger Jones Simpson said...

Great post, Rita. I agree and am trying to add lots more dialogue into my stories.

Ginger Jones Simpson said...

I forgot to add that dialogue is a very important way of conveying information to the reader that doesn't have the person in POV describing themselves...such as.

"I love the way your hair shines redder in the sun."

"Green is definitely your color and matches your eyes perfectly."

Now we know the heroine whose POV you're probably writing in has red hair and green eyes without her having to TELL the reader....you've SHOWN them..

Rita Karnopp said...

Thanks, Ginger . . . I like your added examples... :) Rita

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