Dialogue Advice

I’m kind of rusty in my old age and I haven’t written anything in years. I recently picked my book back up and have some viable ideas and have actually begun composing the opening chapters. However I’m having trouble incorporating dialogue into the narrative.

Any advice?

What’s the problem? Is it that you just don’t have dialogue to put in, it doesn’t flow well with the storytelling style, or you just aren’t sure about the syntax?

I know that this might sound weird, but try writing what you’re trying to accomplish in a short play (you don’t have to know the format, because you’re doing it for yourself). This is how I improved my dialogue, and all of my professors say that its my strongpoint, now.

We all have our own personal writing styles, but in case you find it useful, here’s mine:

I always write the dialogue LAST, after all the other parts of a chapter. Oh, I keep in mind a vague idea of what all the characters say, but I don’t write it down until I feel I know all the important details. Often I just write “placeholder” dialogue (very short and to point, often sounding quite unnatural and dull) to be later updated, taking in consideration the characters’ personalities, and what they know (or don’t) about the current situation they’re in. Also, keep dialogue simple; real people don’t usually go into extensive detail about stuff they already know (unless it fits their personality.) See YUGIOH as an example of how NOT to do naturally sounding dialogue:

Yugi’s opponent: “HAH! You’re doomed, Yugi! With this card that (goes into extensive detail about what the card does) I’ll defeat you next turn!!”
Yugi: “Oh, no! He used the card that (goes into extensive detail about what the card does)! But I’ve got a card that (goes into extensive detail about what the card does) will undo it!”
Yugi’s opponent: “Oh, no! He used a card that (goes into extensive detail about what the card does) undoing my card that (goes into extensive detail about what the card does)!!”
Wil: “Hey guys, we heard you the first time, would you please GET ON WITH THE STORY??”
Yugi: “Sorry, we’re just killing time to stretch the duel over several episodes because we’re adapting a storyline that isn’t finished in the Manga yet.”
Wil: !@#$ing Manga adaptations!!

Well, the problem is more that I’m getting tired of using the word “said”. I dunno, maybe I’m just not trying enough.

Hey there. Keep in mind that “said” is the most natural of them all. You may want to almost do away altogether with such verbs. And if it’s a dialogue just say once who says what. Their distinct style (and your tags after one stops talking) will be enough. Get your fave book and see how the writer does it for [STRIKE]inspiration[/STRIKE] a friendly theft. Once you get going things will probably be all right.

You don’t even have to introduce the speach with a word like said if it’s a long dialogue.