Fiction Dialogue 101

I thought this was a brilliant post on dialogue. This is from “Story Empire” a blog I’ve recently become connected with. Please hop over, take a look, and give us a follow if you’ve a mind to connect. We’d love to have you follow and hope you enjoy our debut post! Staci Troilo is an editor and knows her stuff!

Story Empire

Hi!Well, hello there.

Funny to start this post with a greeting, given its topic. But this is our inaugural post, and I didn’t want to begin without saying hi.

“Hi.”

Now that the pleasantries are out of the way, we can get down to business. Specifically, the business of writing dialogue in fiction.

First, a list of what to do and what not to do.

Do’s and Don’ts

  • Do listen to people speak in real life. This will give you a feel for speech patterns.
  • Don’t repeat conversations verbatim. When people pause to think, they counter the silence with filler words and phrases (like, um, well). Unless you need to show a character pause (for example, to come up with a believable lie) omit the fillers.
  • Do let readers know dialects may be heavy by certain speakers. (I considered hiring a translator to decode his southern accent.) Pepper in a phonetic…

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12 thoughts on “Fiction Dialogue 101

  1. Great first post from Staci, Mae! Tweeted and shared on FB, etc. (Forgot to follow, but going back to do that shortly.) I enjoyed the lists of suggested Do’s and Don’ts. Of course, I have broken the rule on dialects to heck and back with Rabbit’s voice. But I did so on purpose, and not because I don’t know the rule. My books are all set in the south, and everyone speaks with a southern accent, but I don’t show much of them. A few characters drop their Gs now and then. Bur Rabbit is a special case, and so far, readers seem to love the way he talks. I’ve been told by folks from the area that I “nailed” it with him, so I hope that it works for MOST readers. I’m sure there are some for whom it won’t, but that was a calculated risk I took.

    However, this doesn’t mean I would do it often with very many of my characters. Slang, or uniquely southern expressions, yes, but too many apostrophes would be annoying, for sure.

    I like the thoughtful way the article was written so that anyone of any level of writing expertise could understand it. And I took some time to look over the rest of the site and meet your fellow writers. Great job, nice looking layout, and I’m excited to see it take off. Thanks for sharing it here today! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rabbit’s speech is definitely part of his charm, Marcia. I do think you nailed that and I had no problem reading his dialogue. Sometimes when an author does a Scottish accent and really goes for overkill, I find that problematic when reading a novel, but that’s the only time I’ve noticed dialogue bothering me.

      We still have more to do to build out the site. Staci is doing an excellent job of running with it and designing our graphic headers (she’s multi-talented!). Thanks so much for checking it out, and I’m glad you enjoyed Staci’s article. We’ve got some fun things planned that are coming up!

      Liked by 1 person

      • OH, thanks for that confirmation, Mae. I could hear Rabbit’s voice SO clearly in my head, I wouldn’t have dared write it down any other way, but I definitely have seen the perils of too much dialect. I’m so glad you think I got it right. Your opinion means a lot to me, you know. 🙂 (Serious, here.)

        I’m VERY much looking forward to the following this blog, and keeping an eye on the site, overall. It looks terrific! Very professional, clean and easy to read and navigate, and still artfully done, with beautiful graphic work. NICE job, all the way around. Ya gotta love those multi-talented folks, eh?

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