What Does Dialogue Do? • Gives insight and identifies character through: o Personality o Temperament o Diction o Insight to thoughts o Insight to action o Attitude • Creates Action • Moves the Plot
Things to Avoid in Dialogue • Definitions are not necessary in literature; your audience will probably know many of the things you know. Instead, use dialogue to allow your characters to convey the message you are attempting to get across. Instead, through dialogue, let the characters describe senses and actions to convey meaning, or express a point. • Adverbs (-ly endings)- find a few within your piece, try to play with the characters attitude within dialogue so the reader can hear the tone in which the character is speaking while reading. • Change Character Names- Changing a character’s name, or interchanging first names, surnames, and pet names can be confusing to readers. For example, if you introduce your character as, “Charlene”, on the first page, have the neighbors refer to her as, “Mrs. Smith”, on the second page, and have her husband refer to her as “Pookie Bear” on the third page, readers will more often than not become confused. • Bundling Dialogue- Bundling prose with dialogue, or bundling a conversation between many characters in one paragraph can confuse readers. Your reader’s eyes need breaks in order to distinguish between your characters, their tone, and action.
• Find an area with in your piece where the narrator is defining terms, ask yourself the following: o Is this essential to my story, or does it detract from the narrative? o Can I rework this so my characters express the meaning or message through dialogue or action? • Find a dialogue within your text. o Cover the adverbs with your finger. o Is the character’s attitude and tone conveyed properly without the adverbs. o If so, then adverbs are not necessary. o If not, take a part of that dialogue and rework it so that the character’s voice comes off the paper. • Name Change o Identify a spot where one of your character isaddressed by a different name (surname, pet name, formal name, etc.) o Is it clear that the characters are the same person? o Is it imperative that the character’s name change? o Can this be reworked to transition the reader into identifying one person in numerous ways? • Unbundling Dialogue o Look at the passage below o Identify the prose o Identify dialogue o Identify different characters o Rewrite this passage to distinguish dialogue from prose, and create differentiation between the characters.