Several people have asked about introducing a second character. Now that we know our first characters well, anyone who wants to bring in more characters is welcome to do so. New characters should go through the same steps the first ones did, and be prepared to interact with all existing characters.
This week, our characters are going to bring in a friend for a conversation. This friend can be but does not have to be a second character for the project. Your character and this friend can be anywhere, talking about anything, as long as the post is mostly dialogue.
- Create distinctive voices. Try to give each character his/her own voice that a reader would recognize even without tag lines.
- Limit tags and use s/he said, asked, and answered. Stay away from hissed, groaned, opined, etc. Said is invisible to the reader, making dialogue more realistic and easier to read.
- Break up exchanges. Even though some of us start talking and everyone wonders if we’ll ever stop for a breath (call me, you’ll understand), written dialogue should not go on for paragraphs or pages without a break.
- Keep feelings, actions, and dialogue in the correct order. Sabrina’s heart raced (feeling) as she ran toward Charity (action). “Stop! There’s a car coming.” (dialogue)
- Choose dialogue over body language when possible and never use both when they say the same thing. He nodded. “Yes.” He nodded is not necessary here.
- Begin a new paragraph for each speaker. Always. Even if the new paragraph will be one word.
- Use correct punctuation. For the most part, punctuation is the same in dialogue only simpler – no colons or semicolons. Quotations go outside the punctuation and commas replace end punctuation when a tag is used. “I hope you don’t hate me for this exercise,” Sandy said. Make your words show excitement to minimize the need for exclamation points.
- Make it real, but not too real. The real secret to making dialogue sound natural is taking out or summarizing the mundane.
- Express thoughts by stating them. Do not use quotes, italics, or tags for feelings or thoughts unless the character is recalling actual conversation. She opened the door and looked down the street. Where was he? You know she is wondering where he is without using she thought.
- Indicate dialect through description, behavior, and temperament, not by using apostrophes and misspelled words. For example, use a child’s logic instead of child’s mispronunciation of words.
Sandy says, “Have fun. Don’t be afraid of dialogue.”
Tags: funtue7, dialogue, creative writing, writing exercises
Groups: Gather Writing Essential, Wee WE, your character group