How to Write Compelling Dialogue

Great tips on using dialogue effectively.

Global Mysteries

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th-1In order to use dialogue effectively you need to understand its purpose. Dialogue must reveal character, advance plot, make characters real and suggest or provide action. Your job is to imagine ways you can use dialogue to meet these goals and still hold reader interest. Here are some strategies to ensure that your dialogue does its job:
  • Vary the length of dialogue lines. Don’t have characters speak in long, complicated sentences unless you want to create a boring story person.
  • Intersperse dialogue with action: Mary threw open the bedroom door. “She’s gone!”
  • Interject interior thoughts: Mary knew John would be angry if Sam appeared at the door. She tried to act nonchalant but she had to figure a way to get him to leave as soon a possible. “I had a great time. Call me.”
  • Insert some setting description: Mary realized she had overdressed for the dinner date. High heels…

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