Dialogue Fictional Writing

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a scene between two characters almost having a big fight, but not
quite. Have the real tension be about something bigger than the trivial
issue at hand. E.g., it’s not really about the remote control but rather
about control and being remote and power and who has it in the


“Begin the dialogue of each new speaker as a new paragraph.”

“Notice that punctuation goes inside the quotation marks.”

“Avoid using the name of the person being spoken to in dialogue—it doesn’t sound conversational.”

Dialogue Tips

1. Have your characters speak no more than three sentences at a time—unless you have good reason to do otherwise.

2. Dialogue is more interesting when characters are saying no to each other.

3. Keep exposition out of dialogue.

4. Let your characters sometimes conceal or avoid instead of saying exactly what they mean.

5. Use “said” as a dialogue tag whenever possible.

6. Use an action rather than a modifier to show how the character is feeling.

7. Cut to the chase. Don’t use dialogue that doesn’t move the story forward or reveal character.

8. Don’t let your characters be too articulate. Fragments are fine. Don’t force conversations to follow logical order.

9. Vernacular is best conveyed by word choice and syntax as opposed to misspellings.

3-4 pages (always double-spaced)


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