A lot hinges on good dialogue. If it sucks, your story will.
This is the last blog I’ll be posting on crafting dialogue. It has been a very pleasant part of my journey. I never realized how much a writer can do with dialogue, yet I knew instinctively what I was learning, I had partially learned from my reading.
I’ve read that reading is an integral part of learning how to write. Apparently, I cannot disagree.
The following book is the most detailed dialogue crafting book read so far.
Title: Crafting Dynamic Dialogue the Complete Guide to Speaking, Conversing, Arguing, and Thinking in Fiction
Authored by: the editors of Writer’s Digest
The book is divided into six parts with self-explanatory titles:
An Introduction to Dialogue
Crafting Great Dialogue
The Basics of Dialogue
Characters & Dialogue
Dialogue sets the Stage
Dialogue Drives the Plot
Many of the chapters (28) are written by authors who teach writing workshops and write novels or other writing craft books.
By the time I read through the chapters, which were well-marked with bolded subtitles providing easy perusal if looking for a particular part of the article, I had gained a clear vision of the total flexibility of how dialogue can be used to move a story forward and how much richer a story is by its presence.
I recommend you read each of the articles. There is some overlapping of ideas which only reinforces what I learned. It will be a handy reference book for me once I begin my novel.
I also read a short book How to Write Great Dialog by Dorothy May Mercer. She says dialogue is necessary to bring your characters to life to interest the readers. She gives examples of good sentences and better ones by showing, rather than telling the writer. This approach made it clear how much better dialogue sounds with narrative showing action and emotion.
Adverbs are frowned upon. True dialogue isn’t long, complete sentences, however, the narrative or exposition of the scene should have complete sentences with no contracted verbs, such as isn’t.
All in all, her short book had value—easily read quickly, with clear explanations.