Crafting dialogue in your story

One thing new writers – and even some seasoned novelists – struggle with is writing realistic dialogue. Crafting relevant dialogue within your story requires much more work than carrying on a natural conversation.

Dialogue needs to serve a specific purpose in the story. It needs to advance the plot, reveal something about a character, establish the mood of a scene – or perhaps all three. When editing your novel, always consider if the dialogue advances the story.

Here are a few tips to help you with dialogue.

1.) Remember that people don’t speak in proper English. They use slang and contractions. They speak in fragments. They also rarely call each other by name. Spend some time listening to people speaking – at the mall, at restaurants, or even in your own home. This will help you develop natural sounding dialogue.

2.) One of the best ways to ensure your dialogue sounds natural and realistic is to read it aloud.

3.) Keep your tags simple. The more complex the tag line, the more it detracts from the actual dialogue.

4.) Avoid using adverbs with the dialogue tags. (Example – he said angrily) Often the adverb is repetitious; the dialogue should tell us he is angry. There is no need to repeat it.

5.) Consider whether you even need a tagline. If two people are conversing you don’t need a lot of “he said, she said” to have people follow the flow of the conversation. Avoid using “said” too often. However, be wary of using words like “shouted,” “muttered” or “whispered. While they are perfectly fine, they should be used sparingly. It is better to have the dialogue convey that it was intended to be shouted or whispered.

The best way to perfect dialogue is to listen to how others speak. But as you add it to your novel, be sure that it is relevant and that it advances your story.

For some other tips on writing fresh and realistic dialogue, check out this website.

2 thoughts on “Crafting dialogue in your story

  1. Deandre says:

    Keep on writing, great job!

  2. […] It also lets you hear the dialogue allowing you to determine if it sounds like two (or more) actual people holding a conversation. (This is actually the best way to have natural sounding dialogue.) […]

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