Dialogue DO’s & DON’T’S

I’ve been reading a lot about how to craft excellent dialogue, so I thought I would share a few tips that were surprising and interesting with you:

DO: Keep it simple: “said” and “replied” let the reader know who is talking without cluttering the page.

DON’T: “exclaimed,” “gushed,” “enthused,” “sighed” and “cried” are a few examples.  Let the reader imagine how the characters are saying something.

DO: Read your dialogue out loud.  If it sounds awkward to you, then it sounds awkward to the reader.

DON’T: include the boring stuff.  It’s alright to write naturally, but only include what is relevant to the story.

DO: Have your character react to what others are saying.  Dialogue needs to be connected in some way to the action to keep the story flow moving.

DON’T: try too hard.  Characters all have their own personalities and backgrounds, so let them speak for themselves.

Have you used (or broken) any of these rules?  What do you think about writing rules? Are they meant to be adhered to or broken shamelessly?


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