Friday, 7 August 2009


I'm sure I'll post many blogs on dialog over the course of the years. It's a problem for many writers, including me.

I hate dialog where the characters speak to me rather than the other characters. Dialog is not the place to convey backstory and information the characters already know.

For example:

"Hi, Jane, what are you carrying?"

"Hello, Martha, I went to Johnson's grocery story on Fourth Street, near your house, and bought groceries. You know the place... your brother got shot in that store with a revolver five years ago, during a robbery. Remember?"

"Oh yes I remember, I went into a deep depression and had to be hospitalized for three years. They preformed shock therapy, did you know? I never thought I would make it out alive. I petitioned to the government to stop such treatment for a year and had no response."

"I helped you with that. We worked long hours, late at night to prepare signs and petitions. I hate the Republicans, they are a bunch of crooks. In 1964, the started a war that I felt never needed to be fought."

This is all made-up dialog. Nothing happened in 1964, to my knowledge. I just wanted to make a point. DON'T tell the reader information that the characters already know. It doesn't sound natural.