Periodically posts pop up, tweets are sent out, or an agent gives a blurb at a conference on dialogue. They all reiterate similar rules but then add a different spin. The one theme is that, most people seem to struggle in dialogue. Is it really that hard?
I talk – I talk a lot. I think I get how people sound because I listen. My characters are no different than someone on the street. I hear them. I listen to them. I write what they would say. But apparently that is not really the case for most people. What makes dialogue hard?
I started to read a new book today and contrary to the authors other books this one had very strained dialogue. Conversations don’t flow. Each character has a short line that seems to abruptly end. How do I start to like the characters when they seem like body snatchers learning to act like humans?
What does over doing it mean? I have had one person in five years say that to me. “Watch that you don’t over do the dialogue.” I couldn’t decide if that meant I had too much or if it meant that I had some forced lines. So because I have yet to figure it out, I re-read and simplified. I added a few more lines, actions, or thoughts between every-so-many lines of dialogue. I removed any dialogue that just maybe I didn’t love. Did I fix it? Who knows.
When it comes to dialogue I would sit in a public area and listen. Find two people who act like your characters. Yeah, okay think your characters are one of a kind- but remember you created them off of something. In the end read your dialogue after stepping away for a few days or weeks. Can you tell who is saying what? Each character has a distance way of talking. If they don’t you might have an issue…unless they are clones of course.
How do you create dialogue? Are there any fast and steady rules that you follow?