Lesson 4 -Dialogue

Now you have created characters. Sure, it feels like you have passed new acquaintances? But you can not have people who just goes around and act, they must be able to talk too. It is time to write dialogue.

A well-written dialogue should give a clear picture of the persons involved, while the action forward. A poorly written dialogue can get the reader to reject the entire book. Writing dialogue is an art to train on. Some things to consider are:

1. Be sure that each person has their own voice. Consider how the character speaks. How had he or she expressed them? Would he or she really answer that? Factors that can affect how a person talks are age, gender, social status, cultural background, profession and education.

2. Create dynamism in the text by sometimes start a paragraph with a dialogue. Instead of writing “Patrik knocked at the home of the old lady, and waited for her to open …” you can dive straight into the dialogue and let it tell you where he is, who he meets and why he has come there.

3. Try to find other ways to show who is speaking than to constantly writing “said Patrik”. Often it is not even necessary to point out who’s talking – it is a conversation between two people, it is often given anyway.

4. Strössla not with an adverb but was economical with them. Examples of when to use an adverb is, “he said hoarsely,” “wisdom, she had weak”, “shrieked he angrily”. Trust that the reader himself can understand the context.
This is a dialogue from my book The Preacher, “Linda?”
Typically, not even here in the stables she be left in peace.
The voice became more insistent. He knew she was here, so it was no use trying to dodge.
“Well, that was a hell of a pounding. What is it?”
“You do not actually speak to me with such a tone appropriate. I do not think there is so much to ask that you try to be a little courtesy. ”
She muttered a few curses in reply, and Jacob let it pass.
“You are indeed my brother and not my dad, have you thought about that?”
“I’m well aware of it, yes, but as long as you live under my roof, so I actually have some responsibility for you.”

Here I have tried to give the people in the dialogue was its character- teristisk tonnes. Teenage girl, disrespectful, speaking carelessly and with profanity. Her brother, I have deliberately given a very formal and stilted language, to highlight and that he is much older than she is, and that he’s a pretty rigid person.

What is a realistic dialogue? Real people use many polite phrases: “How’s things today?”, “Nice of you to come?” And “How’s the missus?”. Minimizing such. The idea is that the dialogue should bring the action forward. Too much small talk gets old, and pull down the tempo.

Finally – read the dialogue out loud when you’ve written it. Then you know what works and misses can be deleted or rewritten.

1. Eavesdrop on a conversation on the bus, in a coffee shop or other public place. Write down what you hear and then a scene where you are using the dialogue you overheard.

2. Try to rewrite the piece a few times and change some of the factors I mention above (age, education, occupation) and see how it changes the dialogue. (Although you initially working with a real dialogue you heard, you have full freedom to start editing it – you’re the author!)

3. Type a dialogue at least two sides on the basis of these two scenarios:
• A police officer questioning a man who is suspected of murdering his wife. The man claims that his wife walked out the door three days earlier and that she since has disappeared.
• A husband and wife discuss their suspicions that their son is involved in a series of rapes and murders of young girls. Father wants them to go to the police, the mother wants them to protect the boy and keep quiet.

Book recommendations
The Secret History by Donna Tartt is one of the best voltage books written. In it you can learn how to build and maintain tension in a book.

Isobel Lambot: How to write crime novels, p 125-129 Sue Grafton: Writing Mysteries, pp 101-109
Shannon O’Cork: How to write mysteries, pp 87-97