He said WHAT?

dialogueDialogue.

Writers, did you just cringe at that word? Lol. Most writers either feel they write strong dialogue or they feel like it is the hardest thing on the planet. Which one is it for you?

Here are a few tips I’ve learned along the way that might help when writing dialogue for your story.

  1. Think about how people sound. Read it out loud. Does the dialogue sound like your character would sound? Does it sound too formal? Most people use contractions when they speak. Correct grammar tends to fly out the window during conversations, so don’t make it sound too formal.
  2. Do all the characters sound the same? Everyone talks differently. Make sure your dialogue is a good match for the person speaking. A child does not sound like an adult. A teenage girl should not sound the same as her mother. A doctor uses terminology people without medical experience wouldn’t know. Make sure the dialogue fits the person.
  3. Are you using the dialogue to move your story along? Reading a whole page of people saying good morning to each other may be very genuine to the way we interact with one another, but on paper, it is totally B-o-r-i-n-g, right? Make sure the conversation has meaning. Bring it to life. Make in interesting.
  4. Add emotion to your dialogue. What kind of scene are the characters in? Should they be happy, angry, sad, or excited? Make their voice match what is happening in the story.baby.jpg
  5. Use your dialogue to really show who your characters are. Some people have certain phrases they tend to use that is unique to them. That can make a character stand out. And don’t forget people lie. Is the character saying one thing, but thinking something else? If you are writing from that person’s point-of-view, you can really emphasize the differences in their thoughts verses their words.
  6. Don’t overuse tags. As long as the reader understands who is speaking, you don’t need to add that tag to every line. Use it when necessary for understanding. A character’s actions can serve the same purpose. People move when they talk. Add a few actions in. Make the scene come to life. Nonverbal cues and body language can tell a lot.

Have anything to add? I know I always welcome suggestions. Please feel free to comment below and add your own advice! 🙂

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