Subtext: Beyond the Mechanics of Dialogue


"Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die." ~The Princess Bride. Do you remember this bit of dialogue from “The Princess Bride”? Of course you do. Now, I want you to do something for me. Close your eyes and recall the scene. Summon it forth into your imagination and absorb all of the vivid details. Live it. Got that? Good. I'll explain why in a bit. Let's talk about dialogue. It is one of the most challenging aspects of writing a scene between two or more characters. Good dialogue is snappy and flows. It seldom sounds like actual speech, which is layered with 'ums' and 'ohs'. Wouldn't it be incredibly annoying if your characters fell into the repetitive use of words such as "like" the way real people are prone to do? Dialogue serves several functions, including defining the relationship between characters, advancing the plot, and building tension. Language quirks such as slang, accents, regional phrasing, and speech impediments influence what your character says and how she says it. If dialogue sounds natural, then the more dramatic speech tags such as "shouted" and "bragged" become repetitive and unnecessary.

Read the entire article in the April 2015 issue of InD'Tale magazine.

Subscriptions are free!

Just sign up on our home page. Once you do, an e-mail validation notice will be sent directly to you. Just open and click the link and you're in - forever!  Each month the magazine will be delivered directly to your inbox to downlad and read!

If you prefer reading the magazine from this website, you can just click on the magazine image on the left hand side of our home page to open and enjoy!