Monday, May 24, 2010

Dialogue Help

This is dialogue information I picked up from Rod Morris of Harvest House Publishers.

Things to think about when you are writing dialogue
1) Would the dialog be interesting enough for an eavesdropper to wonder about what is being said?

2) Let dialogue show the emotions.

3) Characters should talk to each other and not the reader.

4) Use "beats"* to show actions, define character, or vary the rhythm of the dialogue.
Ex: “Where are you going?” Jane looked up from the dishes.
“Where are you going?” Jane picked at the cloth napkin in her lap.

5) Resist the urge to explain the dialogue. (RUE) If you've written it well, there is no need to explain it in narrative.
Ex: “How could you do this to me?” The question in her voice tugged at his heart. (we already know by the words that she is distraught)
“How could you do this to me?” The single tear on her cheek tugged at his heart.

* A beat is a bit of action mixed in with the dialogue that you use rather than tags like he said.

Speaker attributes:
Put name first. Ex: “Don’t forget the kids,” he said.
Mark said, “Stop the car now.”

Start a new paragraph with new speaker.

Place punctuation inside end quote.

Use a dash when conversation is interrupted.
Ex: “ What do you-“
“Don’t question me now.”

Use ellipses when words trail off.
Ex: “But this doesn’t…”
Or for stammering/stuttering or gaps in dialogue.
Ex: “I th…th… think I c…c…can.”
“ Put the chair…” she pointed to the corner, “ over there.”

How is your dialogue? Did you find this helpful?

1 comment:

M Pax said...

Yes, it's helpful. Glad I finally got to reading this. :D