by Holly Abidi
Some quick concise advice on creating good Dialogue.
Five Quick Tips & Practical Advice On Writing Good Dialogue
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By: Holly Abidi
As writers we are faced with having to create that dreaded "dialogue." Some writers are able to master it almost right away; but others need to work at it. So how do you know if you have mastered dialogue?
Usually you know you've mastered your dialogue if your reader can flow through a page of dialogue between your main character and another secondary character without getting lost, bored, or feeling like it's fake. However, there are also some other things you can do besides consulting your readers (since sometimes writers don't have this option available). So, here are some basic tips to consider when working with and creating any dialogue.
Handy Tips To Keep In Mind
1. Dialogue needs to be purposeful. It shouldn't be dull, forced, or unbelievable. You should always ask yourself when creating long dialogue: would my character say this? If so, would they say it like that? It never hurts to play around with some different ways of writing the dialogue if it doesn't feel natural.
2. Dialogue normally is used to clarify, fill in the gaps, and even relay essential bits of information to the reader. It should always be organized, concise, believable, and realistic to that character. And of course any dialogue is done with a purpose-- to make the story more believable, lively, and to make it more interesting for the reader. The bottom line is, try not to over do the dialogue either.
3. Dialogue can repeat information from the story without standing out and yelling at the reader. However, if you do this too often it can become boring or too obvious, so use this tip with caution.
4. Watch names because when two characters are talking they won't repeat each other's names such as this segment:
"Yes, Jenny, I thought so too".
"Right, Ben, and then I figured it out."
After a couple pages of this you would be annoyed. However, the author is often able to say something like:
Ben looked at Jenny and said, "Yes, I thought so too."
Jenny nodded in agreement adding, "And then I figured it out."
5. Watch out for dialogue modifiers that become or seem redundant and overused. These are words such as: exclaimed, shouted, cried, whispered, stammered, etc. or using "said" a thousand times; instead, use some variation. However, don't get me wrong these dialogue modifiers can be used, but with some moderation.
My best advice to any writer would be to study novels. That is to suggest that as a writer it can be beneficial to study as many bestsellers as possible. This is because those authors often have worked on and mastered dialogue, as well as created really believable and dynamic characters.
Also, if you can find some television scripts and study that or movie scripts this can also really help you better understand character dialogue. Nevertheless, if you want to see some dialogue that is stretched or seems somewhat ridiculous look at soaps. Their characters are supposed to be Barbie dolls and they often suit that roll, but in terms of dialogue most of it I find is unbelievable. At least that is my opinion, maybe you love that type of dialogue.
However, your best bet is always novels. You probably will find more concise and believable dialogue in them. Though if you are banking on movies to provide you with an example always keep in mind that this type of medium often has that visual element and sometimes leaves a lot out.
Speaking of movies it's this visual picture that allows the writer to leave out a lot about the scene or characters. This is mainly because you can already see the other character. In other words, in a movie the writer wouldn't say:
Jenny looked at Ben whom was frowning at her as she stammered, "But I swear I didn't know."
The point is the audience can see that Ben is frowning and they can see that Jenny is stammering and even upset. So they would only have Jenny look at Ben and say "But I swear I didn't know.”
I hope this is helpful and I've offered a few good tips to help you master or fix up your dialoge. Be sure to check out my other writing advice articles either on here or on the net. I don't know how many times I've been busy surfing the internet to help with my writing. So use your resources and of course best of luck with your writing!
Best wishes fellow writers!