Sunday, 24 February 2013

What Makes Good Dialogue?

I read a tweet today that said something along the lines of  'so many books, which one to choose?' I suppose all book lovers find themselves in that situation sometimes. As I came to the end of one book I decided to take up the suggestion of one blogger who'd interviewed a writer on her blog. Boy was I disappointed. It was a short book so I thought I'd just power through what I thought was a good enough idea for a story but let itself down on so many points. One of the biggest being dialogue.

It became quite clear that the writer didn't 'know' her characters. She had them saying things that would give anyone pause. If you came in on the middle of some of the conversations I read you would not know what period you were in, who was speaking and what sort of mood they were in. I won't name, names. Who the writer and book are is immaterial. I suppose the point I'm trying to make as a writer is the importance of dialogue and how it can shape your story.

I use it as a device to move my story along, tell you more about a certain character, create an atmosphere or mood at a certain point in a story. It might sound a funny thing to say but dialogue has to say something. I mean it should say something about the genre you are in and convey the right feelings and emotions for the wonderful story you have dreamed up. It is a waste to not think about the power of dialogue if you had a really great story idea.

I felt cheated at the end of the book. A lot of the time, as writers, we read because we want to learn something about the craft. If I took one thing away from that particular book, it's how not to do it. I keep on writing and learning and hope that I'm improving. Time will tell.
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