Nerd for Hire


Dialogue is a powerful tool. It gives your readers a chance to hear the characters speaking, efficiently revealing aspects of their personality and inter-personal relationships that are difficult to show in narrative.

Something you quickly learn if you read and write fiction, though: realistic dialogue isn’t easy to write, and even great writers sometimes get it wrong. If you’re looking for ways to enhance your dialogue, here are some tips that can help.

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I’ve been reading novels in Spanish for about a year—successfully, at least. One of my main motivations to become fluent was so I could read Marquez in Spanish, and as a chronically impatient human, I made an aborted attempt at Cien años de solidad a few years ago, well before I had the skills to navigate it. I had to stop multiple times every sentence to look up words I didn’t know, making it impossible to just sink into the story; I set it aside after about a page.

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In the simplest terms, point of view can be defined as the perspective through which a story is being told. A story’s POV identifies three things:

  1. Who is telling the story

  2. The relationship between the narrator and main character

  3. The distance between the characters and readers

Those things are all critical to how a story comes across to the reader, and shifting the POV—even if it’s just from one 3rd-person close narrator to a different one—can have a huge impact on how the reader interprets the story (and how much they enjoy reading it).

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