There is one thing that can make or break a story. It can wilt characters and frustrate authors to the point of overused expletives. Do you know what that thing is? No? Well, the thing that I’m talking about is something that I’m still working on. That one thing is…DIALOGUE!
Dialogue is an integral part of storytelling. It helps the reader understand the character a bit more and shows them what the character is saying and what they aren’t. Yeah,I know that was a bit confusing, but I promise it’ll make sense soon.
Dialogue needs to be realistic. It’s basically a representation of the character. You get a feel for a character by what they say as much as what they do. So their conversation with someone needs to seem natural. It doesn’t have to be proper and it doesn’t have to have a lot of slang in it. I’d suggest paying attention to a verbal conversation that you have. Pay particular attention to the way you and the other person communicate. Do they use filler words? Do they talk with their hands? These things can be useful if the character calls for it.
Another thing is to use tags. I remember my creative writing teacher talking to me about tags in my story. I tried to use vivid detail where it wasn’t needed. I could have just wrote “Remi said” but where would the fun be in that? In all reality, I did need too learn when to scale back. Use words like “replied” or “said” it makes things a bit easier.
One last thing is that action and dialogue go hand in hand. This is where I tend to mess up. I’m more of an action person so my action tends to outweigh my dialogue. I think dialogue used to be scary thing for me. I felt like my dialogue was too stiff, but as I keep practicing I find myself getting better. That what it takes; practice. Just remember that dialogue is just as important as action.I know you can conquer the hill (a mountain would be an exaggeration) that is dialogue. Keep on writing.
Before you go here are a few tips:
- Don’t make it clunky. Think of how a normal conversation would go and draw from that.
- Use dialog tags.
- Give a mix of action and thought.
Here’s a couple of lists to help you say said differently
Here’s a list of facial expressions. I honestly just like the list and the blogger’s page so here it is.
And click here for the link to my Pinterest creative writing board. It has a lot of useful tips on it.