Everything You Need to Know About Writing Great Dialogue
I’ve written a fair amount about dialogue over the past few years … partly because I love writing dialogue! And I figured it was about time I collated those posts in one place.
Whether you enjoy dialogue too (and want to make yours even better) or whether it’s something you struggle with, these posts will help you.
If you’re fairly new to writing fiction, or if you’ve had feedback suggesting your dialogue skills need a brush-up, check out this post. I go through seven straightforward (but crucial) tips for getting it right, giving you an example for each one.
Here, the focus is on examples that show how accomplished authors write quite different types of dialogue – all of which can be very successful. I also offer some more advanced dialogue-writing tips, and warn you what to steer clear of when attempting these.
Many new writers worry about using the word “said” too often and come up with all sorts of variations – muttered, pondered, exclaimed, and more. The problem is, these tend to distract from your actual dialogue. You can get away with using “said” surprisingly often – but there are also more elegant solutions to avoid repeating it, which I explain in this post.
Much of the time, dialogue in your novel will be quite straightforward: one character talking to another (or a group of others). Sometimes, though, you’ll have a more unusual form of dialogue to represent. This post offers options for how you can handle situations ranging from phone calls to texts, emails and psychic speech.
One tricky dialogue situation is when you’ve got characters who, realistically, need to swear (usually because of the type of person they are and the type of situation they find themselves in). Some readers dislike salty language, especially in certain genres. This post offers some thoughts on swearing in fiction and how you can handle it skilfully (even in more conservative genres).
Good luck with your dialogue!
I’m Ali Luke, and I live in Leeds in the UK with my husband and two children.
Aliventures is where I help you master the art, craft and business of writing.
If you're new, welcome! These posts are good ones to start with:
My contemporary fantasy trilogy is available from Amazon. The books follow on from one another, so read Lycopolis first.
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