OngoingWorlds blog

News & articles about play-by-post games, for roleplayers & writers


Reggie’s Writing Tips: # 31 – 40 (Dialogue)

writingThis article was written by Reggie from Cathedral: The Thieves GuildYou can read tips #1-10 here, and tips #11-20 here.

Ten tips for writing dialogue. The first two tips I found on the internet that I think is really helpful. Hope it helps!

Tip #31: Good dialogue comtains 3 elements

  1. Must say maximum in few words
  2. Each exchange of dialogue must turn the beats of the scene in one direction or another across the changing behaviors , without repetition.
  3. Each line or exchange of dialogue executes a step in design that builds and arcs the scene around its turning point. (More on this in later posts).

Tip # 32: “Speak as common people do, but think as wise men do.”

Tip # 33: Check dialogue for repetition of premise. Ex: “You look great. I can’t believe how good you look! You’re beautiful!” Reduce it and edit it!

Tip #34: Avoid characters talking out loud to themselves. It’s a cheat and a little cheesy.

Tip # 35: Try not to monologue backstory. It may be difficult to do in post-by-post games but it is better to imply with dialogue hints, behavior clues, and/or meaningful objects. There are very few exceptions however… (Read next tip)

Tip #36: It’s O.K. to be direct every once in a while. Clearly articulating what a character needs is not the same as being on the nose.

Tip #37: Don’t chase teen “lingo.” It’ll sound false and over time will be inaccurate. Instead, create a youthful voice by committing to an emotion. Brash, shy, angry, etc.

Tip #38: One word, placed on one line, can have so much…power.

Tip # 39: Need to edit? Cut “gatekeeper” scenes where someone asks, “you have an appointment?” or states “the doctor will see you right now.”

Tip #40: Insider tip from a screenwriter: “Script articulates message and theme with character choices and actions. It is not necessary to overstate with monologues or heavy symbolism.”

My next post will go deeper into the methodology of plot structure, character arcs, and learning the three “Acts”.

This article was written by Reggie Shelton. You can read all of Reggie’s writing tips here.