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5 Tips for Writing Engaging Dialogue as a Self-Publishing Author

Dialogue is an integral part of storytelling. Dialogue can be used to give readers important setting information, explore characters, and move the plot forward. Here are five tips to help self-publishing authors get the dialogue right.

1. Portion Dialogue Correctly

No reader wants to listen to a character give a multipage speech to another character. Similarly, most readers prefer action and description mixed with dialogue and not long segments of characters volleying words back and forth.

Dialogue is an important storytelling device, but like all good things, it needs to be used in the right amounts. Just as too much salt can ruin a good meal, so too can excessive dialogue tank the momentum of a story.

2. Use Dialogue Tags

In self-publishing circles, there is a huge debate about whether it is better always to use said or whether dialogue tags should be switched up. While the jury may still be out on that particular debate, it is clear that some form of dialogue tags should be used often enough for readers to know who is speaking.

In an intense back-and-forth between characters, it can be easy to forget whose turn it is to speak.

If there are more than two speakers in a scene, then every line of dialogue should be accompanied by a dialogue tag so that readers know who the speaker is. If there are only two people in a scene, it is acceptable to go a few lines between tags, but the self-publishing author must make sure not to confuse the reader with dialogue tags that are too widely spaced.

A group of friends talking at the table, signifying a dialogue scene written by a self-publishing author

3. Don’t Add Fillers

When a self-publishing author observes two or more people talking, they may notice that real people tend to have filler words, and they also tend to repeat points. Self-publishing authors should make dialogue cleaner than typical human speech by eliminating filler words such as um, like, etc. Similarly, self-publishing authors should aim for clear and concise dialogue instead of imitating the roundabout use of language as seen in the wild.

4. Avoid ‘As You Know’ Discussions in Dialogue

Self-publishing authors often use dialogue to relay information to readers, but they shouldn’t have characters talking about things they already both should know for the reader’s sake. Character dialogue should feel like two people talking to each other. Readers will realize if the self-publishing author is spoon-feeding them information via character dialogue.

5. Use Accents Sparingly

Some self-publishing authors like to add a flair to their characters by giving them an accent, which can make it difficult for readers to understand what is being said.

Self-publishing authors should always consider the ease of reading and limit anything that makes the reader work hard to consume their story.

Great dialogue can bring characters to life for the reader and enhance their reading experience.

Once your dialogue is perfected and your manuscript completed, InstantPublisher can help you publish your book. We offer a variety of book publishing services, from custom book covers to book printing and binding. Visit our website today to learn more.

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