August 1, 2016

Let's Talk about Dialogue

In a story, dialogue can be defined as a conversation of two or more people.  The words spoken aloud by characters are indicated by quotation marks.  Sometimes, a character is alone and talks to himself.  This can be expressed in italics.

When you create dialogue you get to climb inside characters’ heads and express what they are thinking.  In turn, your audience then gets to know the characters’ personalities.

But there are some writers who overdo dialogue. Too much dialogue robs stories of narrative—the descriptions, actions, and setting needed to create an intriguing atmosphere.  Though dialogue is an essential part of telling a fictional story for kids, non-stop conversation can be annoying.

Dialogue should be balanced with narrative.  A narrative is the story that you write with detail.  It can explain something, describe a place, or convey the way a person looks or behaves.  It can express an action significant to the story.  

So look at your story objectively.  Do you have too much dialogue?  If so, break it up with description and action.  Describe some details of the setting.  Explain what the characters are doing.  Your job as a writer is to find the right balance between dialogue and narrative.  There is no rule to the percentage of dialogue to narrative because every genre is different; however, a 50 -50 ratio of dialogue to narrative is something you can aim for.  

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