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Dialogue

Creating Believable Dialogue

Have you ever eavesdropped on your older brother or sister, maybe even your parents? Hell, you could have eavesdropped on a perfect stranger, or the mean girls in your school. It doesn't matter who you eavesdropped on, what matters is that you did.

One of the best ways to learn realistic dialogue, is by listening to the way those around you speak. Pay close attention to your own conversations, and learn from them.

Would your old fashioned father say something like this?: "Get up in this house, homie!"

I'm thinking he wouldn't, and he'd say something more like this: "Get in here this instant, young man!"

Am I right? I think I might be, because I've heard my old fashioned father yell it at my brother. See what I did? I listened to the dispute between my dad and my brother, and what did I learn? That my father is from the 1800s or something. Usually an older father wouldn't say words like 'homie', or phrases like 'get up in this house'.

Just listen, and learn. Learn from your friends, your family, strangers in a coffee shop, or learn from your own conversations.

How do people your age talk? Do they have an accent? Do they have a speech impediment? Think about these things and then learn about them. If you don't know how to write an accent, research it. Or if you want to use the easy way out, mention that they have an accent and don't change the dialogue at all.

The art of Quotation marks.

Any dialogue in your novel or short story, should go between Quotation marks. If you simply write your dialogue like this:

Don't do that! Agitha said.

Okay! I yelled back.

It confuses the reader. While it might seem obvious to you as the author, most readers might confuse the main sentence with the dialogue and become lost.

Don't do that! Agitha said.

Okay! I yelled back.

Even if you use italics, it might make the reader think your characters are mind readers. Or it will just confuse them further.

'Don't do that!' Agitha said.

'Okay!' I yelled back.

A lot of people use Apostrophes for thoughts, so a lot of readers might mistake your dialogue for thoughts if you use them.

Which is why it's best if you use Quotation marks when writing dialogue.

Example: "Don't look at me like that, Agitha," Danny sighed, and rolled his eyes when her frown deepened.

We're sharing a paragraph? Ew.

Two different people should not talk within the same paragraph. It's confusing on who is actually talking, and can really throw off the reader.

Incorrect:

"Hey carrot top," I heard someone say, and I spun around. I crossed my arms and puffed out my bottom lip, how dare he call me that. I marched past him and yelped when he wrapped his hand around my wrist. "I'll win that for you," he said, while his other hand lifted and pointed at the blue bunny. "Why?" I asked, and tilted my head to the side. "And my name is Emmy," I whined and the boy shook his head. "Because, my mom told me to be nice to girls," the boy shrugged, and I glared at him. "Besides, you suck and there's no way you'll win it by yourself," he shrugged again, and my mouth dropped open.
Correct:
"Hey carrot top," I heard someone say, and I spun around. I crossed my arms and puffed out my bottom lip, how dare he call me that. I marched past him and yelped when he wrapped his hand around my wrist. "I'll win that for you," he said, while his other hand lifted and pointed at the blue bunny.
"Why?" I asked, and tilted my head to the side. "And my name is Emmy," I whined and the boy shook his head.
"Because, my mom told me to be nice to girls," the boy shrugged, and I glared at him. "Besides, you suck and there's no way you'll win it by yourself," he shrugged again, and my mouth dropped open.

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