Wednesday, February 21, 2007

On using dialogue

As a follow-up to my post about dialogue tags, I thought I would offer some links on how to write dialogue. What I found interesting in my research is that what characters say is important, but so is what they don't say. In addition, body language is a very important part of communication -- which lends itself well to avoiding the use of tags.

When writing dialogue, remember this:
Studies have shown that, in a face-to-face interaction, 58 percent of communication is through body language, 35 percent through how it was said, and a mere seven percent through the content of the message.
In addition, how well do your characters listen? Do they always understand the true meaning behind what's being said? Dialogue, and the interaction that surrounds it, can be a great tool to show your character's goals and characteristics as well as a tool to help you manipulate your story.

Here are some links:
Holly Lisle's Dialogue Workshop
Dialogue Tips
Special Tips On Dialogue For The Romance Writer
How To Improve Your Dialogue
Dialogue: The best action
Dazzling Dialogue Tips
Writing Dialogue - Part One
Writing Dialogue - Part Two
Writing Good Dialogue
Ten Tips for Writing Dialogue
Punctuating Dialogue
Writers' Toolkit - Dialogue
Writing Effective Dialogue
"Good Dialogue," the Editor Said.
Tension In Dialogue
12 Exercises for Improving Dialogue


Dr. Bill Emener said...

Hi Nienke,
Great Post! I plan to look at the links too.
Thanks again... great words of wisdom and reminders,

Kelly (Lynn) Parra said...

Yes, Nienke, I agree! Well written! =D

Anonymous said...

To follow up on my previous rant...I mean post :) belong on dialogue tags, this is what I was talking about when I said there's so much more to writing good dialogue.

Body language, what's NOT said, how it's interpreted, who hears it, who hears a part of it, who sees but doesn't hear.

Dialogue IS NOT easy. And so many people think that dialogue is simple about tags. :)

Anonymous said...

"post below"

...sorry I can seem to write or spell today!

Tracey said...

Great advice. Often when I write dialogue I just think about the message I want to convey, but it's important to think about the body language and how the character is telling their message. Thanks for helping me realize this.