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It’s more than just two (or more) characters YAPPING. Dialogue should move the story forward somehow… Great dialogue can pull a reader in. But bad dialogue? It’s the fastest way for me to give up on a book.
Here are eight tips I’ve learned for creating better dialogue:
1. Listen to how people talk. Yes, eavesdrop. Politely, of course.
2. Not quite the same as real speech. You can lose the “um” and “like” and “er” dialogue…readers can become annoyed with too much “extra” dialogue.
3. Don’t provide too much info at once. Try not to use dialogue to give the reader information that you SHOULD show in the narrative.
4. Use slang sparingly.
5. Don’t overuse dialogue tags. You should only use “said” or “asked” when possible.
6. Break up dialogue with action. Too much dialogue on the page can be daunting.
7. Read widely. But you knew that… <grin>
8. Punctuate dialogue correctly.
What’s some of the best dialogue you’ve ever read?
— Chase Superman Duffy