Friday, August 29, 2008


My fellow RockSugarBeet, Elise Murphy, asked her blog readers for advice on dialogue. I don't know if the following would work for everyone but it works for me so I thought I'd share:
When writing dialogue, be the character. Don't edit as you write dialogue (plenty of time for that later), rather meditate yourself into the character's soul and let him/her talk. Don't judge what he/she is saying or if it 'fits the character, rather let your character ramble until you nail their way of talking, reacting, thinking. Your characters will write the dialogue for you. A couple days later you can edit, refine, make sure it fits what and who your characters are. Three or four revisions later, your dialogue will be as natural as if your characters were sitting next to you.

How do you write dialogue?


  1. Ohhhh, thanks! This is good. I'm trying to gather as much good advice as I can and then dive into a boy's head (ick, yuck, ack! say my three daughters).

  2. I "get into character" like i did in my theater days. I put on character-appropriate music, find an appropriate place/chair, etc. Then I dive in. Sometimes I even speak aloud while I write (they love me at the library...).

    I love "be the character."

  3. Hi Jill. I'm enjoying your blog, it's bookmarked! One thought on dialogue from my screenwriting experience that I use in novels - have the characters talk about anything other than what they REALLY want to talk about. That can lead to some great moments of subtext versus text - two sisters can be arguing over who does the dishes more and how it's not fair, and then in the fight, one of them drops the dish and it breaks... of course this conversation happens after dinner when their parents announce they're getting a divorce. That's just an obvious example, but that's something I hope to get people over their fear of dialogue - dialogue can be FUN! xoxo Paula

  4. I think it is the same as 'get into character' I hear it before I type it.

  5. You expressed it way better than I would have done. That's what I do though. I imagine the scene - like a play and type it as I go through the scene.

    Be the character. I love that.

  6. Thanks to all of you! I've got the Jewish Grandmother voice down no problem! Now, it's that boy voice (having never been one myself makes it a little tough . . . )

  7. This is wonderful advice! I can't wait to try it. Thanks for sharing.

  8. I think it's best to just write the dialogue.

    Revise it.

    Then listen to it. I turn up my computer speakers, and listen to the scene read aloud.

    Then revise again.

    Repeats steps 2-4 until it sounds natural and engaging. :-)



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