4 Quick Tips To Mastering Dialogue

I love writing dialogue in my stories because it gives me a chance to show the reader how my characters sound. Even though it’s through a book, you can still be able to hear how the character talks just by the words the author chooses to give them.

We all want to become masters of dialogue and we all strive for perfection.  I’ve been writing dialogue for roughly 11 years and I get better the more I write it. Here are my helpful hints for making your dialogue the best it can be while at the same time being considerate of your audience’s time and moving the story forward.

1. What Your Characters Says vs. How Your Character Says It

Both are equally important when it comes to creating dialogue that perfectly captures your character’s personality but they are different.

A shy character may decline a party invitation (the what) but in dialogue be sure to show how she says it to show her shy personality. For example, she can say, “no thank you” in a soft whisper while looking down at the floor. She could also use an excuse to reject the offer such as, “No one would want to dance with me anyway.”

You can use words in your sentences that add a bit of personality as well. This changes how they say what they need to say.  For example, if you have a rude teenager that’s about to brush off a curfew you can say something like, “Yea I’ll be back on time. Sure, whatever mom.” And have her roll her eyes or something to show readers she’s lying.

The add-on words were whatever and yea. When you take those words out there are no hints of sarcasm for your sarcastic character.

2.  Your Character’s Backstory

Believe it or not, your character’s voice reflects from their background. Think about it. If you have a character that has spent its whole life starving, living on handouts, and charity do you think they will talk in a happy giddy way or a more reserved conscious tone? A more reserved conscious tone would be right.

Until your character goes through a “turnaround” where they become a better person by the end of the story, their voice should reflex what they have been through whether it’s good, bad, anger or sad.

3. Who Are They Talking To

We all do it. We all talk differently to our moms than we do to our best friends. We also talk differently from our boss and a stranger walking down the street.  With some people we talk freely and uncensored. With other people we watch what we say and choose our words carefully.

Let your character’s voice reflect off who they are talking to as well.

4. Considering Plot and Moving The Story Forward

Lastly, when you use dialogue make sure it moves the story forward or shows a little more about your character’s personality. Dialogue can be very addicting when you have two people in a full-blown discussion but try to limit what’s being said if it doesn’t move the story along.

Remember this is the reader’s time we’re talking about.

Practice with dialogue for fifteen minutes and try to incorporate these tips to make your dialogue awesome and fun to read.

Keep Writing, Shaquanda

Do you think this list is helpful? What would you add or take away?

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About the Author

Shaquanda Dalton

Hello, my name is Shaquanda Dalton and welcome to Learnasyouwrite.com! A little about myself, I'm 20, I live in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and am a Sohomore at the University of Wisonsin-Milwaukee. I love writing and have written short stories and simple works since I was nine years old. I have a cute cate named Joey who loves to scratch and bite on his good days.

  • http://www.stuffshewrote.com Yoneco Evans

    I like to test my dialogue by reading into a recorder and then listening to how it sounds. Hearing it usually helps me know if it sounds realistic or out of character. Usually I can “see” a character better based on what they say.

    • Shaquanda Dalton

      That’s absolutely true. The more or less a character says in the story effects it as well.

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