Writing dialogue is more than just putting words in your characters’ mouths. Try listening to your characters and find out what they have to say to tell the story. By using this practice of listening, you may find unexpected meaning and your story may go in surprising but satisfying directions.
Here are six tips for writing dialogue:
Show instead of tell. Craft dialogue that shows feelings instead of specifically stating how the characters feel. Whenever you start to use the word “felt,” stop and see how you can show that emotion through dialogue instead of telling the reader how your character felt. This showing technique will put the reader squarely in the action.
Advance the story’s meaning with descriptions of character movement and body language. Show how characters gesture, sit, stand or move around as they talk and how their body language mirrors inner emotions.
Don’t let your characters directly answer each others’ questions. A more indirect approach hints at the story below the surface and adds depth.