Crafting compelling dialogue is an essential skill for any novelist. It breathes life into your characters, moves the plot forward, and keeps your readers engaged. But for many, writing dialogue can be a daunting task.
In this article, we’ll introduce you to 5 easy ways to write dialogue for a novel, complete with examples and a handy template to guide you on your writing journey.
By the end of this post, you’ll be equipped with the tools and techniques to create natural, engaging dialogue and make your story come alive. Let’s dive right in!
Are you a writer aspiring to pen a masterpiece that never fails to captivate? Look no further. Reach out to us and uncover how we can help you to take your writing to unprecedented heights!
How To Write Dialogue for A Book
1. Reveal Secrets and Build Suspense
Imagine we’re writing a mystery novel. Our protagonist, Sarah, overhears a conversation between two shady characters, Mr. Black and Mr. White, in a dimly lit alley:
Mr. Black: “The package will arrive tomorrow. Make sure everything goes smoothly.”
Mr. White: “Don’t worry. No one will suspect a thing.”
This snippet of dialogue introduces a mysterious “package” and hints at a secretive plan. It piques our curiosity and creates suspense. And it makes us wonder what Sarah will do with this newfound information.
2. Showcase Character Dynamics
Let’s consider a story about two best friends, Tom and Jerry (not the cat and mouse!). Their friendship is characterized by witty banter and playful teasing. Here’s an example:
Tom: “You know, Jerry, if being late were an Olympic sport, you’d have a gold medal.”
Jerry: “Well, Tom, if sarcasm were an Olympic sport, you’d be a world champion.”
The lighthearted back-and-forth not only entertains us but also showcases their close friendship. This gives us great insight into their relationship.
3. Create Emotional Depth
Dialogue can also tug at our heartstrings, evoking strong emotions. Let’s imagine a scene where Mary confesses her love to John, who is about to leave for war:
Mary: “John, I can’t let you go without telling you… I love you.”
John: “Mary, I’ve loved you since the moment we met. Promise me you’ll wait for me.”
This exchange reveals the depth of their feelings and heightens the emotional stakes of John’s departure. We’re now invested in their relationship and eager to know if they’ll be reunited.
4. Foreshadow Events
In a science fiction novel, our protagonist, Dr. Adams, speaks with his colleague, Dr. Miller, about their groundbreaking experiment:
Dr. Adams: “I can’t shake this feeling that we’re playing with fire, Miller.”
Dr. Miller: “Nonsense, Adams. What could possibly go wrong?”
Dr. Miller’s dismissive response, combined with Dr. Adams’ foreboding tone, suggests that something might indeed go wrong. This foreshadows potential disaster and engages the reader’s curiosity.
5. Use Dialogue as a Plot Twist
Imagine a thriller where our detective, Lucy, confronts the suspected killer, Mr. Green:
Lucy: “I know you killed her, Mr. Green. The evidence is all there.”
Mr. Green (smirking): “Oh, Detective, you’re so close, but you’ve missed one crucial detail. I have an identical twin.”
This unexpected revelation not only surprises us but also adds a new layer of complexity to the story. We’re left wondering how this twist will impact Lucy’s investigation and whether she’ll catch the real killer.
In summary, you can use dialogue as a versatile and powerful tool for crafting your story in many ways. Dialogue can create suspense, reveal character dynamics, evoke emotions, foreshadow events, and even serve as a plot twist.
Next, we’ll take a look at a handy template I’ve curated for you to easily write dialogue for your own story. This works best for mystery novels, anyway.
Craft Your Story with Dialogue: A Template
Title: [Your Story Title]
Introduction: Introduce your characters and setting, providing essential background information to set the stage for your story.
Dialogue Element 1: Reveal Secrets and Building Suspense Incorporate a conversation between characters that introduces a secret or builds suspense. Make sure the dialogue is intriguing and relevant to the plot.
[Character 1]: “[Suspenseful statement or question]”
[Character 2]: “[Response that adds intrigue or secrecy]”
Dialogue Element 2: Showcase Character Dynamics Include dialogue that highlights the relationship between characters, demonstrating their unique dynamics and interactions.
[Character 1]: “[Witty or playful remark]”
[Character 2]: “[Amusing response or retort]”
Dialogue Element 3: Create Emotional Depth Craft a conversation that evokes strong emotions, deepening the reader’s connection to the characters and their experiences.
[Character 1]: “[Emotional confession or statement]”
[Character 2]: “[Heartfelt response or declaration]”
Dialogue Element 4: Foreshadow Events Introduce dialogue that hints at upcoming events or potential conflicts, engaging the reader’s curiosity and anticipation.
[Character 1]: “[Statement expressing concern or doubt]”
[Character 2]: “[Dismissive or confident response]”
Dialogue Element 5: Use Dialogue as a Plot Twist Incorporate a conversation that reveals an unexpected twist, adding a new layer of complexity to the story and surprising the reader.
[Character 1]: “[Accusation or confrontation]”
[Character 2]: “[Revelation that serves as a plot twist]”
Key Takeaway: Wrap up your story, resolving conflicts and addressing the consequences of the events that unfolded throughout the narrative. Consider how the dialogue you’ve used has affected the story, characters, and reader, and ensure that your ending leaves a lasting impact.
Story Example: Based On Template [Expo!]
Story Title: The Enigma of Crescent Bay [Mystery]
Let’s use the above template to construct dialogue for a fictitious mystery story [just came up with this while writing this post!].
Introduce your main characters, Elizabeth and James, two amateur sleuths who have stumbled upon a mysterious disappearance in the small coastal town of Crescent Bay. Describe the town’s charming and secretive atmosphere, setting the stage for the story.
Dialogue Element 1: Reveal Secrets and Building Suspense.
Incorporate a conversation between the two main characters that introduces a secret about the town.
Elizabeth: “James, I found something odd in the town’s archives. There’s a pattern of disappearances every ten years.”
James: “That can’t be a coincidence, can it? We need to dig deeper.”
2. Dialogue Element 2: Showcase Character Dynamics.
Include dialogue that highlights the relationship between Elizabeth and James. It could also demonstrate their teamwork and camaraderie.
Elizabeth: “I knew we’d make a great team, James. You’re the logic to my intuition.”
James: “And you’re the courage to my caution. We’re quite the dynamic duo, aren’t we?”
3. Dialogue Element 3: Create Emotional Depth.
Craft a conversation that evokes strong emotions as Elizabeth shares her personal connection to the town.
Elizabeth: “James, I need to tell you something. My grandmother disappeared in Crescent Bay thirty years ago.”
James: “Elizabeth, I’m so sorry. We’ll do everything we can to find out what happened.”
4. Dialogue Element 4: Foreshadow Events.
Introduce dialogue that hints at upcoming events or potential conflicts.
Elizabeth: “We’re getting closer to the truth, but I can’t shake the feeling we’re being watched.”
James: “We must tread carefully, Elizabeth. There’s no telling what we might uncover.”
5. Dialogue Element 5: Use Dialogue as a Plot Twist.
Incorporate a conversation that reveals an unexpected twist involving a local resident, Mr. Grey.
Elizabeth: “Mr. Grey, we discovered your secret. You were there when each person disappeared!”
Mr. Grey: “You’re right, but I’m not the villain. I’ve been trying to protect the town from an ancient curse.”
Wrap up your story by resolving the mystery of the disappearances, revealing the true nature of the ancient curse, and having Elizabeth and James save the town of Crescent Bay. Consider how the dialogue you’ve used has affected the story, characters, and reader, and ensure that your ending leaves a lasting impact and a sense of closure.
With the above template, you can create a captivating mystery story that uses dialogue to enhance plot development, showcase character dynamics, evoke emotions, foreshadow events, and introduce plot twists.