Following Dialogue

I like reading dialogue, but there have been times when I had difficulty following along, especially when more than two people were in the conversation. So how do we as writers solve this problem? Give the reader some clues to help distinguish who’s who.

Here is an example:

Tom looked at his two friends. “I really think we can do this.”

Bob shook his head. “It’s too hard.”

“I think I should handle this alone.”

Bob and Tom turned to look at Alice.

“Are you nuts?” Tom asked. “What makes you think you can waltz into Mr. Laraby’s office and give him the news. We need to do this together.”

“It was my idea. You shouldn’t get the blame.”

“But Tom and I agreed to help. I say all for one and one for all.”

Were you able to follow? Even though Alice didn’t have any tags in her dialogue, it was easy to tell when she was talking because of the reactions, both physical and verbal, of the others.

Make sure to leave dialogue clues in your writing, so the reader can keep track of who’s speaking to whom.

Contributed by Catherine L. Osornio

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2 responses to “Following Dialogue

  1. Shirley Shibley

    Good idea and good illustration, Catherine.

    Shirley

  2. Good advice and good example. Thanks, Catherine.

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