Creating Credible Dialogue (Part 3)

By Nicholas Klacsanzky

As I promised you previously, this post is about one typical problem many newbies share: impatience. Of course, you have tons of new thoughts and ideas you want to share with your audience, all of them are unique and precious, but….

how to write a good dialogue - part 3
Don’t let your characters express their opinion or thoughts on just any occasion. This can be tempting. Don’t spoil your ideas with talentless expression. Just imagine yourself walking around and only waiting for a chance to share your deep philosophical ideas with anybody who asks you, “Yo, what’s up?” Like:

- Hi, man!
- Yo, Dave, what’s up?
- Cool, bro. You know, I keep thinking about one awesome idea all the time. What if our entire Universe is just an atom in a molecule in a cell in a tissue in a body of some living creature from another dimension? And all the galaxies and planets and other cosmic stuff are just neutrinos….
- Wow, yeah, cool idea, man. Universe, man, true… Want some beer?

Now, imagine this dialogue happening in a mall or on a basketball court. Well, sometimes things like this do happen in real life. But, if all of your characters communicate in this way, each reader of yours would quit reading your novels after a couple of pages.

I like the phrase (unfortunately, I can’t remember the author of it) that the most conversational style of any dialogue you include in your novel can be achieved after numerous rewrites and edits. This is so true! In fact, if you like a dialogue you’ve just written, or if you like it even a week after, in a month you’ll look at it again and it will make you want to rewrite it completely. Do it!

Perceive rewriting and editing not as re-doing your work, but as an optimization. Search for more accurate and precise words, for more exact ways to convey emotions; seek for less direct but still clear ways to express your main ideas through your characters and their actions. You might need not just one, but several rewriting sessions to feel satisfied. And again, as time passes, you will see other flaws and discrepancies you will feel need to be corrected.

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