Writing a Dialogue in Fiction

How to Create an Excellent Dialogue: Main Tips 

Good dialogue is a half of the success when you write a novel, so it is extremely important to make them well-written, memorable, and expressive. We have prepared a range of useful tips and pieces of advice on how to create an individual and bright characters through dialogues.

Do not Use Too Many “He Says” and Their Synonyms

There is no need to write “he says” or anything alike after each line in a dialogue. So, omit these phrases every time it is possible. The dialogue without those markers is more realistic and true to life. Though, you should use “he says” and its synonyms when it is hard to understand which character is speaking. Otherwise, readers can get confused.

Do not Use Complete Sentences All the Time

In real life, we do not converse with complete sentences, so you should not use them in fictional dialogues unless this is the way of characterization of a personage. Use an ellipsis to make conversations more natural.

Make Character Speech Match the Situation

The form and style of dialogue should be appropriate to the situation in which the conversation is set. Thus if the dialogue is between a strict boss and his assistant, you cannot use familiar lexis, slang or vulgarisms, and vice versa avoid too formal style in a conversation between friends or lovers.

Make Your Characters Individual

People can be distinguished by their manner of speaking, and this feature should be transferred into fiction. Readers should be able to distinguish personages by how and what they tell. You can use a dialect, deliberate grammar or spelling mistakes, vocabulary of a certain style, jargon, and other devices for that purpose.

Use Shorten Forms

If you are to write an informal dialogue, use shortened forms. E.g. “hadn’t” instead of “had not”, “he’ll” instead of “he will” etc. What is more, read aloud such conversation to make sure that they sound in a natural way.

Direct Answers to Questions Are Not Always Appropriate

Avoid direct answers to direct questions. People usually do not answer if the question is inconvenient, and your personages should do the same. They can try to change the subject instead.

Do not Use Italics

If you need to write a dialogue that is full of emotions, it is much better to use words with emotional connotations than Italics. It is also possible to use exclamation marks, but do not overuse them as well.

Do Not Turn Dialogue into Monologue

Dialogue is the exchange of phrases in turns. Sometimes a writer wants his or her character to say a lot in one phase, and the exchange in turns converts into a long monologic speech of one personage. To avoid that, make sure that one phrase in a dialogue is no longer than three-four lines. If it is longer, reduce it!

Avoid Too Much Information

Do not try to convey information through dialogues, as it makes them artificial and unrealistic. Introduce first or third person narrator and let him or her develop the plot and provide essential information to readers. The narrator is also useful when you want to express views on a situation, share some philosophical thoughts, or present ideas.

Do not Address Characters by Name to Often

You can mention the character’s name at the beginning of the conversation, but do not mention it throughout the whole dialogue.

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