Writing dialogue in a novel requires more than knowing how to write a conversation. Good dialogue intrigues, informs, moves a story along.
Writing dialogue — realistic dialogue — does not come easily to everyone and is a lot trickier than it might seem. Great dialogue is one of the most vital components of fiction. It helps the reader get to know the characters AND to love them or hate them. It conveys the plot and advances the story, while fleshing out the characters. A very powerful way of revealing the character’s personality and or quirks. Perfect dialogue is so powerful that if one were to remove all dialogue tags the reader should still know which character was talking.
Good dialogue has the potential to take your story to a whole new level.
Here are the main rules for writing dialogue:
- Each speaker gets a new paragraph. Every time someone speaks, show this by creating a new paragraph.
- Each speaker is indented.
- Punctuation for what’s said goes inside the quotation marks. The reader knows how the dialogue is said.
- Long speeches with several paragraphs don’t have end quotations. The quotation marks on the end of the paragraph are removed, but you start the next paragraph with them.
- Use single quotes if the person speaking is quoting someone else. “Man, don’t you love it when girls say, ‘I’m fine’?”, the single quotes indicate what someone else says.
- Skip the small talk and focus on important information only. This isn’t real life and will actually feel more fake if you have too much.
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