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We might say “Hi, Sue” when they arrive, or “It was great to meet you, John” when they leave – but we don’t use their name every time we address a remark or question towards them.
Unless you’re writing an experimental short story, you’re going to need to include some dialogue – and it needs to be done just as well as the rest of your writing. Whether you’re a new writer or an established one, you’ll want to watch out for these mistakes.
(You can also look out for them in published books, too — plenty of pros still aren’t getting these right.
Having a sense of natural speech patterns is essential to good dialogue.
Pay attention to the expressions people use and the music of everyday conversation.
They pepper every character’s sentences with “ums” and “ers” and hesitations.
They have so many interruptions that it’s hard to figure out what’s going on.
It takes time to develop a good ear for dialogue, but following some simple rules and avoiding some obvious pitfalls can make a huge difference.
For example, any good dialogue starts with speech patterns that sound natural to the ear.
Realistic dialogue written well can advance a story and flesh out characters while providing a break from straight exposition.
Writing realistic dialogue does not come easily for everyone, though, and few things pull a reader out of a story faster than bad dialogue.