3 Common Mistakes with Dialogue (and an extra exercise!)

Good morning Christian Writers! I’m coming to you today from a slightly less windy London than it was last night. Well that was quite a weekend – wind and rain in abundance, and even a clap of thunder or two. How was the weather with you? I believe it was a lot worse in some places of the UK than here.

I already had these three common mistakes with dialogue prepared to post today, but here’s an extra thought . . . if it was stormy with you over the weekend (or next time it is stormy where you are), why not write a scene about it? If you write while it’s still fresh in your mind, and you still have damage to deal with, you will write with that raw emotion that touches readers. Please do send me your scenes, I’d love to read them!

And now back to the subject I had planned for you: three common mistakes new writers make with dialogue, and how you can deal with them.


Issue 1: Speeches that are too wordy.

Remedy: This is a very common mistake. Remove every word, phrase and sentence you don’t need. It’s hard to ditch a carefully worded phrase you have spent a lot of time on, but if it’s not needed, cut it.

Issue 2: Use of clichés.

Remedy: As with all creative writing, you need to avoid clichés in dialogue, unless this is part of one particular character’s way of talking. Then keep to clichés with that one person. Be creative instead!

Issue 3: Using speech as narrative.

Remedy: You should not use dialogue to impart information to your readers. For example: “You know we’re going to the Houses of Parliament this evening?” “Yes, we’re going to meet the Prime Minister.” It’s obvious that this speech is forced; you need to find a better way of introducing information to your readers.

Was that helpful? I hope so! Please do let me know, and pass on to your friends. I actually took this from the monthly membership teaching this month – if you’d like to take a much deeper look at dialogue in writing for children and young people (2,800 words instead of 160!), last call to come and join us here.

Janet Wilson, founder of Dernier Publishing and Write for a Reason
Janet Wilson, founder of Dernier Publishing and Write for a Reason

Look forward to hearing from you!


3 Common Mistakes with Dialogue
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