Wednesday, April 2, 2014

D is for Dialogue

My editing list today is dialogue. 

Books need dialogue. But it's important to remember dialogue has a purpose!

1. To show character
2. To further action of plot
3. To illustrate the emotional state of the speaker
4. To convey information.

When it comes to editing makes sure you aren't repeating information in the dialogue. Does each of your characters have a particular way of speaking? Have you over done dialects or foreign accents? Have you gone OTT with a stutter?

Lastly, 'said.' It's the mark of the amateur to try and think of as many ways as possible to avoid using said. Most of the time readers don't even see it. 

My lecturer, author Sara Grant suggests once you have finished your piece of writing highlighting a characters speech and then reading just the dialogue. That way you can check that your character doesn't change their voice half way through the novel.

Quick editing tip

Read your dialogue aloud. Unnatural lines may hide on the page, but they tend to leap out when spoken.
Listen to someone else read your dialogue aloud. How do the lines sound? How do they feel to the speakers?

If you are an A to Z blogger who popped by please leave your link to your blog so I can follow you back! Happy April.


  1. Those are handy tips indeed. Yes, creating characters with distinct talking styles is a big challenge.
    Stay tuned on A-Z !

  2. I enjoy writing dialogue, but you're right about the styles and getting it right. I have a Welshman in one of my novels and I researched tips from actors on how to get the intonation of Welsh so that I could hear him in my head and get the rhythm right when I wrote his dialogue.
    Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles - A to Z Ghosts
    Fantasy Boys XXX - A to Z Drabblerotic

  3. When I was a kid, I would open the pages of new books and check out if there were interesting dialogues. I still do that up to now. :-) Books come alive when there are interesting dialogues that would be able to lure the reader into the tale.

  4. I love dialogue. I do get a bit tripped up in WRITING accents so that others can read them. There's how they sound in reality, but it can be hard to "hear" that via written word. Also, I love working with the non-verbal dialogue. I just love it! Great post!

  5. Thank you for the tips . I believe that dialogues strengthen the character .

  6. Hi, stopping by from the A-Z and a new follower. Like you, I am aiming for a publishing deal and like you, I have been studying my craft, and writing, for years! Visit me at

  7. Great post! Reading aloud is perhaps the single most useful tool I use.

  8. Reading dialog out loud has really helped me. I find you can avoid the word "said" or similar words all together if the voices are different enough, but sometimes, you need "said" for clarity.

  9. Good tips! Interesting about using the "said" -- I guess I'd never really given it much thought. Visiting from A to Z,

  10. Dialogue was always my nemesis when I was trying to write fiction. Just to clarify, I was only ever writing for me, getting published was never the goal, more a far off pipe dream.

    Thanks for visiting my blog :)


  11. Returning your visit.
    This topic is on point for me, as y whole blog started as a practice run, (but now I'm loving it), and dialogue is something I need to get right. Especially since I have criticized others during book reviews for having unrealistic dialogue. I don't want to end up eating crow, if you know what I mean.

  12. Interesting list of cliches. I don't normally get to hear about the cliches for other genres as I write in horror. Thank you :)

  13. I feel I used to be decent at dialog. After a long hiatus, though, it always felt like I was struggling to find any kind of voice for my characters. They all began to sound alike. I find that very annoying. Over time they kind of broke out on their own some. Hopefully enough lol

    I can't agree more with reading out loud. I do that multiple times and it's great to find those random hiccups in both dialog or any written piece.

    Jak at The Cryton Chronicles & Dreams in the Shade of Ink

  14. These are surely useful...would keep them in mind the next time I sit down to write a story. Thanks!

    All the best for the rest of the letters for the remaining month :)