Books are not just about action- not even thrillers. As I write my second book “Lucky For Some, Thirteen” I am conscious of the fact that dialogues enhance the quality of your writing or bring it down. They are sometimes taken for granted. We write them any old way believing the strength of our plot will make the book sail through. This is a huge mistake.
I would like to share a few learnings about writing dialogues based on my experience:
- Repetition of Dialogue Tags: I found that unconsciously I was using tags like “he said” and “she said” far too many times. The human mind has this uncanny habit of picking up words and sounds that are repeated. The reader will be put off with the ” he said”/ she said” pattern before too long.
- Repetition of Words: For the same reason, unless it is part of your plan to develop a character, avoid over using the same word. All of us have some pet words and phrases. ” Basically”, “Oh, yes?” and “Dang!” are fine by themselves but jar when used too often.
- Unnatural Dialogues: Get real. When your main character comes back one dark night to find his house burgled, he doesn’t wax eloquent on the stars and the moon. You would say ” What the f…k!” if you were in that position. So make him say it!
- Use Dialogue to Portray Feelings: Not only can feelings be described in terms of emotions, they can be shown by what your characters say. Your choice of words and the way in which your characters say them give your reader insight into their feelings.
- Dialogues Provide Relief: Too much of anything tends to bring in a sense of monotony. A well written dialogue provides relief after loads of action. Likewise, dialogues bring in relief but if they are too lengthy begin to get monotonous themselves.
Words and phrases used in your dialogues lend muscle to your characters. To make your story more interesting and absorbing for your readers, make your dialogues count.