Write Compelling Dialogue for Your Novel

Exactly why is dialogue so important to good story writing? The same reason that communication is necessary for any good relationship– because you should know someone to care about them. The main reason readers carry on turning the pages is because they care about your characters, and dialogue is the key to allowing your reader to learning about these new fictional individuals.

Right before writing a scene, play it over in your mind – several times – this helps get the feel for the characters and the story dialogue. The first few times you play the scene in your mind it should have no noise, but gradually, allow the characters to come to life. Visualize them speaking to each other, and also consider the thoughts that are going on inside their heads. Through this, when the dialogue emerges characters are talking to one another, not at one another.

Writing dialogue is the most interesting tools we use to pass on information and reveal character. Among the secrets to engaging story dialogue is that the characters don’t necessarily need to be discussing something important to the story. As an example, a man and a woman meet for the first occasion in a supermarket and the reader sees they are attracted to one an other– they don’t have to refer to their attraction. Instead, they discuss their loathing of queues and rising milk prices– something they share which brings them together. The conversation becomes more compelling as it reveals their characters.

Every time we write story dialogue, we have to express what we are trying to communicate in each particular scene, then weave it into the action by breaking it into chunks. Think of the way people speak in real life. They never just stand still and speak. They are always moving, touching their hair, folding their arms, raising their eyebrows, or touching their chin as they chat.

A skilful dialogue scene can infer past events, clarify the true nature of a relationship, and reveal what a character has been doing ‘off stage’. If you can really get a character’s tone and characteristics right, at the end of the story your reader should know what your character’s dreams are, their deepest desires, and how they were raised.

What to do to set about creating realistic dialogue in your story? Start by watching and listening to real people when they speak. Study their behaviors and mannerisms and how they move while they are talking. However, in the real world people often say the same thing several times over, and in our fictional worlds we want everything to be concise and valuable to the story, so get a taste of how people interact with one another, but make in more concise.

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