Sunday, November 24, 2013

On Writing Dialogue

The art of writing dialogue is one many writers spend their lifetimes trying to perfect. Stilted dialogue will make editors cringe and your story less believable. Whether you are writing a screenplay where dialogue is instrumental, or you are writing a fiction novel, understanding how to make your dialogue snappy, believable, and compelling is paramount.

Step 1 – Get into your character's heads. In order to write believable dialogue, you must know where your characters are coming from. Do they speak with an accent? Have a particular way of speaking that makes them different? What kind of education and background do they have? What time period are they living in? Once you answer these questions, you will have a better feel for how each of your characters speaks.

Step 2 – Read the dialogue aloud. One of the secrets of great dialogue is reading aloud what you have written. If necessary, enlist the help of a friend to read another character's words aloud. If the dialogue sounds stiff, forced or weak, you will be able to tell immediately. Your dialogue should flow like a normal conversation between two people – and that is exactly what dialogue is at its heart.

Step 3 – Make it believable. If your characters are in the 16th century, having them speak with today's slang is not going to work. Research the time period for which you are writing and pay attention to the way people talked. You can find inspiration by reading novels from that time period.

The art of dialogue is one that some writers never master, mainly because they don't take the time to perfect their art. Every book is different and every character is different. However, by following these simple steps you can create outstanding dialogue.

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