Dialogue should be seamlessly integrated into your story. It should flow. If you can feel yourself reading then stopping for a brief conversation and then reading again something isn’t quite right.
Conversation works best when combined with thoughts, actions and settings. Don’t separate them but interweave them. People don’t stop to talk, they keep doing what they are doing unless it’s something really important that demands their full attention.
You can integrate by using setting, thought and action in combination with dialogue.
The day had been crazy but it wasn’t over yet. Walking into the conference room, Mark found Ellen sitting at the head of the table preparing packets for their upcoming meeting.
“Sorry I’m late,” he said walking over to offer assistance.
Handing him a few, she looked him in the eye, anger and disappointment written all over her face, “Isn’t that your norm?”
Mark grasped for something to say that would ease the tension between them and get him through this day. Staring at the packets he was at a loss. What she said was true, and he couldn’t explain why. At least not now.
Easing herself up, she walked by him without saying another word.
“Well that didn’t go well at all,” he said quietly to himself as he continued to prepare for the meeting. He would attempt to smooth things over with his secretary later, but for now he had a business to save.
By interweaving thought, action, setting and dialogue, the scene moves forward seamlessly. I hope 🙂
If you just use dialogue you are witnessing a conversation. When you begin to interweave thoughts, actions, settings, and dialogue you are pulling your reader in and making them a participant.
A really good exercise to help understand and follow this concept would be to write a simple conversation with no tags or anything. Read it. Now go back and add tags. Read it again. Now go back and add more tags or actions. What was the person doing during the conversation? What about setting. Where were they during the conversation? You can even add thoughts. These aren’t conveyed through the conversation but because we are on the outside looking in, we can get a better idea of where the character is coming from.
Hope this series on writing dialogue helps you in your endeavors. Would love for you to join me on this journey. Please consider pushing the follow button and you will receive a notice any time I write a new blog. Also if you have any comments or questions I would love to hear from you.