Reading Dialogue

Partridge-India-Dialogue-pic

Photo Credit: Partridge Publishing

First, I’d like to thank Amy for giving me the idea to write this post. Even though I think she would have liked me to write a whole lot more on the topic than I have.

Reading dialogue can be one of my favorite parts of a reading a book, but we all know that it is not always a pleasant experience. I hate to keep mentioning this, but my main reason for disliking Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was because of the dialogue. It was so childlike. There were exclamation marks everywhere and even though they were meant to convey a sense of excitement, eventually the reader has to just think people are yelling at one another the whole time.

But we don’t have to always focus on the negative. I don’t have any particular titles in mind, but a story’s dialogue can also be the main reason for enjoying a story. The protagonist is often giving you information about himself (or her) throughout the book, but we can learn so much more if the story’s dialogue is written well.

What it comes down to for me is that dialogue is rarely just some part of the book. Often times it is pretty great or it’s pretty bad. I suppose there can be a middle ground when it’s just okay, but I haven’t read much of it.

So what about you? What makes you enjoy or dislike dialogue in a story?

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26 thoughts on “Reading Dialogue

  1. I think it has to feel natural, not necessarily something you the reader would say but something that fits in with the character. Good post, I agree that dialogue is a big part of a story!

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  2. I’m glad I could help. Thanks for the mention. 🙂
    Dialogue that is too proper, unless it’s historical fiction when they talked like that, is a dead giveaway the author is trying too hard. Or if they use complete sentences all the time. None of us talks in complete sentences so it makes the dialogue seem too stuffy and forced.
    I think one reason most of us like J.K. Rowling so much is because her dialogue is simple, down-to-earth, and relatable. There’s a back-and-forth to it; people interrupting each other or talking over each other, just like we all do at times.
    I think dialogue is what makes or breaks a story. Even if the exposition is fabulous, if the dialogue sucks, I won’t like the book.
    Great post!

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  3. I love reading dialogue, especially funny dialogue. I don’t’ know when someone is arguing in a book, I find myself laughing out loud. I don’t like to read dull-dialogue. I love to read something that will make me laugh and give me that ah-hah moment.

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  4. I think dialogue might be my favourite thing to read and write! I love funny dialogue, possibly the funniest I have read are from the ‘Skulduggery Pleasant’ books, Derek Landy never fails to make me laugh 🙂

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  5. Dialogue makes or breaks a story, at least for me it does. John B. Parker was an expert at dialogue, in my opinion. If that part of a novel is stilted and unnatural, the story will bog down at its most crucial point. Character development should advance exponentially in dialogue. How we relate and interact with others in real life demonstrates more of who we are than facts about us. In a well-told story this principle will prevail.

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  6. It can be frustrating when dialog is used purely for exposition. When you know a character wouldn’t normally say so much or speak I’m a certain way, but the author just dumps out a bunch of info because they can’t think of any other way. I’m not saying it’s easy, but I sometimes think writers try to take the”easy way” out.

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  7. I’m not going to comment on this because I don’t want to be banned from WordPress. Whoops, did it again. Dammit :/

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  8. I love good dialogue that expresses the individuality of the characters and includes some clever insights into those character’s minds. This is something I suck at writing.
    I can write realistic dialogue but there’s nothing that stands out. Not yet, anyway. I’m going to work at it.
    I recently read Pygmallion and the dialogue was just delightful. I wanted to absorb it into my soul.

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  9. I dislike dialogue in which the character is made out to be really intriguing, and then the dialogue just fails on that part. There just becomes a huge disconnection between what the character is like through the author’s description and what the character says.

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  10. I hate it when characters say things no one in real life would ever say. For example a man asks a woman if they can meet for coffee. “I’d like that,” she replies. NO ONE SAYS THAT. Also no one ever says, “I should go.” This goes for movie dialogue as well.

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