by Tina Stone
These are notes and jots that offer help with creating better dialog.
Tips for Dialog
#1: Watch Your Dialogue Tags - Normally, the word “said” will do just fine.
#2: Ground Your Dialogue in a Scene - Every conversation that takes place needs to be somewhere.
#3: Use Dialect and Accents with Caution - If you have a Scottish character, they don’t need to sound like a Burns poem. (I *Laugh*'d.)
#4: Don’t Let One Person Speak for Too Long - If your characters have long blocks of speech, break those up.
#5: Realistic Doesn’t Mean Real - Dialogue is supposed to give an impression of real speech; it’s not supposed to be a transcript of how we really talk.
#6: Give Your Characters Distinct Speech Patterns - One good trick is to take just the lines of dialogue in your short story or novel – cut out the action and dialogue tags – and see whether you can work out who said what.
#7: Don’t Put Exposition in the Dialogue - Avoid having characters tell one another things that they logically should already know.
#8: Use Silence as Well as Words - Sometimes, what’s not said is more powerful than what is said.
#9: Get in Late, Leave Early - You don’t have to begin the conversation at the first word and end at the last.
#10: Punctuate Your Dialogue Correctly - You want your story or novel to be as professional as possible.
**These tips came from the November writing.com newsletter Short Stories. This issue was edited by senior moderator Leger~ the newsletter cites where they got the list from if you're interested.**