Writing Dialogue – is it that easy?
Time for me to return blogging, this time talking about dialogue in a story.
I find it relatively easy to write dialogue, but for a new writer it can be a minefield.
I read some posts that said that people were studying how others talked to try to use it on their story. Do NOT do this. Have you ever paused to hear what we say? We sound like crazy people, we do plenty of pauses and change subjects too fast, sometimes we don’t even make any sense. Do you want to read that in a story? Do you want to read about people saying how the weather is getting worse or how they forgot to buy something at the market or how they saw the most beautiful top? Nobody wants to read about that.
Then there’s the usual concern to change the word “said”, you see replied, exclaimed, shouted, and the list goes on and on and on. I admit it looks boring reading the same word every single time, but that doesn’t mean you have to change it and use 200 synonyms just to sound cool. What many fail to realise is that if you put in those complicated words you’ll just break down the dialogue. The reader, who was just until then reading your novel smoothly, will stop and his flow is gone. The more of those words he’ll see, the more he’ll hate your guts and just wish you could get a move on. Or maybe that’s just me, don’t know for sure on that one.
You don’t have to say the characters names every time either, that’s just unnecessary words and assuming that the reader can’t follow your story.
So what can you do to make sure you have some decent dialogue?
Write only what moves the story along and cut as many words as you can. Write reaction shots if they are needed, they are sometimes, we want to know how the characters are reacting. Now that you know that your story isn’t going to be the real world you can be more effective. Effectiveness is the key here, it’s all about landing blows in a mystery or horror or thriller or suspense, and you want to make what the characters say to be powerful. Every line they say has to mean something or move your plot, and if it doesn’t then just cut it. When revising your work that is what is going to happen: you cut, cut, cut.
To sum it up let me just say this: writing dialogue isn’t that difficult, it’s rather easy actually, but you have to know what to say and always think that it will reflect your characters or your story. Plan a bit ahead and make sure it connects with those key elements of your story.
Oh and remember the characters voices, you can’t make a cowboy sound like an english butler! Write how you imagine your characters speak.
There, that’s it for today.
See you again tomorrow.