Top 10 Dialogue tips

Whereas plot is the heart, prose the veins and the characters the brains of the body of your story, Dialogue is the lung which breaths fresh air onto your pages. Here are my top 10 tips for Dialoguing.

10. Extensive dialogue in fight scenes is unrealistic.

I don’t know if you have ever been in a fight but if you are punching someone in the face, chances are that you won’t be doing much talking besides namecalling and cursing.

9. Do make sure every character has a distinct way of speaking.

If every character is identifiable by slang, a lisp or a stutter then the reader will generally enjoy the dialogue more and will have an easier time keeping track of who is saying what. Not only that but it will also give your character more depth, especially if certain quirks have been given for a reason

8. If you would never use a word, wonder if a character would.

I can’t begin to count the amount times I have seen fourteen-year-old characters say words I wouldn’t know how to begin to pronounce and do so, without a remote struggle. People will generally pick the easier synonym if it is available unless they are Posh McPoshpants.

7. Write the conversation out beforehand and decide an end goal.

If I write the words which are spoken in a conversation before I add the tags and description and know where I want that conversation to lead, I tend to make a better choice of words. It might work for you as well!

6. Keep local slang and dialect to a minimum.

Local slang and dialect can distract people if overused. It can also be considered racist by your readers and the last thing you want is to have a Tweet-war with an angry reader because you interpreted their slang just a little wrong.

5. Do not allow anyone to ever make a speech unless they are giving a speech.

I think paragraphs and paragraphs and paragraphs of the same character talking about something like the weather or anything for that matter will almost always turn out boring. If you can mix it up with someone else talking that would be much better.

4. Minimalize chitchat.

You only have a limited amount of words for your story, do not use this limited resource for constant introductions and how are you’s. Try to be creative in skipping this one!

3. Adverbs with dialogue tags should mostly be unnecessary.

Angry people will swear a lot. Happy people might compliment one another and sad people will catch their breath halfway through a sentence. If you display this through the words your characters say or the body language they show, you will never have to say: “He said angrily” again. Unless you prefer it that way, but that’s up to you.

2. Do not overuse names. 

When talking to someone, you will only ever use their name once or twice. Please don’t make your characters do this either unless they are in the army or are talking to medieval nobility or something.

1. Do not use dialogue as an excuse to infodump.

This speaks for itself and is my biggest pet peeve. Why would anyone randomly start explaining the entire history of the egg of magical spoons without anyone asking? They wouldn’t. Even if someone asks then they will only explain what is necessary. Please, please please find a way to gently weave in your information through both prose and snippets of dialogue. Thank you!

Do you have tips for writing dialogue yourself? Do you disagree with some of these points and want to explain why, please hit me up! I love talking to people!

Talk to me by clicking on this Twitter link or by commenting below!

Or, if you like neither of those things: This is the contact page.

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