Light up Your Characters with Dialogs

Role of dialogs in writing is very vital. They light up the characters in stories. A good dialog convinces the readers, depicting the characters clearly and moving the plot lively. But many writers find dialog a stumbling block. How is that what the writers hear and speak in day-to-day life make them suddenly freeze them up when they try to capture them on the page?

What is dialog?

Hearing is the key of dialog. The same language is spoken differently in different areas. For example, English spoken in the US is different from that of UK. Even in the same country it has different ways of speech from one place to another. What one hears is different from what one reads. Generally writers write with the eye of their mind and not ear. This sometimes may minimize the effect of writing.

Dialog is defined as the interaction between two characters in a narrative on a vocal level.

It conveys the mood of the characters and moves the story providing the needed information. Dialog gives the reader an impression that the characters in the story are real people with whom the reader also can interact.

Four characteristics of a dialog

1) Dialogs convey emotion, opinion, suggestion and a host of other information by facial expression, tone of voice and body language which are very difficult to indicate accurately on a written page.

2) Moving the story forward, giving more information and contribution to the characterization are the three functions of a dialog.

3) They may not be in complete grammatical sentences.

The cut-short sentences are naturalistic and informal adding beauty and luster to the dialog.

4) Punctuations have profuse use in a dialog. Punctuations give expressions to the emotions of the characters.

Four basic types of dialogs

1) Informal dialog

This is called “naturalistic” type dialog in which people express themselves informally. Grammar is given less importance than the expressions of the characters. The dialog moves like a shot carrying the reader along with the expressions of the characters. The conversational lines are short leaving a good deal of white space on the page, much more attractive and restful to the reader’s eye than long and thick paragraphs.

2) Realistic dialog

Realistic dialog appears to be deceptively natural, but is more organized. Modern plays and fictions employ this kind of dialog combined with naturalistic. If you read it aloud you can find the lines that go flat and lose give more life to the narration.

3) Heightened realism in dialog

One can find such dialogs with silver-tongued ilk in the writings of Anouilh, Shaw, Dylan Thomas and others. This type of dialog is realism with music and lights turned up high with a language shimmering with wit and a cutting edge. This style demands economy and crispness expressed in beautiful and precise words. Every word is vital here. This style is more suited to historical and fantasy fictions than contemporary settings.

4) Lyrical or poetical dialog

This is also called “larger than life” style, presenting truth in a big way in high language. It limits its use in prose, works of high fantasy or magic realism. People may find this style hard to read. High language sometimes inflates the expected effect. You can take the language as high as the emotional truth is real. It is not so easy to balance high language with emotional truth.

Dialogs give life to your writings. The characters in narratives resurrect with fresh bone and flesh and make your writings more energetic and emotional through their dialogs.