One of the main staples in any literary work is the dialogue. As much as you want to know the characters minds, how they work, what they are thinking, you also want to observe them interact with each other, preferably with some form of tension. Because nothing brings more angst and draw to a novel than tension, right?
But how, as a writer, do you write believable and captivating dialogue? Interactions between your characters that are not only realistic, but also keep your audience and their attention focused? If you lose their interest, it is much harder to get them back, than it was to get them to start reading your work to begin with.
In my own writing, I know I tend to do a lot of internal dialogue. The thoughts and rationale of my characters, which is later displayed through actions and interactions with other characters. I write this way because it is how I think, personally. I am very introspective, thinking over things incessantly before every saying a word. This plays out in my characters and in my writing, but I am also aware that when my characters do interact, the previous insight and view of their thoughts adds to the dialogue.
So how does one write captivating and enticing dialogue? What are the tricks?
Here are some hints:
1) REALISM! No one speaks in the classic prose of Jane Austen anymore (unfortunately), so when writing dialogue for your characters, say it out loud. Say it with a friend. Does it sound like something people would say? Another helpful trick? Go to a public place and eaves drop. Listen to how people interact, the words they use. This insight to common dialogue will positively influence your own writing.
2) Every writers vice: punctuation! This is one technique that can turn a common sentence, into an epic autocorrect fail. Memes have been created to make fun of, but also point out the importance of appropriate punctuation. The same can be said for dialogue.
When a sentence is ending, keep the period, exclamation point or question mark inside the quotation.
"He said to come here."
When an attribute is before the dialogue, a comma will come before the quotation.
Mom said, "Come here."
When the attribution follows the dialogue, the comma goes inside the quotation.
"Come here," mom said.
And so on...
3) Repetition is another bane of writing existence. Readers don't want to hear 'he said', 'she said', they said', everyone said! There are plenty of ways to change up the words you use to describe dialogue, including exclaim, said, commented and the like. But remember, actions are not dialogue. People can not giggle a sentence, and using these types of words to describe conversations is usually frowned upon, although most of us (myself included) do this.
In the end, the main staple in creating dialogue is realism. If you are writing historical fiction, read works from that time to get your mind and prose in that period. If it is a modern day work, listen to conversations, television shows, friends. Think of the impact of your words, and how you want to get them across.
Because when it comes to writing, words speak louder than actions.
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