“We need to talk,” he said

A reader’s eye catches on a quotation markĀ  —

 

Dialog helps connect the reader to the story. It’s a familiar element in popular contemporary fiction, and expected in storytelling. By developing your skills in writing dialog, you assure that you can appeal to readers for whom a book without dialog is distasteful or too much work.

You are transcribing a conversation that you hear in your head. The characters reveal themselves through what they say to each other, and the story unfolds through dialog.

A mantra of creative writing is to “show, don’t tell”, meaning that the reader has a better experience if the author is behind the scenes, not explaining what’s happening but revealing the action and interactions gradually. Dialog is one of the tools by which you can show rather than tell your story.

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Writing dialog is actually about listening — you, listening to your characters so that you can represent them faithfully on the page. You, listening out in the world, inspired by what real people say to each other. And you, hearing an internal dialog that might appear on the page as italics for the first sentence and then as unitalicized text thereafter. You, speaking through your characters and delighting the reader with unexpected humor, or fervent emotion.

Writing prompt — Children at the shore are calling to each other, excited about what they find. Make up names for the kids, and write what they say to each other. Let their words reveal which one is older and with more influence than the other. Suggest through theirĀ  interchange that some movement of the plot is occurring.

 

 

— Manna is everywhere! –

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Posted in Characters in 3-D, Plot

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