BE THE BssOSS OF DIALOG

Dialog can do many things for your story. It can:

  • Show readers who your character is
  • show readers who other characters are, ie, gossip
  • moves your story forward
  • Help with backstory if done creatively and carefully

Most importantly, who are characters without their voices?

MAKE SURE YOUR DIALOG MOVES THE STORY ALONG

Don’t write an entire paragraph of dialog about how Bane kicks Batmans ass any day of the week. Unless your story is about comic con or bats, or batman, or unless it represents the theme of your story, ie, your character is a superhero of some sort, it’s best to leave this discussion out. If it has nothing to do with the plot, don’t add it, or add it briefly which is an oppurtunity to weave in colourful charcter description.

example:
Dillon and Mayer lined up for the 4:09 bus to Thornbury. Dillon lifted his backpack higher onto his shoulders and turned to face Mayer.

“Did you watch the dark night rises last night? Wasn’t it awesome?”

Mayer shook her head. “Had too much homeword to do.”

When the bus arrived, Dillon dug into his pocket and handed a five dollar note to the bus driver.

In the above example we fill in some time waiting for the bus, while also giving the readers a snippet of Dillon’s interests. (batman).

However, it is not necessary to include the waiting for the bus and could instead look like this:

The bus to Thornbury arrived three minutes late. Dillon filled Mayer in on his batman marathon last night as they found their way to the back of the bus.

HOW TO FORMAT DIALOG?

(A) New paragraph for each speaker. Always press the enter key before writing dialog for each character. Characters need their space, and your writing looks much smoother and less congested.

Example:

“Are you telling me that you’ve finished your proposal already?”

Jane nodded. “With twenty minutes to spare.”

(B) As a beginner author, always enclose dialog with speach marks.

“I want you at the office by 0800 sharp,” said Tom.

In America it is custom to use the double quotation marks.

In the UK it’s single.

As an Aussie who bases my stories mostly in USA, I use double. If I were to dump my characters in the melting centre of Western Australia, I would use single.

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