Let’s start with the obvious and say that writing is not as easy as some might think because there are too many rules to follow and things to keep in mind. Everyone can cover certain topics, but to really create a piece from scratch, much effort is needed, alongside creativity and everything else. That is why there are certain rules that can not just be of great help but that you can also use as a guide that will help you reach the exact effect you want. Of course, some of the best examples of how to do something are usually about knowing what not to do, and the same is with writing, so let’s check out some of the most common mistakes all rookie writers make when writing dialogue.
It needs to sound genuine
A key to successful writing is that it simply needs to be natural and genuine, regardless of the topic, type of writing, or genre. It doesn’t matter how great of a story you have written because if certain things are overemphasized, the overall effect you want to get will not be as efficient, to say the least. Besides that, if it is too poetic, people tend to stay away from this type of dialogue as it is not natural. Yes, some of the most famous books and classics were written this way, but today, the chances are high that this type of writing will not be welcomed. From the readers’ point of view, when reading, you want to easily go through the book, as that craving for what will happen next simply walks you through the entire story. Now, if the dialogue is too complex or written in such a way that it causes more confusion rather than anything else, it will not be accepted by the general public. Another thing to consider when writing dialogue is to be aware that you don’t express your own opinions and thoughts through characters, which is perhaps an even bigger challenge, as just like actors, you need to place yourself into the body and mind of that character in order to provide an authentic dialogue.
It’s too bland
This mistake often happens, or to be more precise, is more often noticed when there are plenty of characters. Namely, when you have a few of them, it’s easier to create a clear distinction between them, and writing dialogue should not be that big of a problem. On the other hand, when there are many characters, you need to create a unique set of minds for each one. Yes, some will have a similar way of thinking and might use similar expressions, but if every character in your book uses the same pattern of speech and vocabulary, well, then the entire piece will seem bland. The best way to avoid such mistakes and present characters in a better way is by revealing interesting details about them, like self-awareness and level of education.
Use quotation marks correctly
Now, this is where most people often make a mistake, as not using quotation marks and dialogue tags will only confuse the readers, and after some time, they will simply stop reading. The next thing to keep in mind here is consistency, and if you prefer using double quotation marks, then never write single ones and vice versa. The goal here is to provide your readers with a piece from which, every time they read, they will learn something new or see things from another perspective, and the only way to reach that goal is by allowing the readers to focus on what really matters, and not suffocate them with different styles of writing. Dialogue tags can be of great help here, as if characters are in a middle of a complex argument, you can pause it and let the readers keep track of what’s going on by adding a simple “she said/replied.”
Don’t forget to write about body language
Our behavior and mimics say a lot about our mood, how and what we think, our intentions, etc. This is also a big part of psychology, as our gestures and expressions can say a lot about us. What this means is that by not describing how some character behaves, their gestures, or not writing about their facial expressions, something will lack, as you will also fail to present the emotions of that character. Remember that readers will have just words, and since gestures and body language play a huge role when we talk or tell a story, by not describing it, you will lose the attention of your readers. There are five main types of body language that you can use in constructing dialogue, and by using all of them, according to Wr1ter, you will get precisely a reaction you want, send the exact message you intend, and create a perfect ambiance.
Using names too much in a dialogue
We use peoples’ names when we want to draw their attention in one way or another, but we simply don’t use peoples’ names that often when talking to them, so why would your characters? There is no need to write a name in dialogue every once in a while because it’s not natural. The only time any character in the book should use other characters’ names that often is when they are a salesman of some sort. By avoiding this, the dialogue will be smooth and concise, and readers will easier understand what’s going on.
Don’t underestimate readers’ imagination
The famous saying “Bigger is not necessarily better” doesn’t always apply in life, but it can be a lifesaver here. Namely, you should always leave room for readers to imagine and think, and silence can be more powerful than words, just like in the real world. Humans are complex beings, and sometimes when we are excited or emotional, we cannot describe that emotion, and certain things and events can truly leave us speechless, so make sure to add this to your writing. Now, this also often happens when describing the environment and setting a mood, meaning that over-the-top words are a rookie mistake that should definitely be avoided.