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Instead of writing words out phonetically, try using occasional dialect words, or unusual word order, to indicate a character’s speech patterns.
It takes time to develop a good ear for dialogue, but following some simple rules and avoiding some obvious pitfalls can make a huge difference.
For example, any good dialogue starts with speech patterns that sound natural to the ear.
Some writers worry that “show, don’t tell” means they should avoid indirect dialogue – but that’s not the case.
Another problem, though, is when George had a massive row with his mum, about that letter she’d had from school, and she told him that he was banned from using the X-Box until he’d got his homework done.
If you come across a great what-not-to-do example, share it with us in the comments.) Even if you’re a stickler for the finer points of grammar in your prose, real people don’t talk like textbooks.
They say things like: …but most of your characters won’t always talk “correctly.” There might well be circumstances where you want a character to speak in a precise, correct way – but that gives the reader some very clear signals about this character (perhaps they’re posh, trying very hard to get things right, or a little uptight).Unless you’re writing an experimental short story, you’re going to need to include some dialogue – and it needs to be done just as well as the rest of your writing. Whether you’re a new writer or an established one, you’ll want to watch out for these mistakes.(You can also look out for them in published books, too — plenty of pros still aren’t getting these right.For each character, you could think about: This is a great way to let the reader know that a conversation is happening, without having to go into any detail.One mistake here, of course, is to never use indirect dialogue at all, giving a blow-by-blow account of the football game that leaves the reader as bored as Beth.It’s also a lot more dramatic to We don’t need the last sentence here: it’s obvious from what George says (“I hate you!”) and what he does (“George slammed the door and ran upstairs”) than he’s furious, and we can make a fair guess that he thinks his mum is being unfair. As well as blogging about writing all around the web, she runs Writers’ Huddle, a community / teaching site for writers.By blending in action and the viewpoint character’s thoughts – not necessarily every line, but at least occasionally – you can enhance the dialogue by adding new levels of meaning. but sometimes in fiction, authors make all their characters sound exactly alike.This might work if the story is set in a homogenous group – but it sounds silly if some of the characters are teens and others are grandparents.In #3, I mentioned that one way to avoid overdoing dialogue tags is to include action.You can also do this with a character’s thoughts, like this: Some writers, though, seem to get into “dialogue” mode and have line after line of dialogue, with no more support than a few dialogue tags.