Tag Archives: dialogue

Dialogue: bringing characters to fruition in 5 tips

The dialogue between characters is one of the most important parts of a novel or short-story and it’s important to get it feeling just right.

When someone is reading a story, the ways in which characters express themselves and what they’re saying is very important for the reader to feel like they’re getting to know them and to build some empathy with the characters. When writing, you should always remember how you’d feel as a reader as well.

Feeling natural

For the dialogue to feel natural, it can’t just be comprised of a couple sentences that someone said. You must create a sort of movie in readers head, helping them understand the character and feel what they might be facing. However, you should be very careful not to use language that might be too polished or poetic, as those tend not to feel natural at all.

Voice

Each character should have a different voice and it must show through what they say. Different people use different kinds of sentences and vocabulary, and so should the characters.

It’s important to give them a unique voice, but it’s also important to remember that a conversation might have a lot of repetition and that it could prove boring to read, so you can add some summary into your dialogue, shortening the parts of it that your readers might not need to read in a tremendous level of detail. The reality is that most people would not go to such depths while elaborating or explaining themselves, at least not at first glance. This will also make the character appear more realistic and grounded.

Importance

As I said before, some parts of the conversation might become boring to read. You must decide what’s really important for the story and things that are just normal, boring chatter. If your character is a mechanic, it might be important for the story to know what’s going on with the car he is fixing, but you probably wouldn’t place him describing meticulously what he is doing with all the steps, for each of his tools, right? Good dialogue works vaguely in the same way.

What you say and what you think

In real life, you don’t always say everything you’re thinking (as many times, that wouldn’t be correct, or polite, at all). Your character shouldn’t neither.

To feel natural, your dialogue must contain hints of what your character is really thinking or what he or she would like to say, but sadly can’t or somehow struggles to. Give your readers something to think about.

Silence

What can you say about silence? Well, it can say as much as words, for starters, right? So, in order to enrich your scene, interrupt the dialogue sometimes, describe a character’s body language and you’ll have a richer picture and a greater scene to present your audience with. This might actually paint a fuller picture than some additional lines of dialogue ever would.

5 tips for your first page

In the previous post, we talked about how important the first page is to the success of your book. A good first page is, without a doubt, the difference between someone actually buying and reading through your whole book or merely picking it from the shelf, opening it up and setting it back.

It’s normal, especially for a new author, to feel scared about writing such an important part of their book. That why I’m going to give you some tips that might make that task less daunting, or even slightly easier.

1. Protagonist

The main character in your book must be interesting. Is it already? Good. Now, the thing is: you don’t have much time to showcase that to your readers, so… why not on the very first page?

When we met someone new, we often judge them from the first few seconds of our interaction with them. Very often we’ll naturally catch their most obvious characteristics and label them into categories that make sense to us, for personal insight in order to know how to proceed. So, you’ll need to use this knowledge, in order to introduce your protagonist in a way which is sure to leave a great impression.

Showcase their most peculiar and important traits of personality, leading your readers to create an image of your character in their heads from the very beginning, especially one that intrigues them.

2. Dialogue or action

This is the safest way to go with, on that very first page. As soon as they start reading, there is already something happening. It’s better and usually more interesting than a description…

3. Conflict

Start with a problem, show that there is something wrong, or about to go that way, in this world the readers are going to be exploring. You probably shouldn’t expose the full main conflict of the book, unless you want to risk giving away too much information right from the beginning, but it’s definitely a safe shot to present your character with a problem or conflict to resolve, right from the start.

You can also choose to show that there is a major conflict about something, without specifying precisely what it might be.

4. Mystery

Every story needs some mystery, something that is not that obvious to keep the reader interested. Why not present something like that, right on the first page?

A good way to do it, is to start writing in the middle of a scene as if the reader just arrived when something was happening, and he must continue reading, in order to understand what is taking place.

5. Write it later

Starting to write a story’s beginning, with an amazing scene, when we’re still not sure of what will happen along the entire way, might turn into a huge struggle.

Don’t get stuck on that first page, just keep writing. Allow yourself to get to know your story a bit better, and then, taking into consideration that omniscience you have on your story’s world and how it will be presented, you will most likely be able to write a much intriguing and integrated first page, which connects seamlessly into the story to come!