I’m currently working on a story and have been for quite some time , and one thing I keep running into issues with is believable dialogue. Oftentimes when I read episodes, the characters’ dialogues are choppy and inconsistent, and don’t really make sense with the plot. As this is a pet peeve of mine, I want to make sure that my dialogue isn’t like that.
Do any of you have suggestions on how to write, realistic and believable dialogue that moves the story forward?
Any help would be greatly appreciated!
make sure the dialogues have a point. maybe they help in advancing the plot, twist it, turn it, or sketch out the character’s personality for the reader.
another tip i’ve heard is ‘read it out loud’. yes read it out and you’ll find yourself cringing if its not ‘good’ ifykwim.
also, when writing dialogues, we always aim for an illusion of realism, not on-point realism because irl our speeches often run around in circles and are filled with fillers; recipe for disaster
Convey information. If you have a scene dedicated to introduce a character, let’s say a female MC, her background, her aura, something interesting about her…
Start by having dialogues conveying messages as such.
You’ll get prompts like “Oh she’s so confident, I wish I can wear heels like her, I could never do that,” “Nah, I think she’s a pompous, fake person.”
One step deeper, convey it non-verbally. The way to not cringe during conversations is to deter from using direct meanings of the conversation to convey something.
For example, if you want to show respect of everyone for one character, have all of them be serious when talking to, let’s say a CEO. Whatever the CEO says, the people around him treat it as if it’s an order from the King and execute it immediately.
Their responses should sound like, “Right away, sir.” or “Consider it done.” instead of “I will fulfill your wish, your honor!” or “My lord, it will be done in the nick of time, I assure you! O’ Great lord.”
That’s what show, don’t tell actually means.
It’s not the full picture, obviously, but it’s a good place to start.
If a certain set of dialogue isn’t necessary, cut it. This isn’t real life- readers don’t care about MC’s small talk with a neighbor or scheduling a routine dentist appointment. Get to the important stuff in a timely manner. Don’t waste time with characters having small talk or filler dialogue, unless for some reason it’s important to the plot.
@flopsy @t3ss4_n0v4 @k.klein these are great tips! Thank you so much for the help!
I like to verbally speak my character’s lines to make sure it sounds realistic and not tv scripted
I’d say the key to realistic dialogues is- having the character’s personality in mind. If you have laid down the key things in the character’s personality, it will help you a lottttt writing good dialogues.
We cannot forget that dialogues are not only for driving the plot, but also for developing the character. You gotta tell your readers about ur characters through their dialogues, or rather, the way the speak.
For example, there are people who like to introduce humour in their talk no matter what. And then there are some who like siting examples and analogies as they are explaining a certain thing. The way they speak creates an image in the minds of the readers and they become memorable.
Also, the situation and environment matters. The person integrating humour in their talk generally, won’t do it at someone’s funeral. Or the one using analogies to explain a thing won’t do it if they are talking to a professional on that topic.
I see most of the advices say ‘the dialogue should have context and should drive the plot’. Though it is very important, we must not forget that along with plot development, one must do character development too.
Generally when the dialogues are only for plot driving, they look forced. It’s like, the writer wants something to happen in future and that’s why a particular scene or dialogue is necessary. It looks gross and sometimes you may feel like punching the characters for not being themselves.
Final tip I’d give is: imagine yourself/someone you know with the personality traits of the character. Think of how they’d respond and react to a certain situation. You should be coming up with natural dialogues then.
I know this may sound really weird (but coming from someone who’s named themselves as Death’s friend, this seems like the most normal), but try talking to yourself in the mirror while portraying the character. Believe it or not, it helped me a bunch of times when writing dialogues.
Also it works better if your character’s personality is based/inspired of someone in real life you know, as you can just imagine what would the person whom you based/inspired on would say, tweak it a bit, and you got yourself a good dialogue.
@MyEpi @AdriGarai09 @A_Friend_of_Death these are great tips! Thank you very much!
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