How do we talk?

Does your dialogue sing or fall flat? Some writers are naturals when it comes to dialogue and some need to work at it, but that’s okay. It’s all about tuning your ear in. Artists need to learn to see, in order to draw something accurately. They need to look at the shapes, the negative space and how the light and perspective works. They need to trust what they see, not what they think they see. It’s the same with writing and especially with writing dialogue.

If you struggle with dialogue, take time to listen to people talking. Listen to what they say and, importantly, what they don’t say. Hear the pauses, the contractions and notice the unfinished sentences. How do different accents affect the rhythm of speech? Do their mannerisms betray something different to what they’re actually saying?

Your writing prompt: Head out to a cafe, take a  bus trip or sit somewhere else full of people chatting. Do some serious eavesdropping and create a scene or a whole story using a snippet of real life conversation. Make the voices distinct to limit the need for dialogue tags. Have fun.

What's the story?

What’s the story?


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