Top 5 Tips for Writing Dialogue

Writing Dialogue

Rowena Macdonald, a fiction writer believes that dialogue is easy compared to weaving a plot line and I'm naturally inclined to believe her. Writing conversations between characters is inarguably the most fun I've had with writing Gods From the Machine. To give each individual character a specific voice and personality and meshing them together is something that occurs in everyday life and of course is much easier than trying to create a complex narrative. However, many authors have trouble with dialogue and today I'm going to pinpoint some things I've learned that helped me write my own story.

Here are my top 5 favorite tips on writing dialogue:

  1. Instead of using "uhs" or "ums" try using ellipses to give the impression of pauses or uncertainty. Ellipses can also be used at the start and end of dialogue, when someone has been talking for a while and is likely to go on awhile, to give the impression of the other characters tuning out. 
  2. Use dashes to show interruptions.
  3. If writing dialogue for a character with a specific accent, don't write it out phonetically, as this can look patronizing and old-fashioned. Use odd syntax and a few choice bits of slang to convey their accent.
  4. Dialogue tags like "he said" or "she said" should be kept to the minimum as they slow dialogue down. 
  5. Avoid adverbs in dialogue tags. ("If you come near me, I'm going to use my knife," he said, threateningly.) Make sure the dialogue itself carries the tone.

Of course everything is subjective because I've noticed that many authors also have their own unique styles and tastes, but for the most part, sticking to these five will undoubtedly make your dialogue work a lot smoother. It also pays to listen to real life conversations and reading is never wrong when trying to discover new ways to express dialogue.

You can also read the rest of Rowena Macdonald's tips here

Till then, I hope you enjoyed this post and like, share, comment away!