What Are The Rules Of Dialogue Writing?

We live in an era of dialogue becoming increasingly crucial in constructing peace and fraternal coexistence. Dialogue becomes an essential task in a sociocultural context marked by aggressiveness and intolerance on the one hand and selfish indifference on the other. We need to talk more daily and in all aspects of social life. However, for this to happen, we must first deepen our understanding of dialogue. The ability to converse serves as a thermometer for assessing fraternity and respect for others. Refusing to engage in dialogue can indicate self-absorption and a refusal to listen.

Listening and being willing to learn from others who think differently are prerequisites for dialogue. It takes closeness and the willingness to approach the other to listen, understand, and respect, not just to talk. When someone approaches another to convince him that he is wrong, there is no room for dialogue. To establish dialogue, one must admit one's limitations in knowing the truth instead of self-absorbed pride.

Rules of writing dialogue

There are a few fundamental guidelines when writing dialogue for a story or a novel. You won't have to worry about when writing dialogues if you follow these instructions carefully. We have provided some useful examples of dialogue writing to better comprehend these guidelines.

Following are some guidelines for writing dialogue that you need to keep in mind at all times:

  • Double quotation marks should be used for dialogue.

When writing dialogue, the oldest rule is to enclose the spoken words in double quotation marks. This rule is still followed today. Here's a sample dialogue:

"Mr. Bennet, you don't have any pity for my frail nerves!"

There is a notable departure from this general rule. When displaying dialogue in British English, a single set of quotation marks is used rather than a double set.

  • Use single quotation marks for internal dialogue quotations.

Single quotation marks indicate a quote within a quote in American English. Therefore, if your character is quoting someone else, enclose the quoted phrase in single quotation marks. For instance:

"I overheard Percy say loudly, 'The new teacher is phenomenal!'"

  • Employ action tags

Action tags, also known as action beats or dialogue beats, are brief action descriptions that interrupt the flow of dialogue. They allow you to avoid repeatedly using dialogue tags.

When only a specific number of characters are speaking, it is safe to use an action tag without confusing the reader. For example, take a look at this illustration:

"Don't say you've misplaced it again!" She rolled her eyes and collapsed onto the bean bag chair. We are very grounded.

  • Use dialogue tags

The purpose of dialogue tags is to connect the narration to the dialogue. For example, the "he said" and "she said" you frequently encounter? They are the most common dialogue tags.

Take note of this:

"Did you believe it was over?" Octavia shrieked. "My plan has just begun!"

In the preceding example of dialogue writing, the dialogue combines narration and speech to create a mental image of the antagonist. However, it also creates a break in the character's speech. Therefore, dialogue tags are useful for adding pauses to dialogues.

He whispered, "Don't worry, everything will be fine."

Use a period after the dialogue tag if the sentence ends with it. As in the preceding example, however, the tag can also indicate a pause in a speech in the middle of a dialogue. In this case, commas can separate speech from the narration.

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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