Good Dialogues on Fiction

By on June 18, 2013 . Category Book Genres

Dialogue is an indispensable tool for almost every fiction production. A text must have a strong purpose when the writer chooses to doesn’t use a dialogue to tell a story. That’s because this is the moment when you, the writer, brings to characters the opportunity to speak directly to the reader, without the narrator’s mediation. Note, the writer is donating voices to his characters and these voices must fit with the characteristics of each one.

According to Juliana Amato, writer of “Brevida” (Edith), there are thousands of ways to present a character, “but the dialogue, the speech, is probably the purest: the words came from the character’s mouth, not from the narrator’s mouth”. Juliana borrowed a phrase from her screenplay’s professor: “a dialogue is a good dialogue only when it moves the story forward”.

As important as a dialogue evidences, the writer might care about the purpose of it. Diego Schutt, in his article “Dialogues”, emphasizes the author’s power of choice: “the difference between narrative and dialogue is focused on how the writer desires the characters to be introduced to the reader”, and highlights the dialogue as a “credibility test” to the narrator. Note that this is a test to the narrator, not necessarily to the writer, duality that Schutt jests about: “the characters don’t have life until they talk”.

Ok, so, how to let them talk? “There isn’t a recipe, or specific tools on creation: quotation marks, em dashes, speeches inside the text without differentiation between what dialogue is and what the rest is. These kind of instruments concern to the style, and the individual style is exactly what will lend to the dialogue a shine”, explains Juliana.

She made a list where you can find amazing dialogues and get inspired:

- “The hour of the star” – Clarisse Lispector

- “O Monstro” – Sergio Sant’anna

- “O Natimorto” – Mutarelli

- “Hiroshima mon amour” – Marguerite Duras

- And everything you can find of Nelson Rodrigues

By Jr. Bellé 


  • frederick anderson

    My comment, I suppose. The gift of the great writer is the ability to make his characters live on the page; the gift of the great book is its capacity to entertain. This is a fact that escapes too many who see the book as a means to communicate their personal messages and opinions to the reader.

    In a fit of self-indulgence it is very easy to allow characters to become loud-hailers which either pin the reader back in his chair or send him to sleep. If a writer is sufficiently deeply immersed in his fictional character and not simply projecting a facet of his own character he avoids this danger. He knows his plumber is unlikely to have an in-depth opinion or to become involved in a profound discussion concerning the nature of being. He just would not talk like that.

    Listening to people in the street, hearing words spoken at parties where the atmosphere is artificial and the social mores ill-defined, shouted conversations on buses, warnings, threats, jokes, loving familiarity – these are the essence of dialogue. Yes, it moves the plot along – because it gives it substance, and because movement from state A to state B in the real world is usually initiated by conversation. But it does not theorize, it does not expound (all right, this does!) and it does not spill untidily into realms unexplored.

    In my humble whatsit the most superb examples of dialogue are to be found everywhere in Dickens. His message was never less than stark and clear, yet he kept theory firmly in the background and allowed his characters to speak for him without a trace of intellectual self-indulgence. Consequently his works were beacons that helped to change society.

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