Today’s guest blog is written by Aspen Mae Holden who I met through camp NaNoWriMo at the beginning of this year. Now Aspen doesn’t have a blog I can direct you too but you should definitely go check out her pinterest account.
Now that’s enough from me so let’s see what Aspen has for us.
Dialogue is, in my opinion, one of the most important (and fun to write!) parts of a story. Dialogue is what your characters say to one another, and the way a person talks says a huge amount about their personality. I’d like to share some excellent tips on how to write dazzling dialogue.
First, I’d like to make a quick recommendation. Most of the ideas here come from this wonderful ebook:
How to Write Dazzling Dialogue by James Scott Bell
The book outlines the following tips in much more detail and it’s been tremendously helpful to me. I hope you’ll check it out!
The most important thing about writing dialogue is this: It. Must. Have. A. Purpose. That means it’s not useless, boring small talk.
Maybe the purpose is to ramble on and on about something, or to delay the moment when they have to have a real conversation, but only if it is a way for the character to accomplish something. Speaking is, as Bell puts it, “an extension of action”.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, here are some mini-tips that are explained more fully at the end of Bell’s book.
Orchestration-The most interesting dialogue will come naturally when you have a cast of characters with contrasting personalities and quirky, distinct speaking styles. Have some fun free-writing the speech of your various characters and really flesh out their personalities. The better you know your characters the better their dialog will be.
Flip the Obvious- This is exactly what it sounds like; take something a character says that’s “obvious” and write down the exact opposite. One of my favourite ways to do this is taking a random bit of dialogue from another story and putting it into your own. You may be surprised at how well this works.
Subtext- As put in Bell’s book, “What’s going on in the scene is more than what is scene. See?” Know things your reader doesn’t and let them figure it out.
The Cheap Champagne Method- Improvise. Don’t worry about correct punctuation or grammar. Let your characters say whatever the heck they want. Then, when you go back to edit, cut out the bad stuff and keep the brilliant stuff.
Don’t forget About Silence- Sometimes, your character has absolutely nothing to say, and that’s fine. Often it’s better than whatever meaningless words you can come up with anyway (no offence). Remember, sidestep, silence, action. (I don’t know exactly what that means, but it sounds important. Keep it in mind!)
Well, that’s all! There are countless more tips in How to Write Dazzling Dialogue, but I hope the little advice I can give helps! 🙂