Wednesday, 11 June 2014
Every line of dialogue in fiction should:
1. Convey essential information.
2. Move the tale forward.
3. Reveal the character and mood of the speaker.
5. Establish the relationship between characters.
6. It should be consistent with the character's historical period, geographical origins and social class.
I write historical fiction so I use dialogue to indicate class distinctions. The upper class use very few contractions -mostly don't to avoid the cumbersome do you not, the middle class use some contractions and the others always use contractions and, sometimes, dialect. However, dialect shouldn't be overdone. I've critiqued several unpublished novels for members of groups I belong to and the worst fictional dialect is a pseudo Scots one. The authors are addicted to ye, dinna, etc, and they don't distinguish between Highland and Lowland Scots and everything else in between.
These basic principles are so simple but sometimes my characters waffle on and need to be controlled.