Have you ever seen a thrilling movie and wanted to learn how to create the same kind of intense dialogue that kept you glued to the screen? Writing gripping dialogue can be an art, but it can be mastered with the proper steps and guidance. This blog post will provide expert tips on crafting dialogue prompts to get your readers’ hearts pumping.
Understand the role of dialogue in writing
Dialogue is essential for creating believable characters and giving your story a sense of life. Dialogue is an incredibly important tool for authors – it’s how you reveal character traits and emotions, develop relationships between characters, and move your plot forward.
The most important thing to remember when writing a dialogue prompt is that it should be specific. If you want to create a believable conversation between two characters or convey a certain emotion through their words, start with something concrete. For Example:
– The tears streamed down her face as she shouted at him, “You don’t care about me at all!”
This immediately brings up multiple questions in the reader’s mind – what happened? What did he do? Why does she feel so hurt? Plus, it makes the reader empathize with her right away by giving them insight into her emotional state even before any backstory has been revealed.
Another helpful tactic for creating believable conversations is to think of each part of the dialogue as having its own mini-arc. Like every scene in your story needs a beginning, middle, and end; your characters need arcs within each conversation too! To demonstrate this concept, here is an example:
– Cathy slammed her laptop shut angrily. “It doesn’t matter what I do; you never appreciate anything I do!” She fumed while crossing her arms over her chest.
John closed his eyes and breathed out slowly. “What am I supposed to say, Cathy? You know how I feel.”
She shook her head fiercely. “No, John; no, actually, I don’t!”
Here are a few dialogue exercises to start your writing process
1. Two people who recently broke up meet at a café and try to make small talk about what they’ve been doing since the breakup.
2. Two people discuss the pros and cons of starting a business versus keeping their job.
3. A mother talks to her teenage son about his attitude towards school and studying habits.
Dialogue writing prompts like these can help you explore different types of conversations between different types of characters and encourage creative problem-solving when crafting actionable conversations in your short story.
Develop a character voice for your characters
Giving each character their voice is essential to portray characters in your story realistically. This means using language and diction that reflects the character’s background, education level, and personality. For example, a high-class business executive will likely speak more formally than a streetwise gang member.
Use conflict to create tension
Tension and suspense are key elements of a thrilling story, so your dialogue must reflect this. Consider having characters argue or disagree on certain points to create tension and keep readers engaged. You can also have characters withhold information from each other to build suspense.
End with a cliffhanger or surprise
Try to end each dialogue scene on an interesting note. Whether it’s a cliffhanger or a surprise twist, ensure your readers are eager to discover what happens next by leaving them wanting more. Doing this will keep them hooked and ensure they keep flipping the pages until the end.
Have fun with your dialogue
Don’t forget to have fun with your dialogue. Writing can be a creative and enjoyable process, so don’t be afraid to experiment with different dialogue styles or add humorous elements that make readers smile. With the right mix of creativity and structure, you can create thrilling conversations that will leave your readers wanting more.
Funny dialogue prompts from film and literature:
“You’re gonna need a bigger boat.” – Jaws
“What do you want?” He looked at him like he was a cockroach floating in his coffee. – Flight Across Waters
Make sure your dialogue is consistent and relevant to the story
When writing dialogue, ensure it is consistent with the character’s voice and relevant to the story. If a conversation occurs between two characters, ensure their discussion reflects what they would say. To do this, focus on making sure each character has something unique to say and avoid having them sound too similar.
Furthermore, avoid long-winded discussions that don’t move the plot forward or provide insight into the characters.
Use short sentences and shorter phrases for quicker conversations
If you find yourself too descriptive with the dialogue, take a step back and ask yourself what information is necessary for the scene and which details can be omitted. Also, try writing in shorter bursts rather than long, drawn-out dialogue scenes.
Here is an example:
Cathy nudged Jennifer. “I’m proud of you. No smokes for two days.”
“I’ve been irritable, haven’t I?”
“On and off.”
“Sorry. I don’t mean to be.”
“It’s all right. I hear it’s tough to quit.”
“Yeah, but still, I’ll work on it.”
Don’t forget non-verbal dialogue
Using small details to bring your dialogue to life
While words can be used to communicate, don’t forget about other forms of non-verbal dialogue like body language and facial expressions. These are important for conveying emotion and character development in a story.
Try to include subtle details that hint at the characters’ feelings without stating them outright. This will help bring your characters and their conversations to life.
Capture the inner thoughts and feelings of your characters
In addition to creating a distinct character voice, capture your characters’ inner thoughts and feelings. This will add dimension to your story by giving readers insight into what makes each character tick. It will also make it easier for readers to empathize with the characters and become invested in their journey.
Here are examples of inner dialogue from well-known thrillers:
I can’t let him get away with this! – The Fugitive
What have I done? – Psycho
He’s going to kill me! – Saw
Construct engaging and exciting dialogue by avoiding clichés
Avoid clichés or overused dialogue lines that might cause readers to lose interest. This will help keep your story exciting and engaging for readers as they follow the conversations.
Instead of relying on stock phrases, develop individualized lines unique to each character or situation. Doing this will make your dialogue more memorable and add a personal touch that will draw readers in.
To write good dialogue is an art form, and it takes practice. Even the best writers can benefit from rereading their dialogue and looking for ways to tweak it to make it more compelling. Have fun with your dialogue, get creative, and be brave when trying new words or finding unique ways to express your story’s conflict.
Dialogue is essential to writing, providing a compelling narrative arc with just a few lines. By understanding how different characters interact with each other and recognizing the impact of non-verbal dialogue, you’ll be well on your way to producing evocative scenes that linger in readers’ memories long after they have finished reading.
Thank you for taking the time to read. May you find success and joy in all that you create.
If you’re working on your first novel and are looking for more help with your writing, please check out my other articles at https://ullahakanson.com/blog/
Best of luck with your writing!