Faber Session 9 – Dialogue

Ok, well coffee and cake was enjoyed at The British Museum last night. Lemon drizzle which was rather nice. So I sat for an hour, reading my book, nursing a latte and looking at this view πŸ™‚


Tonight’s class was all about dialogue…some of my notes:

Limit speech tags to the minimum.

Pinter went on bus rides and recorded conversations.

It has to serve a purpose: move the plot along, raise a question or show something about the character.

What isn’t said is very important. Use silence and remember its often what’s not said that gives more away.

Give your characters verbal ticks to make them more realistic.

Remember to use body language. A character could be saying one thing verbally, but their body language saying the complete opposite.

We then had to do 3 exercises (writing dialogue) which were very interesting, and bloody hard! Lol

It’s funny because Stephen King said that dialogue is written best by writers who enjoy talking and listening to others. Do you agree? Do you enjoy writing dialogue? It seems to be something writers either love or hate!

Will post tomorrow about my critique when I’ve recovered and had chance to absorb it all lol. I’m off to a Spa Day today πŸ™‚

26 thoughts on “Faber Session 9 – Dialogue

  1. I’m extra heavy on dialogue when I’m getting fatigued. I know it’s time to stop writing when I start info dumping through lazy dialogue.

    You know who’s the all-time queen of dialogue, IMO? Judy Blume. Really. Even (and especially) her books for adults. SMART WOMEN is my favorite.


      • It totally depends on the story. I have written short stories where there is no dialogue whatsoever (and they can’t be that bad because they’ve won awards). Sometimes a lot of dialogue can really enhance a story and other times it just gets in the way. It can also be a good way to tell the reader things when you don’t have any opening to get something across. When you think about people having conversations at dinner (for example) someone might say something that tweaks your interest and you want to know more. When you read a book it’s the same πŸ˜‰


      • Thanks Dianne πŸ™‚

        I love hearing different opinions. I was once told by a writing tutor that there should be at least 40% of dialogue and that publishers like “white space” but I’m with you, there needs to be a reason for the dialogue.



  2. I don’t know if I enjoy it. It’s something I do because the characters speaking all in body language seems tedious. More and more I’m starting to believe I don’t know what I’m doing when it comes to the rules of writing. I’m not sure I’m even doing dialogue correctly.


  3. I agree with King … I am a compulsive conversationalist and also love to sit and listen as well. You will find that those of us who love to talk, also love to listen. I roamed the subways of NYC, sat at luncheon counters, and when I need more people contact, I often roam the shops. Some of my best dialogue and characters have been collected by people watching and listening. It’s like collecting gems and rare treasure … that moment when a total stranger becomes a character in a story πŸ™‚


    • I found his theory really interesting, because, like you Florence, I like nothing more than a good old natter, but I also like to listen and just find people in general interesting. So by rights, I should be EXCELLENT at dialogue πŸ˜‰

      It was suggested in class that we sit at coffee shops and record people with our mobiles….I may have to try that one πŸ˜‰



  4. Pingback: Dialogues, Elegant Dialogues – Instalment 2 of the Dialogues mini series | ofglassandbooks

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