Dialogue between characters is one of the most important parts of your novel. It shows the character’s voices, personalities, emotions, and it’s fun to read. But stilted dialogue? Not so fun. So how do you make your character’s conversations sing? How do you make it flow and sound natural, so the reader’s sitting right there with your protagonist while she’s chatting it up with the hobo down the street?
Talk to yourself. Place yourself in the shoes of your characters and talk it out. When you say it aloud, you hear what would be natural to say. Notice how we say extra ‘that’s and ‘the’s and ‘and’s and ‘just’s in our speech. Don’t edit those out like you do in normal prose. Next time you’re waiting in line behind a chatty couple at Starbucks or sitting on the bus, listen in on the conversations around you. Hear how people constantly interrupt each other and abruptly change topics. We don’t always talk in complete sentences. We don’t always use proper grammar. The more aware you are of the world around you, the more real your writing will feel.
How do you like to approach writing dialogue?
- Dialogue Do’s and Don’ts (joybernardo.wordpress.com)
- Let’s Talk About Dialogue (awritersreality.wordpress.com)
- How can I improve my dialogue? (A guest post) (chipmacgregor.com)
- Tackling Dialogue (theheartofwriting.wordpress.com)
- How to create your own “dialogue cue” practice (onewildword.com)