Improving your Dialogue

Welcome back, you cool kid.

Today, we’ll be talking about dialogue in your novel, specifically ways you could improve it.

I think that there’s always something different you could do to make you novel better, so these aren’t way that could make your novel perfect because let’s face it- no one’s novel is perfect. I’ve seen novels with grammar mistakes and spelling errors, etc, so it’s important to know these are how I improve my dialogue as I write/edit.

Read dialogue out loud

If you want to reread and edit your dialogue, this is probably the best and easiest way to to do so. Not only will it let you easily spot any imperfections in your character’s voice, but it helps with punctuation and overall flow of the story.

This is usually what I do while editing, not so much writing my novels because let me be honest here, I dont really plan out who I’m going to write a chapter. Usually I have a general idea of where I want it to go, then I write it out. 90% of the time I change what I originally wrote in the first place so there might be spots where there’s an awkward pause in dialogue or no punctuation.

It doesn’t just work for how I write though. It really helps while editing in general.

Avoid info dumps

I get it, these can be hard to avoid, but listen. Not everyone wants to hear a two page confession on why your character wants to break up with another. There may be other circumstances about why it’s so long, but this ties into everything else in this post.

I felt like it needed it’s own area so I could explain that a long paragraph could turn off some readers. Theyre more likely to stay focused on the story when it’s easy to read, and doesn’t drag on.

If you just need to have all those words in the story then break it apart. Add the background action and movements of other characters or sounds your character hears outside or other things like that. It will make your story sound more realistic while keeping the reader interested.

Punctuate and format well

This one can get tricky because you could do so much with it. What I mean by that is you have to start a new paragraph when a new character starts talking, and then there’s different punctuation marks that you could make based off the scene.

Then you have the setting, and background action, and the characters body language, etc.

This sounds like a lot, right? I mean, it is, but it’s super easy to edit. I promise.

Just write down your chapter, get the idea on paper, then go back a look at everything individually. I usually start with figuring out what the characters are doing in the background. Did your main character see someone trip over some air or look at someone then make weird eye contact. It doesn’t have to be specifically your character interacting with another character but they could also twiddle their thumbs or hit their fingernails on a table.

Then I look for grammar mistakes. I usually try to get everything I want on paper or typed up then go back and look for any imperfections I may have missed while reading it through the first time.

Give your character a voice

This could be tied into not overusing the word “said”. Your characters are living people in your world, so they should have a voice.

Whether they’re sweet and soft spoken, or loud and boisterous, its important for your readers to know because unfortunately, we’re not mind readers.

With that being said, incorporate different tones in your writing to make it more realistic and exciting to read your dialogue.

Welp. This is about the end of that. Unfortunately, I couldn’t think of anything else so this post will probably be modified or updated in the future.

If you have any suggestions about the changes you made in your dialogue that you might add to this, leave a comment below! You could also subscribe to get updates on new blog posts I write and much more!

Be a cool kid from The Block


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