Reading Dialogue


Photo Credit: Partridge Publishing

First, I’d like to thankĀ 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?

Writing Dialogue = Death

ImagePhoto Credit: WritersDock

Let me first tell you that this post will NOT tell you how to write dialogue in your work. Because you likely know better than I do how to do that. Instead I’ll be discussing my thoughts on the topic.

Back in May 2013 when I was on the verge of walking across the stage at my university’s graduation, I became overly anxious about the whole prospect of writing a book. I’d now been telling people for months that I would be writing books after graduation and now the time was finally arriving. I was terrified that i wouldn’t be able to do it at all. But one of the things I was most scared of was writing dialogue. You might have just crinkled your brow because dialogue isn’t scary, right? Well think about it. Casual conversation is not scripted. Sentences are not always complete and people generally speak quite differently from the way they write. There’s quite a bit to take into account before writing dialogue. At least in my opinion.

I mean, what if the dialogue I wrote seemed unnatural. Or forced. Or made no sense at all. Or the reader couldn’t tell who was talking. Or what if all of the characters sound exactly the same? See, you may believe you’re pretty good at writing dialogue, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. I’ve had readers tell me the dialogue in my first book is completely natural and then at least one other reader say that people don’t talk the way my characters in my book did. Everything in one’s writing is subjective and dialogue is definitely so.

What are your thoughts writing dialogue? Do you feel that you have a solid grasp on the whole thing or is it something maybe you struggle with? I’d like to think I’m somewhere in the middle.