Dragon on a chalkboard with stick figure heroes. One hero says, "I wish I had something clever to say right now." The others say nothing.

This is part 7 in a nine part series on showing instead of telling.

Read Show, Don’t Tell—Part 1

Read Show, Don’t Tell—Part 2

Read Show, Don’t Tell—Part 3

Read Show, Don’t Tell—Part 4

Read Show, Don’t Tell—Part 5

Read Show, Don’t Tell—Part 6

Read Show, Don’t Tell—Part 7

Currently reading Part 8

 

Show, don’t tell Tip #7: Use more dialogue

Use more dialogue.

 

That’s it.

 

Just use more dialogue.

 

I could stop right there, but let’s unpack that a little more.

 

Have you ever been stuck writing? Maybe you are on page 1 of a 3 page assignment? If it’s an essay you’re writing, this may not be the post for you, but if it’s a creative writing piece, I bet dialogue is your problem.

 

A lot of times we write descriptions of characters and setting and totally forget that people like to talk—A LOT.

 

So, make your characters talk.

 

Dialogue gives your characters a more realistic feeling, it helps you understand more about their motivations, and it does a lot of the storytelling for you.

 

Here’s a common paragraph you might see in a piece of writing that tells instead of shows:

Sir Richard went through the swamp and found the dragon. The princess, however, wanted to keep the dragon for a pet because she thought it was cute. This made Sir Richard mad. He wanted to kill the dragon because it kept burning down the town and killing all the knights. The princess said she wanted to keep the dragon to entertain guests at parties, but Sir Richard thought that was a bad idea because dragons can’t be tamed.

 

Do you see where we could add the dialogue? Why not just make the princess and Sir Richard argue back and forth. Make it interesting.

Try it out!

In fact, why don’t you try it out yourself. Rewrite the above passage with interesting dialogue.

 

Read More

Read Show, Don’t Tell—Part 1

Read Show, Don’t Tell—Part 2

Read Show, Don’t Tell—Part 3

Read Show, Don’t Tell—Part 4

Read Show, Don’t Tell—Part 5

Read Show, Don’t Tell—Part 6

Read Show, Don’t Tell—Part 7

Currently reading Part 8