Monday, July 23, 2012

I Like the Way You Talk

I think one of the hardest things to write has to be dialogue. In theory it should be simple, right? We’re just writing a conversation and we all have conversations. 

But the trick is making the writing sound like an actual conversation. I’ve read works in which the dialogue sounded forced and stiff. You also have to keep in mind accents, cultural references, connotations and slang.

So, what are some ways to write dialogue well?

This article at has some good tips, including this one:

Alfred Hitchcock said that a good story was "life, with the dull parts taken out." This very much applies to dialogue. A transcription of a conversation would be completely boring to read. Edit out the filler words and unessential dialogue — that is, the dialogue that doesn't contribute to the plot in some way.

Author Alice Kuipers suggests reading the dialogue aloud, a sure way to determine if it sounds realistic. She also cautions that dialogue should move the story forward. So don’t add in dialogue just for the sake of dialogue.

What are your tips and techniques for writing good dialogue? 

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