I don't know about you but when I read any kind of novel I flock to the dialogue. It intrigues me to see how the author weaved his words in writing. There are many different ways you can make your characters speak. Since I tend to write contemporary style, my characters speak informally, almost with a slang. Though, it's very interesting how you can mess with your characters in various ways. You have the power to stir them in any direction. With the words that you choose you can make them do anything you want. The bottom line is what you think is the way your characters will move. Perhaps you want them to yell, well make them do just that. Or maybe the story has hit a deep point, a point where tears seem the most appropriate. Make them cry. I know this probably sounds ridiculous, but one of my favorite things to do with my characters is make them cry. It's amazing how you can make them cry without saying it. You don't have to say, "She cried." Instead say, "Tears fell down her cheeks, leaving wet streaks along the way." This is just one example out of many. So, before I get into the meat of this article I think it's important if I note one very, VERY, important rule. You'll hear this rule over and over again and eventually will get tired of it that you may want to shout, "I know!!!!!" but believe me, it's a VERY important rule.
Show, don't tell.
Easy, right? I mean, there are just three words in that sentence and you know what each of the words mean so what's the big deal? Ha, believe me, this can be the trickiest rule ever. There are so many times where you'll catch yourself saying the action instead of writing the action. You'll captivate the reader's interest more by showing it. If you go on and say, "Brit was mad." Okay, we know he was mad, but how mad? Aha, show, don't tell. Try imaging this. "Brit's eyes narrowed, he clenched his fists and took long and steady breaths." You now know what he did and how he felt. He wasn't only mad, he was profusely angry, upset. Make your characters come to live. This is a fun aspect of writing. You need to have fun with it, don't let it pull you down and literally make you pull your hair out. Explore with this. Get to know your characters. This is an important aspect. You cannot write a story if you don't know your character(s). Know how they feel, what they're thinking, what irritates them, what makes them happy, and what're their fears. Understand your characters in and out. Be interested. If you aren't moved as an author, your reader won't be moved. If you didn't laugh, your reader won't laugh. And if you didn't cry, your reader won't cry. You need to build that connection with your writing.
I know I say this often, but allow your thoughts to spill through your words. If you have an overly emotional character, show it through her words. Describe how she's feeling when she talks. Dialogue is important and it shouldn't be abused. Use every word wisely, making it count. And I know this is a lot of information to digest, but let me make one more point. Don't be too descriptive. It's so easy to get flowery and into your words that eventually it sounds too wordy. Cut. Chop. Kill the one too many adjectives. Be selective, but most importantly, be creative. Dialogue is fun to write. Write as though you are speaking. Readers like it when you're natural and realistic. Relate to them, you'll gain a wider audience that way.
Dialogue. Speak. Show. Entertain. Don't tell me, show me what happened. Make it exciting, so exciting that I can't stop reading.