Dialogue


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The best way to weaken dialogue is to try and make it sound like we speak. All dialogue is enclosed within quotation marks. Punctuation is also enclosed withing the quotation marks. “I need you. Now!”>>
“I’m trying to tell you—“>>
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Use dashes, ellipsis and exclamation marks sparingly.>>
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Your characters can interrupt each other in dialogue.>>
“Tell me it isn’t true, you—“>>
“Yes, it is true,” she interrupted.>>
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Each person speaking gets their own paragraph. The paragraph can contain the words spoken, thoughts or actions of that character. Having each speaker with their own paragraph makes it clear to the reader who is talking. When a reader sees dialogue, it means action. It shows there is more than one person and that something might happen.>>
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Good dialogue is when the writer disappears and the characters take over. Reading your work out loud can help you see if the dialogue flows well and is understandable. Characters each have their own distinctive voice. They mustn’t all sound the same. Some people talk fast, others slow. Region, country and time period in history will also make a difference in how a character speaks.>>
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Dialogue is supposed to push the story forward. How? It informs the reader, reveals character emotions or state of mind. It can even foreshadow an event that will happen later on. Dialogue can also provide dramatic tension.>>
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As of this course, the use of –ly endings I’m told is 2 per page. Ly ending tags weaken your writing and are general and are telling, instead of showing. Example: “Your poor thing!” Anne murmured softly and gently.>>
It should read: “You poor thing!” Anne murmured and patted the woman’s arm.>>


When writing a character that is from another country, you must be careful not to stereotype them. This means you pick a few words to scatter, maybe even one word to indicate the flavor of that language. Look at the sentence structure. Is the speech more formal? The education level and the job of the character will also reflect on his/her dialogue.>>
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