Dialogue, the sometimes fun part of a story amidst writing long narratives and brick paragraphs on Microsoft. Where you get to take a little breather from world building and creating context behind what’s happening and have the characters say what they want to say.
Although dialogue can be fun at times, sometimes, it can be just as hellish as writing narrative . . . especially if you’re a screenplay writer.
Well, I’m not a screenplay writer so I won’t be talking about that today, what I will be talking about is how to write convincing dialogue.
Okay, let’s begin.
Writing convincing dialogue simply means what your characters say, and do, amid the action should be an impression of what real people would do, not exactly what real people would do.
If your characters did exactly what real people did, they’d be all over the place and the story wouldn’t go anywhere. Stories require some ounce or extent of control (even if your writing style is predicated on spontaneity and divine muses, like mine) to where the characters can be themselves but their actions further the plot.
Not that I use plot when I write, a waste of energy (lol)
When writing dialogue, sometimes it can feel like writing and that you’re trying to think of witty things to say or how to put something that happened in the past into context or having a character do all the work in furthering the story.
If this is the case, don’t fret, there’s a way around it. Actually, there’s a few ways around it, let’s go over them, shall we?
First, use your narration to create the scene. This way, all your characters have to do is say what they want to say without having to put much into context. When you use narration to create the scene, things such as dialogue tags become unnecessary unless to indicate who’s speaking, so you don’t need to put “she yelled” or “he said angrily” or anything like that, the situation will dictate the context, and, in consequence, the character’s feelings.
Second, just use “said.” This is to piggyback off the first point, you don’t need fancy tags. Just write what the character says and move on, you’ll find that the more you do this the easier it will be for you to get in the zone and for the story to advance. Overusing dialogue tags can be distracting and inundate the reader.
Third, pay attention to how real people talk. Writing is mostly observation and great syntax, emphasis on observation. We’re the ones that observe life and write about it for the entertainment of the masses, we put a mirror to the world and reflect it back at itself, which is what great stories often do at times, and the more you can do that in your writing, the better it will be.
And the faster you can get that bestseller and move to the Bahamas (wink, wink)
Fourth, only use dialogue for conversations important to the story. Need I say more, no one cares about two character having coffee at Starbucks unless they’re talking about taking over the world, turning humans into slaves, and using the earth’s resources as fuel and trading goods. Get it? Got it? Good.
Fifth, have fun with it. Why did you pick up the pen if it wasn’t to have fun? Just because it can be hell doesn’t mean it has to be. Take the pressure off yourself and just write the story, trust yourself and your creativity and you’ll be surprised at what you produce. I know I have at times.
Alright, I’m done here.
Till next week . . .
Tell me what you think in the comments! I read and reply to all of them and welcome feedback for improving my stories, poetry, and insights. Thanks for reading!