Now imagine having to sit through a few pages of this:
"Hey, Mary. It's Nancy."
"Hey, Nancy. What's up?"
"Nothing much. Wondering what you were up to today?"
"Nothing much. You?"
"Same old...watching TV, doing some laundry, you know, the housewife duties."
Both ladies laugh at the same time.
Well, your reader will fall asleep and perhaps be jostled back to awareness when the book has fallen with a crash to
the floor. You cannot write realistically without honing and deleting some of the everyday 'boredom' of 'natural speak'.
Your dialogue must somehow reflect your character's being, show the emotion he/she is experiencing, and move the plot
forward. The purpose of dialogue is to break down your 'reading' paragraphs with some interaction with your characters for
added spice, a change of pace. Yet it MUST incorporate something to indicate to the reader a motion of moving forward, a hint
of what's to come, a dilemma he/she may be facing. Their 'voice' portrays their overall picture and being.
Let's change Nancy's and Mary's dialogue a bit to add some excitement:
"Mary, it's Nancy. Is Harold in front?" RIGHT HERE WE'VE ADDED A SPARK OF INTEREST. WHY DOES SHE CARE IF HAROLD
IS IN FRONT?
"Mary, call him on his cell phone. Don't ask questions, just do it." MORE INTRIQUE, SUSPENSE, PULLS THE READER
TO FIND OUT WHAT THIS IS ALL ABOUT.
"Nancy, you're scaring me. Why do I need to call?"
"Mary, just call him and tell him there's an emergency and get him home as fast as you can."
Okay, so this is not your everyday dialogue but it is a dialogue suited to spark and grab your reader and this is your
aim. Place boring everyday conversation and you risk losing a reader. Add some excitement and you secure a reader.
Also, within dialogue, the need to place descriptions of any main character can be eliminated. For example,
let's say you have John as your main character, a detective.
"Did the examiner send in those files I asked for?" John slammed his fist on his desk, frustrated with everyone's
lack of cooperation.
"Geez, John. Your eyes take on a nasty neon-like green glow when you're pissed. Bloody scary!"
Right here we've made it known his eyes are green and the change in them with his mood alteration.
Dialogue is a very useful component in writing to showcase not only the plot, your character's voice, his/her descriptive
details, but to also pace the story. Having pages of descriptive paragraphs sprinkled with dialogue makes for a well-balanced
read of diversity.
A reader can bond with a character when they can actually 'hear' their emotions, their outcry, their elation.
So don't waste this valuable tool you have in your hands. Use dialogue but avoid the everyday speech.
Two people in a movie theater annoyed with a couple of talkative teens in the back.
Write me a short scene using only dialogue showcasing the two people's frustration escalating with the annoying teens
talking and laughing out loud at the backseats.
Looking forward showcasing your dialogue scenarios in next month's issue of The Muse Marquee.