Dialogue is perhaps one of the most important aspects of a story. You can have an amazing plot, beautiful characters, the plot twist of a lifetime, and the perfect ending, but if your characters can’t talk to each other, it’s going to fall flat. Dialogue is used to set moods and tones, to develop characters, to relay information integral to the plot, and to give a sense of realism to your story. As such, it’s going to be crucial that you learn the ins and outs of character dialogue. If the readers can’t follow what your characters are saying, they’re not going to enjoy your book. “Woah…” Marushi smiled, reading over the introduction she’d just written and feeling a sense of accomplishment. “That’s a good start. Hey, Jo, come read this!” Calling over to her sister, Marushi pointed at the computer screen, smiling proudly. “Isn’t that a great beginning?” Jo walked over to stand behind Marushi, leaning over and reading the introduction before nodding. “Sounds good,” she agreed. “What are you going to follow it up with?” “Well, I haven’t quite decided,” Marushi admitted. “I was thinking about writing up some actual dialogue, to give an example of what I’m talking about, but I don’t really feel like making up characters and setting a scene for it or anything.” “Hmm…” Jo looked over the introduction for a moment longer before standing. “Why don’t you just write a conversation with us? Like, looking over the introduction. Like what we’re doing right now.” “Dude, that’s actually a really good idea,” Marushi blinked up at her sister, letting out a slight chuckle. “See, this is why I keep you around.” “Gee, thanks,” Jo rolled her eyes, though Marushi could tell by the smirk on her sister’s face that Jo knew she was teasing. “Love you too, Mar.” ~~~ Plot twist: My sister isn’t here. XD But reading through that, you thought I was just writing down something that actually happened, didn’t you? That’s the goal when it comes to writing dialogue. It should flow naturally, it should feel like you’re actually reading a real life conversation. Here are some of my tips when it comes to writing dialogue: 1. Don’t use the word ‘said’ when there’s another way to say what you mean. I won’t say not to use it at all, because honestly, I do feel like there are times when it’s alright to simply add a ‘she said’ onto the end of a sentence, just not very often. “I just don’t understand,” she said, pinching the bridge of her nose in irritation. See? That looks just fine. But, it’s not a good idea to use the word ‘said’ more than you need to, and as you can tell from the conversation I ‘had’ with my sister, there are plenty of ways to get your meaning across without using the word ‘said’ at all. I’ve found that a lot of times, if you describe what the character is doing in lieu of the word said, you’ll not only avoid the trap, you’ll also let your readers know what your characters are feeling about what’s being said. This will make your characters seem more real, and will make your writing read more like a story and less like a script. 2. Try not to use the same word too many times. This applies in any aspect of writing, but it’s still important to remember when approaching dialogue. Using the same word over and over will make your writing seem stale, so it’s important to keep things fresh and not to become redundant. One thing that’s important to keep in mind is that it’s important not to use words like ‘important’ four times in an important sentence. XD 3. Don’t worry too much about grammar when you’re writing the actual dialogue itself - unless the character would worry about grammar. Most of the time, people don’t talk in proper, structured sentences. The rest of your writing should all be written correctly, obviously, but don’t be afraid to drop a preposition here and there if the character would do so. Also, contractions are your friends here. XD People do not don’t usually talk without using contractions, or at least, I have not haven’t met anyone who would not wouldn’t use contractions. That just does not doesn’t sound natural and is not isn’t something you would find in everyday conversation. XD 4. If you’re stuck, talk to someone. I guess, this one might be harder if you don’t have a writer for a sister like I do, but a lot of the time, if you can’t figure out how to write a conversation, you just have to step back and talk to someone. Talking out loud about the problems you’re facing helps you see things from a different angle, and gets your creative juices flowing so that you can figure out what’s got you stuck in the first place. Sometimes, when my sister is too busy to come to our chat and talk to me, and I’m stuck, I’ll actually start typing out the responses she might have said, and I’ll write both halves of the conversation, responding as my sister until I’ve figured out what I need to. And then I usually send her a picture of the conversation and she replies “lol sounds about right.” XD So yes. Marushi talks to herself. XD So there, just a couple tips and tricks I have for writing dialogue. Obviously, everyone’s going to have different tricks that help them with this tricky, but important part in the writing process. What are some tricks you’ve come up with?