Today I would like to discuss tips for writing Dialog (or Dialogue for those who prefer it to be typed as such. Feel free to pretend I spent the time appeasing you and add the UE in your mind). Writing speech on paper can be difficult, especially if you don't listen to people talk. So, how do you frame your dialog?
Here are a few things I try to do.
I like to use dialog to put a character's thoughts into the open. This gets rid of a lot of the filler in a story and allows the characters to really come alive. It also gets rid some of your most 'telling' writing. It's a nice moment when a husband thinks, I love her. But it's romantic and surprising when he brings her a paper flower, kissing her gently, even after ten years of marriage. Thoughts can be turned into dialog, and dialog into action. Rewriting is our friend.
And sometimes things should stay in their heads. Know when to let it out to make your character more realistic or to give more life to your story. But sometimes, I know it is rare, your characters should think before they act.
Dialog should also advance the plot or show us something about the characters. Writers are supposed to show the real world to the readers - just not the boring parts. You are not a video camera. No, you should be the director that decides what and when to shoot.
And try to use action instead of attribution, once in a while. They don't have to 'said, say, reply' all the time. Instead of using so many complex "She wondered, he vexed, she whined, he yelled," you can show something.
Also, remember that our characters don't always tell the truth. We must keep in mind that we don't have to tell the audience when the characters are lying or when they are being truthful. It is up to you.
If Bob's hiding someone in his basement, it may add to the suspense to let the readers know. However, it could be a greater mystery if you don't tell them. That's up to you, but Bob will certainly lie.
Now, think about how many times a person tells white lies in a day. Let your characters do that. It will reveal a bit about them, seeing what they choose to keep to themselves or embellish upon. It reveals our strengths, our weaknesses and our false misconceptions of the world.
Don't forget to 'cut to the pleasantries.' No, long winded dialog to introduce one another. We know they spend ten minutes asking questions like 'how are you' and 'how's the kids?' But why listen? Unless it reveals something about the characters or story, cut it.
Nothing can chop up a book more than a hugggggggeeeee speech. Some books pull it off, but for the most part... Skip the monologue. Who would be friends with captain monologue anyway? Monologue, monotonous.... do you see what I'm talking about?
Every speech pattern is different. When you go out somewhere, shut your pie eating device and listen to the world. There are so many characters around you; how could you run out of ways to let them express themselves? Try different speech patterns, rearranging sentences and letting your characters come alive.
You need a unique writing voice, right? Your characters must have a unique voice, too. Spend some time writing a character in the same scene, but in different ways. Give them new ways of speaking and how they say things. Sometimes, it can give you a fresh outlook. Most times, it will help you solidify who you already have pictured in the role. You might just find a whole new cast livens up your book. People forget, we are our own casting director.
Let your other characters disregard, ignore or get lost in their own world. Dialog said isn't always heard. Let things slip through the cracks. The readers get gems and comedy relief. It can also be suspenseful, when the crowd knows the combination but the character can't remember, he was busy thinking about the hot Brazilian girl in the bikini.
Some last advice: Don't be over-descriptive in dialog - no one calls the ground 'frosted over with tiny grains of icy-dew and moonbeams' or some stupid derivative. Don't over use titles and names. No one does that in real life. How often do you call your friend any name at all in speech? "Hey Jerry, I'll be over soon. You know you're crazy, Tom. You up for that, Bob?"
I hope I didn't go on too much of a rant. Hopefully this is helpful to everyone,