Let’s talk a little about dialogue today. The use of dialogue is a great place to add a bit of character to your characters, 🙂 provide interactions, and even impart a little information. However, one can go overboard and end up with a stilted conversation.
First things first, dialogue is NOT a substitute place for narrative back story. Repeat with me: It IS NOT a substitute place for narrative back story! By this I mean, if the back story is too blah for narrative, don’t try to jazzy it up by making it into dialogue instead.
So many ways to do this, we’ll just focus one type right now. A personal favorite irritation of mine is using the Villain to let the reader in on the plan. Let’s look at an example:
“Against the wall,” Jack said, waving his gun toward the dirty building.
Out of options, I did as I was told, but stopping short of brushing against it. No way I was ruining my white leather pantsuit; I’d already lost one this week.
Jack nodded his head with a self-satisfied smirk. “It was all part of my diabolical plan. And you fell right into it.”
I shook my head. If the gun were in my hand, the guy would be dead by now. But knowing Jack, he couldn’t end this without telling someone how much he rocked. Pathetic egomaniac, it’d be his downfall.
“The open car door? I left it, knowing your friend would get in. The keys in the ignition? I knew she couldn’t resist cranking the engine.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah.” I couldn’t help rolling my eyes.
“I watched from that building over there.” He nodded to the used car dealer across the street. “The explosion was magnificent. Oh…but you knew that, didn’t you? Cause you were there too!” The idiot cackled madly.
I waited until his laughter quieted. “Done?”
Jack hiccuped one last chuckle, then cleared his throat. “Now it’s your turn. First I’m going to…”
Come on. Who does that?
There IS a better way. Share with us some methods you use instead of silly dialogue dumps given by the villain.