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Fred Zinnemann once said that “Dialogue is a Necessary Evil.” He was a renown Australian –born American Director who was by far ahead of his time. Anyone that dabbles in story telling will tell you that the key to a good story is A Good Dialogue without a doubt.
But how do we actually write Dialogue and what should we not do when Writing a Dialogue? The next part of the Making of a Dialogue series will focus on what not to do when writing a dialogue.
If you are new reader, then welcome. This is the third part of the Dialogue Miniseries. This Part can be read independently but if you want to start from the beginning then you can scroll down where there are links to the previous Posts.
Dialogue The Don’ts of writing.
Dialogue Has a Natural Sound.
When I read a book I love feeling like I know who’s talking just by reading the dialogue.
Dialogue is basically a conversation between two or more people, if your dialogue comes out as stiff and non-natural sounding that that shows the reader that: -
1. The character is boring
2. Reader won’t bond with the character
3. Unreal characters
4. Too formal
5. Bad writing.
Take for Example the Classic Novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn written by Mark Twain. (oh as a writer the only way to learn how to write is through reading, no shortcuts.) The book contains dialogue by characters who talk completely different. Jim is a character within the book who’s running away from a life of slavery. With this in mind, Mark twain crafted a unique way of talking for him, the pronunciation of Jims words in the book were accurate for the character.
Mark Twain new that he needed to be realistic in the way he wrote his characters. If he had written Jim, a Man running away from Slavery with a proper and refined dialect, then the book wouldn’t have captivated as many readers as it has and it would have not been a classic but an absolute failure.
Characters are Different, so are Voices.
People are different not everyone talks the same, that’s the same for Dialogue. If there’s one thing you should think about, it’s the way your characters talk. As simple as that. A simple way to do this is know your characters, from the protagonist ( I have an article on the Anatomy of a Protagonist so you can check that out) Antagonist, Love Interest, Confidant or Even a Supporting character.
Every character is important from the savior of the word to the little boy who has just one line in the whole entire book.
Small Talk is The Devil and Destroyer of Stories.
I just have to say this but Most Writers in Wattpad have this weakness. The hi, how are you and stuff is not good. I repeat YOU WILL DESTROY THE STORY WITH SMALL TALK.
Dialogue is a writer’s all powerful weapon tool and their kryptonite. it should be used when a writer wants to enhance the story, frame the character in a new light, make a fun witty joke, mold the character from one, two or three dimensional character, enhance the plot etc.
Best way to Tell is Exposition.
Yes, I do understand that sometimes, a writer can reach a point where writing a whole backstory can be challenging. I mean just setting the mood, coming up with ways to explain the weather, build a new character, build a town, clothes and just the weaving of the backstory can be exhausting.
Yes, you can Do a flashback but it still is too much work. Let me Introduce you to Exposition, where the character explains a big, (and I mean a big) chunk of the story though Dialogue.
So If you are feeling lazy and Don’t want to write a Whole Two chapters of irrelevant information then use Exposition. Thank me Later.
Using Names Looses Focus.
To be Honest How Many times do you say your best friends name when you talk? Yap now you understand what I mean.
I am not saying that you can’t use a person’s name within the Dialogue, I’m just saying you need to stop using names unnaturally. Use of Names can also be used to emphasize closeness of characters. ( Read Fault in Our Stars by John Green for this)
Too Much Talk, Tags and Grammar
A dialogue Tag is used to indicate the character who is talking e.g. “he Said” I have seen more than my fair share of confusing Tags, No joke. Key thing you need to know about this is if you get confused on who’s talking then the tags are being used wrong or the conversations need more tags. Confusion also comes through also through Punctuations USE QUOTATION MARKS CORRECTLY!!!
When it Comes to much talk in Dialogue it’s important for a writer to understand that sometimes a character not expressing themselves through dialogue is the best way to create tension, passion or evoke emotions from readers. I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson shows this so well. The author uses silence and expresses what her character is really thinking about through an internal monologue. It makes the reader feel like they know something that the other characters don’t know and makes us feel like we are Jude and Noah’s (Name of Characters in the Novel) Friends.
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I also enjoy reading so if you have a story or an article please share the link on the comment section and I will absolutely read it. Until next time!