D is for Dialogue


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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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9 thoughts on “D is for Dialogue

  1. Enjoying your tips so far! I do often chat for my characters out loud, even when I’m driving. I am sure other drivers must think I am crazy, since I’m the only one in the car! Happy A-to-Z-ing and see you on the WFWA loop!

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  2. Dialogue. This is an area that is so vital to the story yet it is not the biggest part of the story. For me, everytime I write or edit a scene, I always print it off and “a reading I will go, a reading I will go, hi ho the dairy-o, a reading I will go.” (sorry couldn’t help that, it just came to mind. 🙂 ) But for me the best way to catch things is to read it outloud. Great post today and so important when you are writing a book.

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