How to Dialogue

Learning the basics of dialogue with Ethan Greiner

The things you need to be able to identify

There are two things you need to be able to identify in order to write successful dialogue as a writer. Those things are the dialogue itself. The other thing you need to identify will be the dialogue tag.


What is dialogue?

Dialogue is a conversation that happens between two or more people.


What is a dialogue tag?

Examples of dialogue tag are he said, she said, etc.


Both of these are two very important things you need to be able to identify in order to write dialogue. So, let's get on with it!

Knowing the basic rules

Joyce said, "I like the color red."


- Things to note -


  • You want to put a comma before the quotation statement.
  • You want a capital letter to start your quotation.
  • You will want a period to end the sentence.
  • You will want to close the quotation mark to establish the end of the dialogue.

Doing a switch-er-oo

"I like the color red," said Joyce.


- Things to note -

(Some of these will be repetitive, so don't forget it yo'!)

  • You will want a comma inside the quotation and a period at the end of the sentence.
  • You want to capitalize the beginning of the quotation

Getting real tricky

"You know what I like," said Joyce, "the color red."


- Things to note -

(WOW, I know this is a tough one....so just stick with it friend!)

  • Remember you always want to end quotations that don't end the sentence with a comma.
  • Also, don't forget that dialogue tags that don't end the sentence also need a comma after them.
  • Also, note that the beginning of the second part of the dialogue is not capitalized, because it is all one thought or sentence.

Having a lot of dialogue from one person

"I like the color red," said Joyce. "Although, blue is pretty cool too!"


- Things to note -

  • Look at the second part of the dialogue, it is capitalized because it is starting a new sentence.
  • You want to keep in mind the commas and the periods and where they need to go.
  • Make note of how after the dialogue tag you put a period instead of a comma to start a new sentence within your dialogue.

Dialogue between two characters

"I like the color red," said Joyce.

"Yeah," Sam said, "it's not a bad color."

"Although, blue is a pretty cool color too!" said Joyce.


- Things to note -

  • You want to note the fact that each persons dialogue starts a new paragraph, but when the same person is continuing dialogue it can stay in the same paragraph.
  • You want to keep in mind all of the rules we learned above.

GOOD JOB!

You've learned all of the basic rules of dialogue.

Now, you may want to add your own flare to how you write dialogue. For example not all characters just talk all of the time. Some characters might be yelling, so it would be more appropriate to use yelled appose to said.