Dialogue About Dialogue

What can I say that hasn’t been said by our Wordsmiths about writing great dialogue?  Honesty, I’ve learned more about dialogue  listening to the seven other members read their manuscripts and comment on mine, than I have from ANY how-to book, hands down!  Books are necessary but (News Flash!) they can’t interact with you!  You need to dialogue about your dialogue. (o;

We have of eight pairs of listening and discerning ears. As we read our manuscripts aloud, each God-given, uniquely creative brain processes the information in a different way.  Every member has her own distinct insight on what is read.  All may agree overall on the status of a manuscript, and yet one or two may add something else to the mix that’s entirely different.  Each time, I come away having learned something about my dialogue—that little thing that can make or break your book!

I soak in the different dialogue styles as I listen to my friends read. This soaking, learning process has made my own dialogue writing for a chapter book finally “click”!  Thanks, Wordies!

Most of us know that people are trained to recognize counterfeit currency by touching the REAL thing hundreds of times. They don’t concentrate on the counterfeit.  They concentrate on the real thing so many times, it becomes easy to recognize the stuff that’s no good.

To me, dialogue is much like that.  How do we recognize the real, natural, believable dialogue in our own writing? By hearing it and reading it over and over again. By soaking in GOOD dialogue until you’re saturated with great examples. Before long, you’ll notice the unrealistic, unbelievable dialogue becomes easier to identify. 

If you’re struggling with writing great dialogue, get with a good group and dialogue about your dialogue. Learn to identify the real, the believable, and the natural in your own writing.

Sheryl Crawford


5 responses to “Dialogue About Dialogue

  1. What great advice, Sherri! And yes, isn’t wonderful to get together and dialogue about dialogue?!

  2. gloriastockstill

    Sherri, you are so right. A good critique group helps more than any book I’ve read!

    Thanks for the great post.


  3. Sherri, you are brilliant. It takes talent to be able to apply what you hear — and apply it again and again. It’s so true that we begin to recognize what is worthwhile and discard the rest!


  4. Shirley Shibley

    I agree with the other comments, Sherri, and commend you for presenting this so well.


  5. Great advice, Sherri! It does help to read my manuscript out loud. Even if it doesn’t have dialogue, a voice comes through to tell the story. It helps to have many ears listening to help fine tune the story.

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