Dialogue: a conversation between two or more people as a feature of a book, play or film.
You'd think that writing dialogue for your fiction book would be easy. After all, you've been talking for such a long time now. It's something that you do on a daily basis and most of the time, you don't even have to think about it. But in actual fact, when it come to fiction, there is a fine line between doing it right and being too realistic.
In everyday life, people talk over each other. They fumble over their words, umming and ahhing, switching from miserable weather, to what they ate for tea last night, to the latest hot topic., to... well, you get my drift. Real conversation is messy, all over the place and often completely trivial.
Fictional dialogue doesn't have time to be trivial. Everything you put into your book must matter, must push the story forward. A simple conversation between two characters can enlighten the reader, giving away a key piece of plot information. A difference of opinion can increase tension and add to the conflict already in play, not to mention reveal elements of your characters motivations that weren't previously clear.
Another effective use of fictional dialogue is to focus on how your characters speak to each other. The way one character interacts with another can tell the reader a lot about both characters. For example, if your outgoing protagonist becomes tongue-tied around one particular character, it would indicate that their feelings for this individual run a little deeper than they're willing to let on.
As characters naturally develop throughout a story, the way they speak to one another should change along with them. When used correctly, dialogue is one of the many powerful tools writers have at their disposal when writing fiction.
Got any tips on writing dialogue scenes? How do you approach them? Share below in the comments.
Missed last week's post? Check out C is for... Characters here. Look out for the next post in the series, E is for... Emotion.
Character: 1. A person in a novel, play, or film. 2. The mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual.
Without your characters, you don't have a story. It is as simple as that.
Let's think about that for a second. A story is the ups and downs of an individual, or a group of connected individuals' lives. Without those characters, your story will simply be a string of events happening one after another. There will be no reactions and no emotional stakes.
Let's face it -- it's the characters in a story that have us coming back for more, time and time again. They have a big job to do, and that's to make you care. In this aspect, it goes without saying that protagonists have the biggest job to do of all. But, open any fiction book and more than likely, you'll discover that it holds a colourful cast of varied characters that all play different roles in the story.
Some examples of character roles are:
The Protagonist -- the point of view character and person responsible for fixing the main problem of the novel.
The Antagonist -- the bad guy. This character blocks the protagonists path at every turn, making it difficult for them to succeed.
The Sidekick -- the protagonist's unflinchingly loyal friend. They support the main character and their actions are often a key part of the hero's success.
The Mentor -- this character's role is to provide the lesson that, upon learning it, will unlock new potential in the protagonist.
Can you think of any other fictional character roles? Let me know in the comments below.
Missed last week's post? Check out B is for... Beginnings here. Look out for the next post in the series, D is for... Dialogue.