Dazzling Dialogue—Part IX

We’re gearing down our Dazzling Dialogue discussion. Six Tools for Talk will make your dialogue sizzle and shine.  Click to Tweet #DazzlingDialogue #amwriting

Remember that the number one goal of scenes is to move the story along. You do that by creating conflict in your dialogue, as well as using action, and a bit exposition.

Six Ways to Spark Your Conversations


  1. Composition: When creating your cast of characters, make sure they will conflict with each other, with any other given character. Before you write one line, make sure your characters will have plenty of arguments, quarrels, and maybe even physically fight each other.
  2. Portrayal Breakdown: Have your characters be in the strong-weak position, the parent-child—in all conversations. One character will “portray” the “adult” or the “authority” figure, another will be the child—emotional character who isn’t quite thinking straight or logically. Make your scenes and dialogue so that the “child” character can’t walk away from the crucible of conflict.
  3. Bend and Curl the Communication: Write lines that pop, which are colorful (not curse words, OK, that’s not the goal), freshen up your use of words, take a cliché and turn it on its head. Have fun with it. Example: instead of saying, “smooth as silk” — how could we mix that up? Silk is a smooth, soft fabric. What can you come up with? Use your Thesaurus to begin your creative process.
  4. Description through Skirmish: Use dialogue, conversation, and verbal exchanges as a weapon. Proverbs 18:21 says “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.” We’ve all heard, “Sticks and stones will break your bones, but words can never hurt you.” And we know that’s not true. Words used as a weapon, wound and kill the human spirit. Use them to heal or wound your characters.
  5. The Sidestep: the character says something that’s not quite “right.” In other words, it’s “off.” Maybe the character is trying to frighten the other. That’s one way. Another technique is the jockeying for position by not responding to the other character. Be unpredictable.
  6. Flow Like a River: Another way to create a sparkling scene is to use dialogue only, with beats, to keep it known which character is saying what. Let the characters improvise by saying whatever they want.

Direct, portray, freshen up, confront, sidestep, and flowing exchanges in your stories will create Dazzling Dialogue. Click to Tweet #amwriting #DazzlingDialogue Do you use any of these techniques? Leave a comment and let me know.

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