Describing dialogue

Without any exact summery, even a novice author knows a book needs dialogue. Maybe some books have passed by without it, but I can assure you, the numbers are almost nil.

Writing a dialogue; important, and if not done right, could spell out the fate of your book so quickly you would feel like jumping of a cliff….don’t do it though, nothing comes from suicide, nothing good….

Ok, skip the boring introduction, who really reads that? If you do, then you and I are the only people interested wholly at looking at words. Here are the tips, like it, comment, or just look.

How long?

For a start in writing dialogue, you must know by now being a reader once yourself (presumably all writers were readers) that no person likes the story to be dragged on, especially by dialogue.

To keep the readers interested, you don’t want them to be skipping past the talking to the climax, that’s hurtful, but sometimes it’s your fault.

Write only what you need. No more! If it has a significant value to the plot, write it and write it properly. If not, if you just want talking for your own interest, please don’t, I myself know how bad it is when reading a book for the first time. I borrowed a library book once like such, I never even made it half way

heres an example, you can see how only the things valuable to the story are kept in the script:

‘How long will you be away in California?’ Peter asked thinking of how he could survive without her presence. ‘Don’t worry Peter, only a week so that Dad can do the research on the murder that’s flooding the headlines.’ ‘But the gang of thugs that killed him is still around, they could still be lurking in the town!’

‘Dad thinks the drug dealer has a say in it. It shouldn’t be long to nail the evidence.’

Peter kept his thought to himself, but inside them he knew he had seen the actress Lora Dickson place the poison in the cup, for Spider-Man had been doing his rounds in the area when he saw it happen. But how could he give the evidence as Parker? And Spider-Man had been sentenced as guilty, mysteriously disappearing from the police’s clutches.

So I wrote that one the spot, judging and comparing it to my real works would be an utterly foolish thing to do as it is only an example. But you can see how I only have things needed placed in the script, becuase even in reality a conversation is meant to get something into the other’s mind, you wouldn’t dawdle and go on about nothing important when a murder had just been committed.

Here’s an example of the opposite:

‘What have you been doing of late, Parker?’ Gwen said as they sat on the footpath awaiting the college bus. Peter shrugged, ‘Video games I guess, I have been slack on studying lately.’

‘Well, my parents and I are going to California for a week, a little time to get away from the usual routine and take a holiday. We rented a large hotel room there, did I tell you?’ ‘Yes you did. “With heated bed sheets and a view from the large bedroom windows”, if I can recall correctly?’ ‘Yeah, pretty much….Dad is also doing a little research on the murder while he’s there. So, yeah….’ ‘Mmmhhhmm….isn’t that gang still about? I know your dad wants to examine the murder, but it’s still dangerous.’

So what we got from that is Parker hasn’t been studying and has been playing video games, there was a murder and Gwen’s dad is going to examine it. We haven’t got any more of an idea than what might have been hinted before.


The creepy stalker

Don’t anyone come back here blaming me if they were reported to police headquarters for stalking an innocent bystander! I will explain it to you, but don’t take some of these things too literally, if you do it, it’s your fault.

Sitting in a park, you might hear other taking, take down how they spoke to each other, what they said and how they said it.

A better option is to watch your family while they talk (they’re less likely to sue, unless you have a sister like mine 😉), keep track of what they say, how they said it, their expressions, what they do, how the world around them looks. This is important! I’m glad you noticed the broad lettering….Look with your eyes, not just listen with your ears.


Most talk needs conflict, no one gets along fully, if you haven’t had a fight with someone, you’re probably an optimist that needs to get a little realism into their life. Who likes it when someone won’t tell the honest truth but only the happy junk? No offence you optimists.

Think if you were a child eavesdropping on your parent conversation hoping to find something said on your Christmas presents and you found that they were only blabbing on about how great the roast chicken tasted unlike the one they had last week. Not very exciting. Unless they got into an argument on how one though it tasted bad and the other, good. Even then, there is nothing important to the plot. It needs to flow, it needs to give information.

‘I never wanted a throne, I only ever wanted to be your equal.’ Loki snarled as he approached the fallen body of Thor. ‘I will not fight you, brother!’ Thor said as he stood to face him.

‘I’m not your brother,’ Loki answered with hate filling within him. ‘I never was.’

Thor wrinkled his face in confusion and distress, ‘Loki this is madness!’ ‘Is it madness?’ Loki replied as he himself himself started to become as furious as the thunder, holding back his bitter tears. ‘Is it? Is it?!’

Probably a bad example but that’s all I can think of at the moment. But do you get my meaning?

Say it, verbally

You could do this alone, or with another. Act it out (in the closet if you want) and see how it might move on, what information could be revealed. Many of us want to become an actor, so this is good practice for that also.


Don’t make the mistake of not giving your characters….character. Each person talks, walks and moves differently. While one person might speak in a shy way, other will speak in a threatening or sneering fashion. Think of Smeagol and Gollum, Gollum speaks as the superior with hate and spite, whereas Smeagol speaks with a little concern and fear.

Tags, she said, he said.

Tags are to express what the person is doing and who is talking. Don’t add too many, but don’t drop too many. If there are too many, it can confuse the mind and make it irritating to read, too less means that you might not know who is talking and confuse you all the more. Perhaps you should have someone else proofread an area of your work and tell you whether it was difficult to read.

Sometimes you don’t want to add so many tags like ‘asked’ or ‘exclaimed’, maybe you should explain this through their actions.

‘You did what!?’ Sara said jumping from her seat and moving swiftly from her friend, shaking.

Obvious dialogue

Try to ovoid writing something people can already see as soon as the words start to pour from their mouth. Make it originals make it yours.

No one stands still while talking

Have them in the middle of something, mowing the lawn, doing karate, whatever. Pause between sentences to show their actions, “She paused to whip the reins and study the road ahead.”


I hope this helped you, watch out for more posts!



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