Writing dialogue can be a powerful way to bring characters to life and create an engaging story.
When done correctly, it can help make your writing come alive and draw readers into the world you’ve created. But how do you craft meaningful exchanges between two characters?
In this article, we’ll explore the elements of effective dialogue and provide tips on how to write believable conversations between two characters.
How Exactly Do You Write Dialogue Between Two Characters Well?
Make Sure You Place Your Characters Well Within Your Scene
When writing dialogue between multiple characters, it is important to place them clearly within the scene. This can help to make their interactions feel more vivid and engaging to readers.
For example, when composing a tense exchange between three people in a kitchen, one character could be seated in the middle of an activity such as chopping onions. Meanwhile, the other two could be standing near the sink.
Adding descriptive elements such as these helps to set up the visual environment, giving readers a better sense of who is speaking and how they are positioned relative to one another.
Additionally, things like one character’s facial expression or actions can give even more insight into each individual character’s state of mind.
Placing characters clearly within your scene, where appropriate, helps bring out their dynamic personalities and interactions, making your story that much more impactful.
Practice Dialogue That Does Not Include Closeups
In film and television, close-ups of characters in the dialogue are a common visual tool used to convey emotion. During an emotionally charged exchange, or when funny lines are spoken, the camera might zoom in on the speaker’s face.
With the close-up technique, viewers can gain a deeper insight into the characters’ mental states and emotions.
Writing dialogue from books lacks the use of facial close-ups in order to communicate the emotion or importance of a particular line.
Although character description works well for achieving similar effects to what is seen in TV/film mediums, it must be done sparingly.
Close-ups are useful for describing a scene’s dynamic between more than two characters, but too much detail could dwindle away your story’s credibility and take away from its realistic tone.
Thus, it is essential to keep facial descriptions concise while still driving home each character’s emotional response within their interaction with other characters during a conversation.
Give Your Characters Distinctive Voices
Giving characters a distinctive voice is an essential part of writing dialogue, particularly in stage and visual media, which have dedicated actors who can convey the traits and emotions of respective characters just through their own physical characteristics.
In literature, however, character voice effectively requires words and dialogue to accurately express each character distinctively from one another.
It’s therefore important for authors to consider the personality, habits, and traits of each character when constructing lines of dialogue that have a truly unique blend of language befitting its source – allowing readers to easily differentiate between different individuals in a story through their individual voices.
A lot can come into play such as diction (the choice of words used), narrative style (descriptive or austere), or even the rate of speed by which they talk (fast-paced stuttering or slow but meaningful).
Readers must get an accurate sense that they’re reading lines from totally different characters, without having visual cues on any of them.
An author’s language should paint a vivid image combined with subtle details that convey how each character appears and what he/she will say next – helping readers develop a mental view of the world these characters inhabit.
Make Use Of Dialogue Tags In The Correct Places
Dialogue tags actually are an efficient way of clarifying which character is speaking, allowing for simpler and more intuitive conversations between multiple characters.
However, overusing them can be detrimental to a narrative – it’s all too easy for the reader to become aware of the presence of the author.
Without them, we would only have an ambiguous conversation that could lead to confusion. With them, however, we get a glimpse into each character’s personality.
Using dialogue tags correctly can effectively enhance and clarify conversations between characters.
What Are Some Great Tips To Keep In Mind When Writing Dialogue For Two Characters?
1. Make Dialogue Sound Natural
To create believable conversations between two characters, it’s important to make the dialogue sound like something that could actually be said in real life.
This means avoiding overly formal language and using words and phrases that your characters would naturally use. In addition, you should also consider what each character’s individual speech patterns are – do they talk quickly, slowly, or somewhere in between?
How do they pronounce certain words? All of these details can help make the dialogue sound more natural.
2. Use Subtext To Add Depth
Subtext is the underlying meaning behind what characters say, and it can be a powerful tool for adding depth and nuance to conversations.
For example, if one character says something that appears to be nice on the surface, but has an underlying meaning of sarcasm or resentment, it can make the dialogue more interesting and dynamic.
3. Show, Don’t Tell
When writing dialogue between two characters, it’s important to show their personalities and emotions through their words instead of telling the reader what’s going on. Instead of saying “He was angry,” try to write a dialogue that conveys his anger.
4. Vary Sentence Length And Structure
To make dialogue more interesting, try to vary the length and structure of sentences. This could mean using shorter sentences for quick back-and-forth conversations or longer, more descriptive sentences for emotional scenes.
Writing dialogue between two characters can be a challenging but rewarding task. By keeping these tips in mind, you can create conversations that are believable and dynamic, and help bring your story to life.
It is important to give each character a unique voice in order to make the dialogue more interesting and believable. Consider how each character speaks – do they have a specific accent, dialect, or set of terms that they use?