“Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

Who else but Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind could have said this memorable line?

Characters’ voices must be distinctive and not interchangeable with other characters. Readers must be able to identify who is speaking without needing to look at character headings. Always make every word count; sometimes less is more and the less said can prove more poignant.

Ten Top Tips to Writing Good Dialogue

1. Dialogue must clearly convey emotions, attitudes, strengths, vulnerabilities, goals, and so on, while revealing the details of your plot and advancing your narrative.

2. Every word of dialogue must be true to your character. Always consider your characters’ behaviors and motivations when they speak.

3. Consider silences and pauses your characters might use, or another character’s interruptions, to further convey tensions, actions, moods, and emotions.

4. In real life, most people do not always speak with flawless grammar in complete, formal sentences. Dialogue must not sound wooden or stilted.

5. To make your characters’ dialogue more identifiable consider using contractions, colloquialisms, slang, and so on, when true to your characters.

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