Bite Size Writing Tips: Dynamic Dialogue Part Two

Here’s part two in my writing dialogue series. If you missed part one, click here.

Tip two: When more than one character is speaking, you must place each character’s speech into different paragraphs. Otherwise it can be difficult to work out who is saying what e.g.:

“How much is that dress?” Sian asked the shop assistant. “It’s three hundred pounds.” “How much?” Sian frowned. “It was five hundred pounds. It’s a bargain.” “No, it’s not. Well, it is a lovely dress.” “I agree.” The shop assistant smiled kindly. “It’s no good. I can’t.” “I could knock another fifty pounds off,” the shop assistant said.

Confused? Even if you could follow it, you will have had to work at who is saying what in the conversation. If you’re reading a short story or novel, you want to enjoy it, not to have to work hard at it. By placing each character’s words into a different paragraph, see how much easier it is to read:

“How much is that dress?” Sian asked the shop assistant.

“It’s three hundred pounds.”

“How much?” Sian frowned.

“It was five hundred pounds. It’s a bargain.”

“No, it’s not. Well, it is a lovely dress.”

“I agree.” The shop assistant smiled kindly.

“It’s no good. I can’t.”

“I could knock another fifty pounds off,” the shop assistant said.

***

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15 Responses to Bite Size Writing Tips: Dynamic Dialogue Part Two

  1. Ritu says:

    Yup, definitely agree there! I find it hard to follow otherwise!

  2. Thanks for this advice, Esther. I wasn’t sure if I should separate speech by different parties like this.

  3. Simon says:

    I ‘m with you totally on this – if it’s a two way dialogue it also saves you from having to identify who’s saying what at each stage. Of course the more people talking then you need to help the reader a bit more. 🙂

  4. Very important. On a related note, I sometimes struggle with where to break paragraphs. I try to keep the action of a character to his dialogue paragraph, but sometimes it looks okay to have someone else speak and the protag react in the same paragraph. :/

  5. Pingback: Bite Size Writing Tips: Dynamic Dialogue Part Three | estherchiltonblog

  6. Pingback: Bite Size Writing Tips: Dynamic Dialogue Part Four | estherchiltonblog

  7. Pingback: Bite Size Writing Tips: Dynamic Dialogue Part Five | estherchiltonblog

  8. Pingback: Bite Size Writing Tips: Dynamic Dialogue Part Six | estherchiltonblog

  9. Pingback: Bite Size Writing Tips: Dynamic Dialogue – Part Seven | estherchiltonblog

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