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

  1. Dialogue is the primary way the reader learns about a character.
  2. Dialogue is the primary way the characters learn about each other.
  3. Dialogue is the best way to keep the writer off the page. It favors observation over judgment. We all need help with that.
  4. Dialogue is the only way a character’s voice can be conveyed.
  5. Dialogue is more fun to write. Characters can say anything they want and good craft demands they not be ignored.
  6. Dialogue is flexible. It can be spoken, thought, or both – and the spoken and thought don’t have to match!
  7. Dialogue makes it harder for you (the writer) to control the story. We all need help with that too.
  8. Boring dialogue stands out like a sore thumb. We all know what a boring person sounds like. This assists with the next draft.
  9. Dialogue offers endless opportunities for creativity. There are 313 million people in the U.S. There are 313 million distinct voices.