Dialogue Don’ts

images-2I’m still working on the dialogue dos, but I suppose a part of mastering this element is learning what not to do 🙂

  • Don’t use a lot of dialect. It can be really hard to follow and frustrate your reader. Choose one or two words to give the tone and flavor of the dialect you’re going for instead.
  • Don’t repeat in dialogue, what you’ve just said in internal thought. Give your reader a break. Who wants to hear the same thing twice.
  • Don’t let a character explain to another character what they already know. Delete any lines of dialogue that start with “I know you already know this…
  • Don’t allow your character to tell the entire story again to another character when the reader already knows it. Opt to fade out of the conversation. “I went to the gym….” Jason told Marsha the entire story.
  • Don’t us million dollar words or avoid contractions, unless it is a character trait.
  • Don’t repeat names in dialogue. It’s annoying. Once the reader knows you are talking to Marsha, don’t use her name again.
  • Don’t allow your character to give a speech. You have to break it up. use internal thought, other people’s dialogue, or action.
  • Don’t allow everyone to sound the same. Use different speech patterns and word choices to make your characters unique.
  • The biggest don’t- Don’t be boring!

Remember your dialogue should be exciting and provoking. It should keep the story moving forward. Don’t stall out with the everyday humdrum. You don’t have time for pleasantries, and you will lose your reader.

Something to think about.

-Jan R

Dialogue Don’ts