Posted in writers

D is for Dialogue


Big surprise . . . right? But honestly, how could I do writing tips that start with “D” and not include dialogue? This is where those wonderful characters from the “C is for Character” come to life. Dialogue gives them voice. A few rules of thumb dealing with dialogue are:

  • Dialogue must move the story forward. If there is no purpose to the discussion, delete it. Small talk has no place in most novels unless you are trying to portray an annoying, boring character.
  • Dialogue must be compressed. Write it, then cut the words down. Then cut again. You are getting close.
  • Each character’s voice must show in the dialogue so you know who is speaking without needing “he said, she said.”
  • Tension is an important part of dialogue. Real life people don’t always agree. Neither should your characters.
  • Avoid excessive slangs, especially when dealing with stereo-type characters. Surprise your readers.

Try taking dialogue from your WIP and see how many words you can eliminate without losing the conversation. Chances are the lines will read better. Also, read it aloud or have someone else read it to you. Does it sound natural?

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