Flake-out Friday–Wherein I Use An Illustration To Point Out The Importance Of Tight Dialogue

Dialogue is one of the techniques/skills that writers must learn in order to develop effective character communication. Dialogue not only displays a character’s “voice,” it also serves to SHOW relationship dynamics AND to advance the plot.

It’s easy to get stuck in the mire of conversation, meaning, the niceties and back and forth’s that don’t really go anywhere. Case in point (as borrowed from The Oatmeal comic, Ten Reasons to Avoid Talking on the Phone):

(Thanks, Cate for pointing this out! LOVE IT!)

Ok, so the example above pretty much sums up what a space waster the “Hi, how are ya?” “Fine, how are you?” exchanges are. If you see them in your dialogue, CUT ‘EM OUT! The reader doesn’t care about idle weather talk, they wanna get to the chainsaws!

Speaking of chainsaws, context and body language also makes a big difference (hence the importance of showing).

15 comments on “Flake-out Friday–Wherein I Use An Illustration To Point Out The Importance Of Tight Dialogue

  1. Tee hee, love your examples – they’re going to stick in my mind for ages I think! Great point about dialogue, I’m revising at the moment and that’s one of the things I’m concentrating on – tightening up my dialogue. (And showing not telling of course!).


  2. Ciara Knight says:

    I struggle with this and always work hard to correct show vs. tell and bad dialogue during the editing phase. πŸ™‚

  3. Misha says:

    Hahahaha I loved the comics.


  4. Charli Mac says:

    Hee hee. I often hold a chainsaw when speaking to my mother-in-law!

    Great post. I don’t think I have a “Hi how are you?” in my MS but now you have me wondering. πŸ™‚

    Happy Friday.

  5. Hahahahahahahahaha!

    Oops, better get rid of some that extraneous dialogue in my wip.

  6. There is a difference between real life and novels. Real life is real; novels are shorthand real. Because we readers don’t care about the details of real. We want DRAMA! This is really important to learn. Thank you for sharing, Laura. Blessings to you…

  7. Christine Fonseca says:

    So love these!

  8. Lydia K says:

    Love those examples! They were perfect!

  9. lexcade says:

    LOL Love it!!!!

  10. J E Fritz says:

    Those were so funny! And you make a good point with them, too. I want my dialogue to sound realistic but in books, what sounds natural isn’t what’s realistic.

  11. I totally laughed out loud at the saw!

  12. Lynn Rush says:

    HA. These are great!

  13. Dialogue is a big part of what I write and I try to avoid the ‘filler’ stuff.

  14. I’ve learned to tighten my dialogue. Now I skip the niceties when I talk to people in person. πŸ˜‰

    Great post! πŸ˜€

  15. Abby Annis says:

    This is hilarious! Great post! πŸ™‚

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