Every story needs good dialogue. Dialogues are the most important way to let your characters speak and interact with each other. However, writing a good dialogue can be difficult for some writers. Here are eleven tips on how you can improve your dialogues.
- 1 1. Keep Dialogues Short and Concise
- 2 2. Use Action Verbs and the Active Voice When Possible
- 3 3. Introduce Characters in a Subtle Way
- 4 4. Let Your Characters Tell the Story
- 5 5. Avoid Cliches
- 6 6. Omit Unnecessary Tags
- 7 7. Match Your Character’s Personality
- 8 8. Do Not Overuse Humor
- 9 9. Avoid Repeating Words
- 10 10. Have One Person Talk at a Time
- 11 11. Be Careful With the Use of Slang
- 12 Conclusion
1. Keep Dialogues Short and Concise
An excellent way to keep your dialogue interesting is to make it short. Dialogues should never be more than a page unless it’s an important scene that needs to last longer. If it is too long, your readers will get bored and lose interest.
Remember that human beings have limited short-term memory. People can only remember 5-7 pieces of information at a time before forgetting one or more of them. That’s why it is essential to keep your dialogue content short and concise to make it more memorable.
2. Use Action Verbs and the Active Voice When Possible
Dialogue should be interesting, and the best way to ensure that is by using the active voice. Active voice uses action words instead of making statements. Therefore, the active voice has a more significant impact on the reader than the passive.
It creates more visual imagery, making it easier to understand the story. It is best to use the active voice in most types of writing, including academic papers. You can check the EssayService website to see perfect examples of using the active voice.
3. Introduce Characters in a Subtle Way
Introducing characters by making them speak can intrigue the reader. This way, they’ll want to know more about what the character is like.
For example, when introducing a new student at school, you could write something like:
“I heard she’s nice.” “Yeah? What else do you know?”
“I don’t know anything else about her.”
At this point, your readers are well engaged and keen to meet your new character.
4. Let Your Characters Tell the Story
The reader mustn’t already know what is going on in your story before they read about it. This can be done by writing dialogue and letting characters speak for themselves, for example:
“What do you want me to do about it?”
This dialogue shows that one character is upset and the other seems indifferent. This will intrigue readers because they’ll want to know why this person is so frustrated with their friend.
5. Avoid Cliches
One of the most important things to do when writing dialogue is to avoid cliches. If you’ve ever watched a TV show or movie and heard characters say, “If I’m not back in X minutes…,” then you’ve seen this first-hand.
It’s important to avoid cliches, which are words that have already been overused, in dialogue writing. The main reason for this is that they make the story boring and may lead to your audience losing interest quickly.
6. Omit Unnecessary Tags
Tags are ways of connecting dialogue with action, thoughts, or description. One thing you should keep in mind when writing is not to overuse them. When writers squeeze in a lot of dialogue, they might use too many tags.
It would be best if you only used tags when they’re necessary and in moderation. A good rule of thumb is to make sure that you can’t do without the tag, or you added it for clarity rather than just because you thought readers might not know who’s talking.
7. Match Your Character’s Personality
A great way to develop characters is through dialogue. A character’s personality should reflect in their speech. It will help create better and more exciting stories as well as make the writing much easier.
Many times, people choose to write dialogue that is opposite of the character’s tone. For example, they’ll make a serious character say something funny or a happy character say something sad, confusing the readers.
8. Do Not Overuse Humor
It is good to add humor to the dialogue from time to time. It is a great way to connect with your readers and make them relate. However, it should never be a crutch and used to cover up a lack of creativity.
Humor in dialogue should be used for the right reasons. Make sure that it enhances your story, but don’t go overboard, or your readers might get annoyed.
9. Avoid Repeating Words
Characters should talk about different topics to keep things interesting. All too often, writers have their characters repeat words for long stretches of pages. This is a great way to bore your reader and make them skim through large parts of your work.
The best way to avoid this problem is by making sure that your characters have various things to talk about. Remember, it is also easy to spot repetition in a story, and the writer will look like they didn’t put any thought into the dialogue.
10. Have One Person Talk at a Time
One of the most important aspects of writing dialogues is making sure there’s always one speaker at a time. This can be done through the clever use of punctuation and spacing. The point is to ensure your plot keeps flowing.
Writers can also achieve this by allocating a new line or a new paragraph to each character. This way, there is a minimal risk of confusing your readers.
11. Be Careful With the Use of Slang
Proper writing is all about finding the ideal words to relay your message. Slang often has a different meaning in other regions of the world, or it could be out-of-date and no longer used by many people. This can disrupt the reading experience if you’re not careful. If you are in doubt, always practice moderation.
A well-written dialogue can make or break a story. If you want to learn how to write perfect dialogues, follow these simple rules and watch the difference it brings to your written work.