I have been told by several people that I am good at writing dialogue. My characters sound realistic and the speech flows well from one to another. I’ve thought about how I developed this technique, and it was only the other day that I came to some sound conclusions.
My daughters had been playing dolls, and as I was working in the other room, I couldn’t help but overhear their conversation. They were creating their own adventures through their adlibbed dialogue. It suddenly dawned on me that this was how I learned. No, I wasn’t big on dolls, although I did play a little with my older sister; but we did play dress up and we made up stories and had our own made up conversations.
Then I would play with my Matchbox cars and create adventures there. And when I drew my superheroes, I had to create their dialogue, too. My childhood seemed to be a series of opportunities to make up conversation.
Now, as I write, I envision the characters speaking. I can have whole conversations going on in my head between the characters that I just type up, allowing for smooth dialogue.
Although my “training” started at a young age, it’s never too late to learn to dialogue. Do you have kids or grandkids you can play with? Try some make-believe with them. Don’t have any children? Go to the playground and observe kids in conversation. Volunteer for Sunday School and again listen in. Fill yourself with opportunities to either make believe or to listen to how kids create their own stories. Then sit down at your computer and type away. After a bit the process will become very natural.
Contributed by Catherine L. Osornio