Wednesday, 29 October 2008

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Dialogue, make it plain, make it obvious

Tell Me A Story

Caught up in dialogue

High-quality dialogue can help readers identify with characters. If your characters hold what appears to be a natural conversation, readers will be caught up with their story. They will feel they are part of what’s going on.

Dialogue has many uses. It can shed light on complex conditions. It can put us in the picture about the past, explain the present, and give suggestions about the future, but whatever way it’s used, it should always be obvious - make it plain.


Your reader must at all times grasp what your protagonists are on about, don't make your dialogue hazy. It’s a mistake to make oblique references to events from dozens of pages earlier. The only time you can get away with that is if the incident was so amazing that the reader is bound to remember.

Unbearable dialogue

Be careful of what you allow your characters to say. The area where people come from, often affects the way they speak. This doesn’t mean you should try to write your dialogue in dialect or regional accent. The occasional use of a local expression can be enchanting, but a whole dialogue in dialect is almost unbearable to read.

Make dialogue plain and make it obvious.