I've set up this tutorial to show, in a nutshell, the main points of writing proper dialogues and the more and less important aspects of a good dialogue, as I've seen many around here who are still having problems in the area of writing realistic and human dialogues.
Because a lot of you guys fly over the first few lines and then decide it's a tl;dr, I'll quickly summarize what this thread is about -
Dialogues in connection to character personalities; Dialogues in connection to dramatic situations and conditions; The use of formality and informality and dialogue vocabulary.-- Dialogues in connection to character personalities
I think it should seem logical to all of you that just setting off and writing without preparation is completely useless. Analyzing the personality of the talking characters is vital to know what they should
say and what words should be used. The character's personality always decides about what is said, and very often even over the vocabulary used.
Example: A well educated, polite tax collector standing at your doorstep will greet you formally and use words making him sound well-behaved and professional.
-- "Good Day sir, I am here to collect the incoming taxes of the autumn section" (Made up, doesn't have to make sense.)
In comparison, an old, humorous chap who's not very well educated won't treat you like the king of the village, and will use more approachive and close vocabulary.
-- "Hey Charles you old nutte', on for a booze t'morrow?"
My examples are quite extreme, you should understand what I mean though. PERSONALITIES ARE VERY IMPORTANT, so I'd only start creating dialogues when you've worked out who the
characters will be and what their personality is; but that should be how you do it anyway.-- Dialogues in connection to dramatic situations and conditions
Another influence factor on dialogues is, of course, the situation in which the dialogue is performed. Even if somebody has a very funny and humorous personality, he won't come up with
any jokes when, for example, another actor just died. The personality configures the primary way the dialogue will go in normal situations, the condition only influences the dialogue when out of normal.
I have made two little diagrams to compare the outcome of the dialogue when the situation doesn't influence it, and when a special situation occurs:
I think the pictures and the text should bring the message over to you, so I'll carry on with the next point.-- The use of formality and informality in dialogues
As the personalities of characters vary, the use of informal and formal languages also varies.
Simply, the more relaxed, close and apporachive a character is, the more informal he gets, and the more polite and stiff a character gets, the more formal the dialogue gets.
BUT - but, but but. I have seen many people going to extremes in either way - some stay as informal as a modern hip hopper. and some dialogues remind me of the
1800s with their stiff dialogues. Also, I have seen people getting the use of it so completely wrong that it's just funny to watch- "Yeah guys let's form an alliance."
Basically, in informality, you should only go as far as like when talking to a friend. Just don't go all YA BRO WACHA DOIN over me.
In formality, you should actually only go as far as the normal language used towards respected personalities in normal life (like elderly people. Just like when you talk to them. Yeah, I'm creepy.)
Also, you should know where the borderline is between formality and informality:
Yes, my diagrams are crap and made in MS Paint.-- Dialogue vocabulary
A lost point about writing dialogues is very important to me, but only as it directly connects with my writing style - this is only a personal tip from me, not a real must.
What I have noticed is that many Writers around here - yes, I'm talking to you guys - have an absolutely amazing vocabulary, and don't refrain of using it everywhere.
This is nice and so on, looks real cool and makes you look super-brained, but it is NOT what writing is really about!
That's what many people seem to have picked up: If you're a writer, your amount of available words is twice as much as all the phone numbers of the whole American T-Online Phone book.
Basically, what I'm saying, you don't need to use amazing words and phrases to be a writer - writing is about putting feelings, thoughts or just real life situations on paper - but so, that
other people find interest and enjoy reading it.
So, my personal advice: You can use complex phrases and vocab in your dialogues, but keep it low and understandable, so that it's realistic, normal and human.
I wouldn't go around talking about my oh so effervescent and oh so tintinnabulative passion of tranquility, would I? (Those words actually exist ôo)
All in all, stick to these hints, and your outcome shouldn't be all too bad
Anyway, if you've reached this point of reading and haven't simply SCROLLED DOWN (you lazy oaf), then I'd like to thank you so much for reading my lil' tutorial, I really hope it helped
you a little, if not made you smile, scratch your head, or think of me as a twat