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Sneak Into Your Characters’ Minds with These Seven Dialogue-Enhancing Techniques

Ah, dialogue. The banter between characters, the fiery exchanges, the whispered secrets. But here’s the kicker: many writers, both greenhorns and veterans alike, often fumble when it comes to crafting genuine, potent dialogue. If this sounds familiar, don’t sweat it! Instead, grab your favorite notebook, a trusty pen, and get ready to take notes.

1. Less is Often More

You might be tempted to spill out every ounce of exposition through a character’s mouth, but resist! Instead, employ the tip of the iceberg theory. Let only 10% of what the character knows emerge in dialogue. The remaining 90%? That’s for you, the writer, to know and subtly infuse throughout the story.

2. Subtext is Your Best Pal

You know those moments when you say “I’m fine,” but you’re the opposite of fine? That’s subtext. Real people often hide their true feelings behind words. Let your characters do the same. This depth makes for juicy, layered exchanges.

3. The Dance of Interruption

Nobody likes to be interrupted, but let’s face it, it happens! Especially in heated conversations. By letting your characters occasionally cut each other off, you introduce a dash of realism to your scenes.

4. Know Their Backstories (Even If You Never Reveal Them)

The key to crafting distinctive dialogue? Knowing your characters inside out. Even if you never divulge that Jim was once a circus performer or Mary once won a pie-eating contest, these tidbits can influence their speech patterns, slang, and perspectives.

5. Eavesdrop on Real Conversations

A bit sneaky? Perhaps. Useful? Definitely! Listen to how people talk in cafes, parks, or public transport. Notice the nuances, the unfinished sentences, the “umms” and “ahs.” Then, sprinkle a touch of this authenticity into your work.

6. Forget Perfect Grammar

No, this doesn’t mean sacrificing clarity. But remember: people often speak in fragments, run-ons, and colloquialisms. Let Sir Proper stick to the textbooks. In fiction, let the dialogue flow naturally.

7. Read Aloud, Listen, Repeat

Lastly, after penning a dialogue-heavy scene, read it aloud. Better yet, rope in a friend to act it out. Does it sound genuine? Forced? If something’s off, tweak until it sounds just right.

In Summary…

Peek-a-boo! With these techniques, you’ve sneakily, skillfully crawled into your characters’ minds, and soon enough, your readers will too! Ready to play with these dialogue toys? I promise they won’t gather dust on your writer’s shelf.

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