Let’s talk about writing “Dialogue”.

After writing that heading above, I sat and stared at the text box with no idea what to write because what is there to say about dialogue? I’ve always assumed that it’s either something you’re good at, or you’re not.

But let’s talk about dialogue. Are you good at it? Are you awful at it?

I don’t have a drama with writing the actual dialogue, but I struggle with dialogue tags. I’ve read a lot of books that tag absolutely every line of dialogue.
– “She said, blushing.”
– “He said, running a hand over his face.”
– “She said, wiping a cloth over the dining room table.” etc.

Whatever happened to ending dialogue with a simple “he said.” and then letting the reader fill in the gaps? What are your dialogue tags like?

In general, I really enjoy writing dialogue. My first drafts are always dialogue heavy because it’s the easiest way to move the plot along. Do you guys like dialogue too? Or is it the bane of your existence?

About Jodie @ Words Read & Written

Book blogger & aspiring author.
This entry was posted in Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

70 Responses to Let’s talk about writing “Dialogue”.

  1. tonygraff12 says:

    I generally love dialogue, but you have to be careful with the verb you use to move that dialogue. Letting the readers fill in the gaps is a loose cannon, I’ve found. It gives you as the author the opportunity to describe your character without using an endless string of adjectives. “She huffed.” “He seethed” “She gasped” all not only carry the verb said, but describe the scenario and the characters therein.


  2. egehlin says:

    I tend to have “dialogue-heavy’ first drafts, like you. After that I begin to take a more minimalist approach, removing excess dialogue that slows the pace of the story and cutting needless tags. In the end, I tend to stick with he/she said and let short descriptive sentences carry the mood only when necessary.

    Dialogue should always be short and to-the-point, enhancing the pace of the story without slowing it down. Otherwise we run the risk of boring the reader making it more likely for them to lose interest.


  3. fireflyin says:

    I agree egehlin. Short and sweet dialogue works best for me, but dialogue is as much a style as description. It depends on a lot of things.
    Anyway. 🙂
    I have a problem with tags, too. They can get distracting if you color them up all the time, which I’ve been known to do. Sometimes “he/she said” is the best way to go. Or even not using a tag at all.


  4. Joseph Nebus says:

    I’ve discovered when I do write dialogue I end up writing old-time radio scripts, to the point I may as well just start every line with the character’s name and a colon and give up on even having the rest of the sentence. It’s an odd quirk and suggests I’m writing seventy years too late.


  5. rolltidejen says:

    I thrive on dialogue because I believe it makes the interaction between characters so much more realistic. We don’t go walking around every day NOT talking to one another, after all. But I don’t just stop there. I love the dialogue that goes on inside a character’s head — all the things we wish we could say out loud but don’t — because knowing that person’s inner workings gives them so much more depth. This is not to be confused with stream of consciousness, which I also utilize. But then, I’m scatterbrained. Tags aren’t always necessary, but they certainly come in handy. If your characters have chemistry, you will know who is talking and how they’re feeling. But I truly believe the key to that is conveying it through their dialogue with one another. Say the words out loud, place emphasis where needed (I get a little crazy with italics and caps during impassioned wordplay in a story) and make sure you feel what they feel when you’re writing the words. That said, I absolutely loathe description, so I try not to overdo it. That, in my opinion, is what will bog down a story. I feel like I have to plod through it sometimes just to get to the characters, never mind getting to know them. Anyway, just my humble two cents, for what they’re worth. 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s