Let The Characters Do The Talking


Word choice in dialogue will always define characters, and sometimes may do so against the author’s will. The man who calls it a “cunt” is not the same man who calls it a “kitty”. Now think about the women who make the same references. They’re pretty different, aren’t they? If the person defined in the narrative doesn’t match the one defined by dialogue, the story can lose credibility. Readers just won’t believe your fifty-year-old maiden aunt with six cats would really scream “More cocks, I need more cocks.”, while suspended from the ceiling by surgical tubing during her weekly gang-bang.

While we’re on this subject, think twice and thrice about all those adjectives. Do real people ever really say, “Jam that big, hot, throbbin’ cock in my teeny, tiny, tight little bung-hole and shoot me full of your hot, sticky jizz.”? It’s never happened to me, but then, perhaps I’ve lived a sheltered life.

We won’t even talk about imaginative euphemisms like “man meat”, “fuck tunnel”, “pud pudding”, and the ever-popular “Hershey highway”. “Hershey highway”? Come on, now. Really?

7. Examination time. (No, not that kind of examination. Put away those latex gloves and that shiny spreader thing.)

As with all writing, the ultimate test of dialogue is in the reading. Let the story sit for a week or so. This allows the mind to forget exactly what has been written so actual reading is required. Read the narration silently and the dialogue aloud. Although most readers won’t actually give voice to the dialogue, this is how they will “hear” the story. It is more fun for anyone within hearing distance, but not necessary, to vary the pitch of one’s voice to mimic gender and mood. Watch for one or more of the seven warning signs of dialogue disaster. For the uninitiated, these signs are listed below.

1. Uncontrollable giggling or the spewing of any beverage from one’s nose.

2. Any exclamation or thought along the lines of, “What was I smokin’ when I wrote, ‘Oooooohhhhh, Goddddddd, now!!!!!! Fill my incredibly hot, dripping, wildly-pulsating spunk sump with all your thick, gooey, white, creamy, guy gravy’?”

3. The realization that the nymphomaniac hooker with really big tits sounds just like a prominent US Senator.

4. The realization that the prominent US Senator sounds just like a nymphomaniac hooker with really big tits.

5. Finding a word containing so many apostrophes it appears to have been attacked by a whole band of cute little female ninjas who all have a really serious case of PMS.

6. Difficulty in remembering how “zshurlilcoochywetnotyet” is supposed to sound when lovingly whispered by the cigar-smoking, blonde, bike-dyke from Lickskillet, Louisiana.

7. An uncomfortable feeling that a statement is out of character for the speaker. It’s easy to introduce one personality at the beginning of a story, and then “bend” the character to say what the author wants a reader to hear. If a slut is desired at the end of a story, she needs to either start out as such or have a personality-altering experience somewhere along the way. This is why the story should sit for a while. The author needs to develop an overall impression of each character as he or she was written.

Writing dialogue is much simpler than many authors believe. When writing a particular scene, most of us know what we want to happen and how the scene will unfold. We have a feel for what the characters would say, but rather than write that, we try to explain the events with narration. Sometimes, that explanation requires further narration just to make it understandable. Next time, try letting the characters do more of the talking. They’re more than willing if you’ll just give them a chance.

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by Anonymous02/08/18


I'm not an author (though well educated -- 8 years past high school), just interested in the subject. Read little ways -- enough to see was good, very good.
Just want to reinforce importance of subject.more...

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