How to Write Dialogue That Sharpens Your Story
'How do I keep readers on the edge of their seats?'
'What is something you should never do when writing dialogue?'
'What is the difference between good and bad dialogue in a story?'
Understanding how to write dialogue is key to creating stories that agents want to pitch, that publishers want to sell and readers want to buy. Dialogue between your characters will reflect their education, hopes and dreams, beliefs, worries and possibly, their sense of the absurd.
The simplest of exchanges can contain sophisticated undertones: Do you like me? Can I trust you? How do I know you won’t break my heart? How will we learn to agree or disagree on things? I’m sure you could add questions of your own. Whatever the question, realistic dialogue always serves to elevate and sharpen your story. Jerome Stern served as the head of the Creative Writing program at Florida State University, he explains,
“Dialogue is not just quotation.
It is grimaces, pauses, adjustments of
blouse buttons, doodles on a napkin,
and crossings of legs.”
Yes, dialogue isn’t just talking, it’s listening and reacting. Sometimes you don’t have to say anything at all. All that’s required is to keep faith in your readers; they will know what to do with the silence.
Robert McKee is one of the most sought-after story authorities in the world; his former students include over 65 Academy Award winners, 100 Writers Guild of America Award winners and Directors Guild of America Award winners. McKee arranges dialogue into three types - the said, unsaid and unsayable. Or as one novelist puts it,
"Make 'em laugh, make 'em cry, make em wait.”
Learning how to write effective dialogue helps you to add tension, to signal a plot twist, to avoid boring chit-chat while developing authentic characters.
Questions for you
How do you know when your writing is worth your time and effort?
Do you ever struggle with confidence when it comes to your writing, or do you ever find yourself stuck?
Do you worry that you have what it takes to get published, or to continue writing stories that sell?
Because you answered "YES" to any of the questions above, I know something really great about you… You are a motivated writer who has a big heart for successful storytelling.
Here's the TRUTH: You don’t know how to unlock the secrets of the writing craft simply because you haven't found your voice yet, or you need to learn how to produce sellable ideas.
My name is Claire Vorster. I help motivated writers create dynamic, sellable stories by developing techniques used by successful authors. This is my personal invite for you to unlock the power of the 3-2-1 Stories program created by the Success Stories Academy.
The 3-2-1 Stories program empowers you to create stories that you are confident in writing and that readers will love. What’s more you can choose the way that works for you:
4 Week Immersive Masterclass. UNIT 1: Dynamic Story Telling
Join this self-paced, online course. Each week you get a coaching video + an interactive activity book that helps you develop effective techniques in manageable steps. You'll discover how successful stories are structured, how to ensure that readers or movie goers respond to your characters and dialogue, and put into practice the tools of writers who consistently write best sellers and movies that make money.
10 sessions. 2 hour/week commitment. Starting January 2021, new member price $57 (USD)
Weekly one hour coaching session with Claire Create dynamic stories by developing techniques used by successful authors. Claire will be mentoring you, helping you move ahead with practical advice so you can overcome the nagging voice telling you to give up, or never start writing. Once a week, for 5 weeks.
Price per session $100 (USD).
Ready to unlock the secrets of stories that sell? Contact me for a free 30 minute strategy session.
“One day you will wake up and there won’t be any more time
to do the things you’ve always wanted. Do it now.” –Paulo Coelho