Lesson 7: Dialogue and Conversation
- To learn the basics of creating dialogue and conversation
- To know why writers use dialogue in their stories
- To know how it helps with the content of a story
- To understand the do’s and don’ts when creating dialogue
Quick Navigation through the Lesson 7:
- Dialogue and Conversation
- Why Writers Use Dialogue
- Basic Elements when creating Dialogue
- Do’s and Don’ts when working with Dialogue
- Tips on How to write good Dialogue
Dialogue and Conversation
Dialogue is the tone you want your characters to have. It is the characters voice in a story. A writer wants his/her readers to get an idea of how the characters in the story are like with the use of dialogue. An exchange of dialogue between two or more characters is called a conversation.
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Why Writers Use Dialogue
Writers include dialogue in their stories to give it a more realistic feel. Without the use of dialogue the chances of the story to become more animated in the eyes of the reader can disappear. Dialogues and conversations among characters in the story help the readers get a better understanding and connection with them and who they are. Writing dialogue can be fun because a writer can experiment with as many different voices as he/she can. Writers use dialogues for the following reasons.
To Show rather than Tell
When a writer shows how a character is, and not just merely tell something about him/her, the characters become more real to the readers.
To Build Tension and Drama
Stories become a bore when there is no tension or drama.
To Share how a character is, what he/she is doing, feeling etc. with the readers of the story.
To Create White Space on a Page
White space helps the writer manage the number of lines in the story. Sentences or dialogue must be organized in a way that will be manageable for the readers to take in and white space helps achieve that. This technique also attracts busy readers.
Basic Elements when creating Dialogue
- Give it Purpose – don’t just write dialogue because you just want to. Write a dialogue for a reason. You can write it to advance the plot of the story, to characterize instances and traits or to mainly give out important information that you want the readers to know.
- Keep it Concise – means a writer should not beat around the bush. The writer must be straight to the point as much as possible as to not drag the conversation on. Limit the use of flowery language and just try to keep the tone like you would in a real life conversation.
- Make it Flow – construct dialogue in a way that the readers will not get bored reading it. Do not over use dialogue tags (he said, she said). Mind the length of your dialogue, to long can tire a reader from following the conversation. Try adding prose through your dialogue describing the actions of the characters while saying their dialogue.
- Give it Distinction – no writer wants a character in their story to sound the same. When writing dialogue always give variety in tone and voice so as to give the readers a glimpse of the characters personality.
- Do not forget Quotation marks – this is a marker between words from the story and words from the character themselves.
- Punctuate Appropriately – this means to use punctuations correctly and in a timely manner. Punctuation use helps readers understand how the characters are feeling at that specific moment.
Do’s and Don’ts when working with Dialogue
- Follow correct grammar usage when creating dialogue.
- Use appropriate punctuation marks.
- Be concise and go directly to the point.
- Give out some information about a character.
- Add in adjectives and verbs to give dialogue a realistic feel
- Overuse dialogue tags.
- Exaggerate a characters back story.
- Create dialogue or conversation that is very dragging or too long.
- Try to be too real, it might make the story lose its imaginative elements
Tips on How to write good Dialogue
- Read other stories with dialogue. This helps the writer get an idea on how he/she will construct his/her own dialogue in their work.
- Listen to conversations. Try to catch the rhythm of natural speech and how different people use dialogue when conversing with one another.
- Read Aloud. When the writer reads what he/she has created aloud this helps them distinguish if the conversation sounds good or not. By listening to the dialogue the writer can be able to point out what needs to be changed from the conversation.
In conclusion, you should now be able to create and use dialogue and conversation in your stories to help readers know more about your characters. You should use dialogue to give the story a dramatic flair and white space (applicable to busy people). Dialogue helps readers feel what the characters want to express. You should always experiment when creating dialogue to know more about how you want your characters to sound.
After creating a great conversation between your characters we now head on to how you can create point of view. In lesson 7, you can know more about point of view itself and how to create one for your story. Point of view is the perspective of which you are going to write from, whether it will be from the first person point of view or to the third person point of view, go ahead and read more about it in the next lesson.