I wrote a short story this week. It may be the most dialogue-heavy piece I’ve ever written. I’ve been thinking a lot about dialogue. It is the nervous system of good writing.
There is a fellow at work who is very interesting to look at. He has a certain (we’ll call it) style about him that makes it really hard not to stare. I find the guy fascinating. But, recently I heard him speak for the first time. Holy cow – he is ten times more interesting! His speech, his voice, the sound – it turned him from a curio into a human.
Anyone up for a list?
9 Reasons Dialogue = Good Writing
- Dialogue is the primary way the reader learns about a character.
- Dialogue is the primary way the characters learn about each other.
- Dialogue is the best way to keep the writer off the page. It favors observation over judgment. We all need help with that.
- Dialogue is the only way a character’s voice can be conveyed.
- Dialogue is more fun to write. Characters can say anything they want and good craft demands they not be ignored.
- Dialogue is flexible. It can be spoken, thought, or both – and the spoken and thought don’t have to match!
- Dialogue makes it harder for you (the writer) to control the story. We all need help with that too.
- Boring dialogue stands out like a sore thumb. We all know what a boring person sounds like. This assists with the next draft.
- Dialogue offers endless opportunities for creativity. There are 313 million people in the U.S. There are 313 million distinct voices.