Any ways to write good dialogue?

Discussion in 'Author Discussions' started by wookiesmuggler1, May 9, 2021.

  1. wookiesmuggler1

    wookiesmuggler1 Active Member

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    Alright guys so im in chap ~11 in my novel or so, and in the starting chapters it was mostly the mc by himself, kinda confused at how the world worked and was still figuring out the basics (time travel to the past + mind wipe = amnesia-ish)

    So there was no dialogue, or at least minimum dialogue, but now I have other characters, and I'm struggling to write dialogue for them.

    For example, this is how my dialogue is going right now:
    C1: *speaks*
    C1 emphasizes his speech with an action, like fidgeting or leaning in furtively
    C2: *reacts to C1, further explaining stuff or simple banter*
    C1: *reacts to C2...*
    See? All the characters are simply reacting to each other, making a 'I tell this and you tell that' robotic exchange. This type of dialogue might work if, say, the MC was talking to a System or an actual robot, but it just feels mechanical when I read over my own thing.

    And thats how all of my dialogues work so far. How do I change it to a more digestible approach? If there reaches a stage of exposition dump, where a character explains many things, how will I format it correctly, in a way that isn't so set in stone?

    Best wishes, and thank you.
     
  2. melomarl

    melomarl Azathoth's Spawn | Faceless

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    You should read up dialogue examples or examine more dialogues from the novels you're reading. It's really awkward if it's just an exchange of words between the characters which is not that different from a play script.

    In case of info dump, just remember to break paragraphs or make it so as it will still be an interaction between the two characters. All in all, play with your paragraphs, and don't be afraid of omitting things and saving them for later.

    Might not help much (I can assume you have a very different genre from mine) but here's an excerpt from one of my shorts:


    Instantly, the worried face of her father filled the screen.

    "Max? Maxene? Are you okay? Your secretary just called, saying you didn't go to work today. But she didn't dare visit you 'cause you strictly prohibit anyone to come to your unit. Princess, are you sick? You never missed a day of work so I'm worried... Max?"

    With red-rimmed eyes and slightly trembling lips, Max said her usual answer. "I'm not a princess, dad."

    She bit her lip to swallow a sob. "I just didn't feel well this morning."

    The frown on his face slightly abated when he heard her answer, a bit of a smile also appeared.

    "Did you take some medicine? Wait, did you call Dr. Ortega? You should've called us too ah. You know your mom-"

    "What know me? Is that my daughter?"

    Another face popped up.

    "...Hold it there so we can fit! Darling... What happened to you?!"

    The elegant lady's smile vanished as soon as she saw her daughter looking like a bum.

    Max probably had disheveled hair and she was still wearing her oversized white shirt over plain joggers.

    "Are you sick? Where's the doctor? Should we fly home? I'll book it now, it's only-"

    "Mom, you're overreacting. It's just a slight fever. I already took a tablet so it's gone now."

    Lie.
     
  3. yxyx

    yxyx Well-Known Member

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    This isn't much but what I find that helped me the most when writing a dialouge was when I read it out loud so I can tell if, "huh, this sounds weird now that I say it" or "this words doesn't really gives off a certain feeling that I want to express".

    And to avoid making the dialouge feels robotic, or simply looks like a practice conversation page from a language lesson book, it's a good idea to describe what is happening around them while they are having a conversation; their expression, their feelings, and body language, etc.

    For example, you can describe one of them getting distracted while talking and struggling to keep up or something like that.

    My genre might be different than yours too but I hope this helps ^^
     
  4. wookiesmuggler1

    wookiesmuggler1 Active Member

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    ah well idk if i just read my novel more negatively but my dialogue is pretty much yours
    its just a character says something, then after that either they emphasize their point with an action or another character reacts, then the other character talks... and so on
    but reading yours i guess its alright to do, yours looks decent
     
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  5. SylviaViolet

    SylviaViolet 'Cause you're too damn scared to try

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    Where's the rest!? i need to read the whole thing now.......

    Beyond a point if you try to add too much to it, it'll start to look messy. In my opinion, it's best to keep it simple and neat while adding the actions of the characters. The problem arises when multiple characters come into the equation.
     
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  6. melomarl

    melomarl Azathoth's Spawn | Faceless

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    Well, some of us tend to read our work with negativity and see all the wrongs in it. You can post a sample of your work here in Community Originals and have insights from those interested.
    Lolol I might or might not post it here :hmm:
     
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  7. ToastedRossi

    ToastedRossi Well-Known Member

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    I honestly think that the best way to get started is to just copy writers with good dialogue until you find a voice that you're comfortable with. I know that there's this huge prejudice against anything that smacks of plagiarism but I think it's nonsense. There's nothing wrong with stealing ideas, and good writers do it all the time.

    So the best thing to do would be to look at the books you like, and start noting how they convey dialogue. Preferably you shouldn't use Japanese web novels as role models. The problem with them is that they tend to have perfunctory dialogue which is barely acceptable in Japanese but direct translations to English tend to be terrible.