Dialogue. …tips on getting it just right.


Realistic dialogue isn’t always the easiest thing to write anyway. If done well, good dialogue develops our knowledge of characters and advances the story without clunky narrative.

However even as realistic dialogue helps your story evolve, it can also ruin your novel completely.

Bad dialogue is just plain painful, to read and write.

Below are some simple rules on dialogue.

1. Listen to People.

Natural speech patterns are essential. Good writers pay attention to people and their expressions along with the musicality of language.

2. Dialogue is kinda not really how we talk.

Dialogue shouldn’t read like real speech. How do you write it like that? Easy just take out the dull parts. This very much applies to dialogue as well as narrative. To make the dialogue more exciting edit out the filler words and unessential dialogue. Dialogue always has to contribute to the plot or else it’s a wasted opportunity.

3. Slow down.

Don’t make it obvious that you are forcing facts essential to the back story down the readers throats. Let things flow naturally. Keep things back. The story should unfold naturally.

4. Lights,Camera,Action!

Remind your reader that characters are real by having them interact with the physical world. This also helps break up chunks of dialogue.

5. Relax on using Dialogue Tags.

There is a balance between finding a synonyms for he said/she said and just going with the standard tags. Don’t be overly reliant on using either.

6. Keep it real.

Throw in some local dialect but be careful of Stereotypes, Profanity, and Slang.

Stereotypes are easy to fall into using and even though cursing is useful, use it and slang sparingly. There is a risk of alienating the reader. If dialect is added it can really flesh out a believable character. Remember if you must use slang, dialect idioms and sterotypes, they need to have the most impact without detracting from your world.

7. Listen, Read, Learn.

Pay attention to both worlds around you, literal and physical. There are millions of conversations taking place all the time. In real life and in books. Take advantage of them. Dialogue can help you cut down on narrative when used correctly.

8.Punctuate and keep it simple.

Punctuation makes dialogue. Simply put, take time sculpting your dialogue and get the basics right. If your dialogue is overly complicated or seen to try to be overly clever, adding poor punctuation will irritate the reader.

So there you have it…dialogue.

Happy writing!

Neil Sehmbhy is a budding young author. Brainchild behind the forthcoming Corporation , Jinx and Sunder novels, he lives in a town that calls itself a city. Follow him on twitter  @NeilSehmbhy.


One response to “Dialogue. …tips on getting it just right.

  1. Pingback: Writing styles | Run4joy59's Blog·

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