#atozchallenge: D is for #Dialogue #fiction #writing #quotes

Theme:  Quotes from Authors and Bookish People about Writing  

The A to Z Challenge is whooshing ahead, and I feel a little dizzy and breathless with all the visiting and emailing and whatnots.

 I did schedule the main content of these posts but I still come in each day to make sure things are ok before I hit ‘post’.
Forgive me if I haven’t visited back everyone who has commented on my AZ posts so far, but I promise I’ll get to you!

Today, we’re discussing dialogue in fiction, a facet of writing which brings a novel or short story to life. Of course there are stalwart writers who’ve done without dialogues (Gabriel Garcia Marquez comes to mind), but by and large most writers of fiction do use dialogue in their work, to some extent or the other.

Dialogue or Dialog is a literary and theatrical form consisting of a written or spoken conversational exchange between two or more (“dia” means through or across) people. ~Wikipedia

Here are the writing quotes for today: 

“I’ve found that good dialogue tells you not
only what people are saying or how they’re communicating but it tells you a
great deal – by dialect and tone, content and circumstance – about the quality
of the character.”
–E. O. Wilson

“Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly. Once you start spelling
words in dialogue phonetically and loading the page with apos­trophes,
you won’t be able to stop. Notice the way Annie Proulx captures the
flavour of Wyoming voices in her book of short stories Close Range.”
–Elmore Leonard 

“If you are using dialogue—say it aloud as you write it. Only then will it have the sound of speech.” — John Steinbeck 

“An often overlooked advantage of dialogue in novels and stories is this simple: it provides white space on the page that makes the reader feel that the story is moving faster because the reader’s eyes move quickly down the page.” — Sol Stein


Is writing dialogue your strength or weakness as a writer? Is there a memorable dialogue from fiction or movie that you can quote offhand? Why do you remember it?


I love comments, and I always visit back. Blogging is all about being a part of a community, and communities are about communication! Tweet me up @damyantig !

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  1. Carolyn Arnold

    One tip I find with writing effective dialogue is to make it realistic. People don't usually pick up on a previous comment flawlessly. They've already got something in mind ready to say. For example, very rarely is a question answered directly.

  2. Chrys Fey

    For me, writing dialogue is pretty easy because I just think of what I would say if I were my characters and in their situations. Great quote choices. 🙂

  3. sdneeveindieauthor.com

    I've read that white space is good for MG/YA books as it helps to break up the page. I love writing dialogue, so much so, my "Eight" series is mainly based around it! Don't know if that's a good thing?
    Thanks for the quotes, and thanks for taking the time to drop by my blog. 🙂
    Have a great Sunday off. 😀

  4. Suzy

    White spaces are good. I have a hard time reading posts that have very little white space. Note to self – remember that!

  5. Sheena-kay Graham

    I really like Sol's quote, thanks for the tip. Wilson's quote is something I see with dialogue as well. a lot can be revealed based off what a character says.

  6. Andi-Roo TheWorldForRealz

    wow, from the comments, I find that I'm not as special as I thought I was! I have always heard that dialogue is difficult for most writers, and I prided myself on how well I am able to write that part of a narrative. Either I am in great company or we are all equally full of ourselves!!! LMAO!!! Hoping it's the former, not the latter…

  7. Jocelyn Rish

    Great quotes! I used to dislike writing dialog and would avoid it when I could, but somewhere along the line that shifted and now it's one of the things my critique partners list as a strength in my feedback.

    Hope you’re having fun with the A to Z challenge,

  8. Beth Camp

    If I'm stuck, then I'll begin with dialogue to let my characters lead me to that new scene or discover what he or she really thinks. I'll push them a little, but it's definitely a schizophrenic process. I do like the way the words people say (or don't say) shape their character.

  9. klahanie

    Hi human, Damyanti,

    I have been told I'm very good at writing dialogue. I can even make my fictional human, Gary, seem almost intelligent in my dialogue! 🙂

    Happy thoughts, your way….

    Penny, the pawsitive host of the Alphabark Challenge, 2014!

  10. Damaria Senne

    I tend to write it as I hear it in my head, but then later I go back to it to see if the words and the way things are phrased fit in with their characteristics.
    @Debi – I'll keep your secret if you keep mine:-)

  11. Enchantress

    " teach them facts, nothing but facts " from Charles Dickens's Hard Times is what comes to my mind

    Indeed Dialogues play a very crucial role in revealing the character's soul

  12. Michelle Stanley

    Writing dialogue has always been one of my strong points. The banter among characters plays itself out the more I type, as with most of my posts. These quotes are treasured lessons I look forward to reading.

  13. perspectiveofawriter

    I adore dialogue and it's my strength. Steinbeck's advice is the best – I always read out loud and silently to myself until both ways read smoothly. Each fixes problems in the narrative the other doesn't. Cheers

  14. cleemckenzie

    This is exactly why I'm considered odd. I talk to myself at the computer, in the garden, on the trail. Of course, I'm not really talking to me; I'm creating dialog.

  15. Jeremy [Retro]

    I see what the voices say and then… think is that what the dialogue might be.

    I am out for the moment, thought I would say hello to the awesome A to Z team.
    Jeremy [Retro]

  16. Nick Wilford

    I agree with all these quotes pretty much. I used to write plays and do drama when I was a kid so I do enjoy the challenge of trying to nail good dialogue that demonstrates how the character is feeling. Something I'm always trying to improve!

  17. shelly

    Dialogue is actually my most favorite to write. Of course, Sir Poops and Hair Ball think I'm bonkers for all the strange voices I make as I look toward my computer.

  18. Jillian Lisa Pearl

    Dialogue is something that I've had to use a lot in order to get better at it. Like most things, what you practice is what improves. I'm learning to let the character express themselves and show themselves through what they say. It sounds simple, but can be so tricky to get right.