Tips for Writing Dialogue
A well-written dialogue is one ingredient of fiction writing that can bring life to character interactions. Coupled with expositions and narratives, it allows you to deliver more depth to the characters.
But, how do you create great dialogue?
Well, it won’t come easy, but we have some tips for writing dialogue that you can help you out a bit.
Is your character speaking as if he’s going to murder the other person or matter-of-factly? The dialogue alone may not be enough for the readers to grasp the atmosphere that takes place. Show your readers what’s going on with a narration of how the conversation is being carried out
Short or long – just make it interesting.
A dialogue doesn’t have to be short to be interesting. It’s OK for a dialogue where one party do all the talking without giving the other much chance to break it. One example is from the web novel Re: Zero where The Witch of Greed, Echidona, is asking the main character, Subaru, to take her help.
Is it long? Yes!
Is it captivating? Very!
Act it out
Your dialogues may look believable as you write them on paper, but how does it sound when real people say them? Do they still sound good or cringey?
Play the dialogue in front of the mirror to catch minute details that make the conversation unbelievable. Whether the conversation is between humans or a human with a sentient robot, you still have to make it believable.
“What is a believable dialogue?”
Simply put, a believable dialogue is what counts as natural by your readers. If a five-year-old is talking with the wisdom of a veteran, like what you often find in fake tweets, your readers will just shake their heads.
Don’t keep telling your readers who’s talking
Using “he said” or “said Ted” or variations of thereof is unnecessary. You don’t have to explicitly tell readers who’s doing the talking.
For instance, when two people converse, you only need to tell readers who is talking first. When you put each character’s dialogue is on their own respective paragraph, it’s easy to tell who’s talking about what.
You can also makes thing easier for the readers by in the dialogues. If Tom and Brady are talking in the car and one person says “It’s not that easy, Brad”, then you know for sure that it’s Tom who say it.
Different characters must have different voices
Giving your characters distinct ways of talking is a great method to differentiate them in dialogues. A nihilist talk differently compared to a happy-go-lucky person even when they’re discussing the same topic.
Give the characters different accents if they’re from different parts of the country. Or make their speech patterns flowery, eloquent, discursive, ornate, poetic, wordy, incoherent, or any other patterns.
If you’re stuck at this, go out and observe. Listen to people’s conversation and take notes on what makes one different from the other. After all, being a good observer is one of the traits of a good writer.
Break the dialogues with actions
During long dialogues, it’s easy for readers to get confused about what’s happening. Break the dialogues with actions. Show readers what the characters are doing while they’re having a conversation.
In a conversation between two people on a date, for example, you can break the stream of dialogues by describing how one person is looking nervous, how one is trying too hard to impress with every gesture, and so on.
OK, that’s all for now. Please don’t consider these tips as the rules of writing dialogue. Just think of them as mere guidelines or rule of thumb. When it comes to creative writing, breaking the rules can sometimes sets you apart from the crowd. If you have your own way to do certain things, do it.
One more thing, once you get the hang of writing dialogues, practice on writing internal monologues too.It’s an excellent way to describe your characters inner struggles and ideas.