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Elizabeth Bowen on Dialogue

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    Shaula Evans

    1. Dialogue should be brief.

    2. It should add to the reader’s present knowledge.

    3. It should eliminate the routine exchanges of ordinary conversation.

    4. It should convey a sense of spontaneity but eliminate the repetitiveness of real talk.

    5. It should keep the story moving forward.

    6. It should be revelatory of the speaker’s character, both directly and indirectly.

    7. It should show the relationships among people.

    Elizabeth Bowen

    Agree? Disagree?

    Does that list help you write dialogue? Does it help you edit?

    Related discussions: More about writing dialogue



    I would add that dialogue should be engaging, writers should strive to allow their characters to say things in original and fresh ways, by using subtext a writer can allow a character to say something without even saying it. That’s the sign of a good writer.

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