How To Write The Dialogues Of A Novel

Keep in mind that there might be variations in how the dialogues in your novel are constructed—after all, writing a book doesn't just adhere to one set of rules. So, will we learn the best methods for creating a novel's dialogues? A good read!

Step One: Recognize Your Character

It would help if you had a solid understanding of your character(s) before writing the opening lines of dialogue. Each character has a very different voice in terms of tone, vocabulary, and slang usage. For instance, a child converses differently than an adult. And even two adults speak differently. You can give your character personality through a speech by using mannerisms, expressions, an accent (not advised, but possible), and other techniques.

A thorough understanding of your characters ensures a linear structure for the dialogue. It frequently happens throughout the story when a character loses their particular tone of voice. For instance, your protagonist frequently ends sentences with a question that has two meanings. However, this trait disappears from the middle to the beginning of the story, meaning that the character has lost his identity. It will sound like a dialog construction mistake if there is no apparent justification for this.

Study the dialogue in the books you read carefully.

Nothing beats reading many novels to understand better how to write dialogue. Select those for this type of study with a similar theme to yours. Don't just read, though. It should be read critically to decipher the author's motivations for using a specific writing style. For example, do I end the sentence with an indicator (said, spoke, argued) or not? How is speech punctuated both before and after it?

You will learn from this critical reading that there are many different ways to construct a dialogue (and they are all valid), and you will also be able to determine which one most closely resembles your writing style.

Utilizing indicators

Indicators are not required. Given that there are fewer characters and conflicts in a short story or novel, it is more typical not to use indicators. However, the use of indicators and their complement enhances the narrative's richness and the reader's immersion in the story in a fantasy novel, where there is a rich universe that does not exist in the real world.

It is advised for beginning writers to use the word said in cases of affirmation. Use the word asked if you have a query. It may be employed before, during, or following the dialogue. Here are some instances of how to use indicators before, during, and after the speech:

  • Before: Then he said: - Look, I need to be honest. I'm your father.;
  • In the middle: " Look, I have to be honest," he said. - I'm your father. ;
  • Final: Look, I need to be honest. I am your father - he said.

The indicator in the middle of the sentence is used as a dramatic device to break up the dialogue's flow and provoke the reader.

The score of a dialogue

Along with choosing indicators, it is essential to be alert to scoring. In the examples above, we saw what punctuation should look like. Below are examples of dialogues taken from my novel Lucas, the hope of the last, also using exclamation and interrogation.

-Are you coming? - she asks, taking a dip in the lake.

“There must be some first-aid kit around here,” he continues.

- Don't give up; I'll save you! - he says, trying to make a visual diagnosis of Joana.

- The last few days have been intense; I'm still trying to process everything in my head - he says, looking at Joana, who is so close to him that it's possible to see himself through her black eyes. - I spent cycles and more cycles alone, just me and Félix.

Pay attention when the indicator is used in the middle of the speech; the punctuation will only come at the end unless you need to use exclamation or interrogation, as in the example below:

- What do you expect to find there? He asks, intrigued. - And then, what are you going to do?

Dialog functions

Dialogue has some important functions and if your dialogue respects these points, know that the chance of creating exciting and engaging dialogue is high. He follows:

  • characterize the speaker;
  • bring individuality;
  • reflect the speaker's mood;
  • revealing or hiding the speaker's motivation;
  • help advance the action (plot);
  • upload information or display;
  • create mystery.

Here are resources I recommend to get more in-depth knowledge

Storytelling 101 teaches you how to write compelling stories worthy of commercial success. This is best for screenwriters, novelists, filmmakers, videogame writers and storytellers.

Children’s Books 101 teaches you how to write stories that children will love. This is best for aspiring children’s book authors and storytellers.

Owl AI is the revolutionary AI-powered content production platform that helps storytellers, writers, and bloggers of all subject matter easily create highly-polished content.

Success, Money & Mindset Subliminal is a self-hypnosis recording that we recommend to new writers to help with focus, concentration, creativity, and motivation.

Shadow Work Journal: 240 Daily Prompts contains inner work exercises related to relationships, anger, anxiety, self-love, healing trauma, abandonment issues, depression, forgiveness, etc.


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