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Creating Engaging Dialogue


Today’s topic comes from QSFer Allison Mann:

how to build engaging dialogue. fun? witty? suspenseful?how to build engaging dialogue. fun? witty? suspenseful?

Dialogue is at the heart of most stories – if you can pull off a natural dialogue, you can keep your reader engaged in the story, and provide insight into your characters without having to say “Character a likes toast.”:

Millicent’s hand hovered over the plate for a moment. “Oh, I haven’t had a piece of toast since I was a child,” she said, willing her hand to return to her lap. “But it looks soooo good. Is that real butter?” Unbidden, her hand grabbed the piece of toast and brought it up to her mouth for just one bite. “Oh my God, it is. Damn you for tempting me so, Alicia.” The last crumb dropped into her lap, and she gave her friend the faintest of smiles.

See? Isn’t that better than

Millicent really liked toast.

The keys to really good dialogue, imho:

–Close your eyes and imagine the conversation, reactions,e tc as you write

–Try to liberally sprinkle in references to the surroundings – as the character interacts with them

–Only use “say” and “said” as dialogue tags except in the most dire of circumstances – they are “invisible” to the reader. And sometimes you don’t even need those.

–Reads your dialogue aloud to see if it flows

So my questions today – as a writer, how do you write dialogue – any tips or tricks you want to share? And as a reader, when does dialogue just not work for you? What are some of the things that bother you?

Come join the conversation.


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