Writing Effective Dialogue

So by now, hopefully you are nearing the end of your first draft for the February short story. Depending on what you are writing, dialogue is one thing that helps drive your story forward. Not only that, it’s a way to build your characters. Below are some tips on writing effective dialogue.

  1. Read it out aloud. If it doesn’t sound natural, rewrite it. Reading it aloud is one way to find poor word choices or poor phrasing. It also helps show your characters.
  2. Is it necessary? Is the dialogue driving the story forward or building character? If it isn’t, cut it out. In a short story, every word counts. Don’t have words just for the sake of words. If it’s not doing anything important, remove it.
  3. Watch out for your dialogue tags. Most of the time, he said, she said is all that is needed. If it’s a conversation, the first time your character speaks is the only time you need it. The reader can easily understand who is talking at the time.
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