Friday, September 7, 2012

Dialogue Decisions--How to Choose When to Use Dialogue (and What Kind) in Your Fiction and Nonfiction Writing

Dialogue isn't easy to write well.  In fact, it is one of the red flags that editors use to spot an amateur writer.  Maybe it's because beginning writers use dialogue more as a vehicle to deliver information than for its primary purpose:  to increase tension and emotion in a scene.

Both fiction and nonfiction writers need to know dialogue skills.  Nonfiction writers, memoir to how-to, now incorporate at least 50 percent scenes in their books.  Scenes include action and dialogue.  If you can't write a good scene, your book won't sing. 

So how do you learn to write great dialogue?   

I was taught a two-step  method that serves me well.  Step 1:  Learn to listen to how human beings talk--and how they don't listen to each other.  Step 2:  Learn to pare down the real-life dialogue into dialogue that works on the page.