Talking is a martial art, or, how to write dialogue that doesn’t suck

Grumbly Quill

Last week Tim Leach, Author of the historical novel ‘The Last King of Lydia’, shared his thoroughly fascinating understanding of dialogue on Reddit.

“Dialogue seems to be one of the areas where developing writers consistently struggle, even if they are strong in other aspects of the craft, and I see it mentioned quite regularly on the sub.

I’m a professional author and I write pretty talky books, and so thought I’d share a few principles I try to keep in mind when writing dialogue.

Give dialogue its due

In my novels, I treat dialogue scenes like a kung fu film maker treats his fight scenes – with the greatest craft and care, because I know that they are the main reason my reader has come along for the ride. Not to hear me lecture on my brilliant personal philosophy, or write purple prose descriptions of faraway lands. More than anything…

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