- Tip 1 – Do the obvious, eavesdrop in on other people’s conversations, remember words and in particular phrases and write them down for later use.
- Tip 2 – Dialogue has to sound realistic, real speech contains spoken pauses such as errr and um etc, repetition and broken speech.
- Tip 3 – Dialogue should always be used to develop your characters or further the plot. You must cut it out if it does not fulfil either of these two objectives.
- Tip 4 – Be careful about using dialogue that is concise or explanatory. If you get the balance wrong your characters will sound artificial or as if they have got on their soap box to lecture.
- Tip 5 – It’s always best to break up dialogue with description and action.
- Tip 6 – Readers do not register the amount of times it says he said or she said in a book. If you deviate from these tags, it draws attention to them and may annoy the reader.
- Tip 7 – Writing in dialect should be avoided at all costs.
- Tip 8 – Foul language and slang should really be kept to a minimum. The foul language may appear silly and/or annoy the reader. If you use slang words then you run the risk of dating your work.
- Tip 9 – Like Stephen King once said ‘read a lot and write a lot’. It’s not such a bad idea to find both good and bad examples of dialogue and make notes of what you feel works well in writing and what doesn’t.
- Tip 10 – Your character must stay true to their dialogue and be able to command it with ease. When deciding how they should talk you must consider their age, sexual gender and education.
- Tip 11 – Don’t forget to punctuate dialogue correctly.
- Tip 12 – Writing great dialogue comes from knowing your characters so well that you know how they will react verbally and with what words when faced with other characters, situations and events.
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