Dialogue. Ah. One of the tricky but powerful pieces of writing a story. When done well it could be the most powerful piece of a story. When not well done it can really ruin a great story. So today I’m going to share with you 3 quick tips on how to write good dialogue.
Tip #1: Unique Voices
When writing a conversation between people (especially several) you’re going to want to give each one their own voice. Sometimes this can be very hard, especially with flat characters that don’t stand out much. When they don’t have their own unique character and opinions, their dialogue can be very flat as well. So a good way to make each character have their own voice is to give them all their own personality. Then writing dialogue with them is usually much easier.
Another way to give your characters their own voice is to literally change the way they talk. Like give them an accent and spell the words differently.
Here is a sentence:
“Why don’t you all walk down to town with me, guys?”
This one is pretty flat and could be used for almost any character. Now look at this one:
“Why don’t ya’ll walk on down t’ town with me, folks?”
So much more interesting, lively, and unique! This can be a great way to really show who is talking.
Tip #2: Tension and Actions
Many times, dialogue scenes can get boring fast if you just have two guys talking to each other reclining in lounge chairs in a house. But if you give a better set up and more action, dialogue scenes can be changed very quickly from boring, to really gripping.
So, instead of just having one guy talk and then the other guy talk, you can give it much more liveliness by making them pause in their conversation and do something before continuing.
Here’s an example of an average conversation:
“I still don’t think we should do it,” Max mumbled. “What would we get out of it anyway?”
“Why, a whole lot of stuff!” Joe replied.
Here it is when you add a pause and give the characters something to do:
“I still don’t think we should do it,” Max mumbled as he stood up restlessly and walked over to the table. He picked up a book and thumbed through it thoughtfully. Setting it down once again, he turned to Joe. “What would we get out of it anyway?”
“Why, a whole lot of stuff!” Joe replied, standing up as well and walking over to Max with his arms outstretched.
First is kind of boring, right? While the second really shows Max’s concern and adds more tension as he walks over and thumbs through the book.
Tip #3: Talking While Moving
Another great way to add interest into dialogue is give the characters really something to do while they talk. Like maybe they’re sparring with swords, or hiding behind metal barrels with machine gun bullets flying past them, or even just taking a hike through the forest so that it isn’t just the dialogue people are reading, but two characters doing something, and having a chat at the same time. It makes it a whole lot more interesting, and realistic.
So, to sum it all up, three ways you can make your dialogue more interesting is give each character their own unique personality and voice, add tension and actions between characters talking, and give them something to do while they are having their conversation.
I hope this was helpful for you and hopefully you will be able to apply this to your own writing and be able to craft more interesting and exciting dialogue!