How to Write Dialogue

how to write dialogueWelcome to week seven of ‘Writerly Witterings.’  Each Monday I post into my blog on an aspect of writing, and this week is ‘How to Write Dialogue.’

As always, I will follow this up on Saturday with a Facebook Live.  Click here to connect with me on Facebook.

Thanks for your comments and feedback on this blog series and on the regular Facebook ‘lives.’  Your feedback is gratefully received.  Last week, we looked at ‘hooking your reader’ and I have found myself increasingly watching the start of things on Netflix or reading the beginnings of stories to examine how other writers do it.

I often say that as writers, we never read the same again.  We analyse writing techniques rather than being involved in the story!

I am a very dialogue driven writer and believe it is the spoken word between characters that drives the narrative forwards.  Many readers are put off by the dense appearance of descriptive text on a page and prefer the ‘white space’ that dialogue offers.  In my creative writing courses, I offer one to two sessions on the writing of dialogue.

Nearly, if not equally as important, are the internal thoughts of the viewpoint characters alongside the dialogue and I will publish a blog post on this in the not-too-distant future.

If anyone would like to know more on the presentation of dialogue, drop me a line and I will send you an instructional pdf. how to write dialogue

This blog post will concentrate on how to write dialogue to its optimum effect and I will bring it to life through an example in my next Facebook Live:

  • Go easy on the speech tags. Show which character is speaking, rather than telling.  (Through character action or internal thought.)
  • ‘Drip Feed’ dialogue through your narrative. Speech does not occur in a vacuum so have it ‘interspersed’ amongst character action, internal thought, backstory and setting description.
  • Dialogue is ‘show, don’t tell’ at its best. As writers, we can portray character’s relationships to one another through how they relate to each other.
  • We can also show through dialogue, how characters feel about their circumstances and environments. This is achieved not only through what they say but how they say it.
  • We can showcase much of a character’s personality through their speech. Their accent, socio-economic status, background and personality.

Done well, dialogue really brings a story to life and can enable a reader to be truly immersed in what they are reading.  The connection between character and reader is increased and visualisation of the story in the imagination of the reader is also magnified.

If you can add any additional tips or strategies you use as writers on how to write dialogue, please post them into the comments box below.  Even better, join me for my Facebook Live on Saturday at 5pm where I will also read out examples that bring the above tips to life.

Next week’s theme will be ‘Show Don’t Tell.’  See you then!

© Maria Stephenson 18/2/19

PS:  If there are any writers out there nearing completion with a manuscript and would like a whole or partial critique, not only on their use of dialogue techniques but on all the aspects of writing narrative or poetry, visit my Editing Service page.

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