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Creating good dialogue

Emma_Clare at 12:00AM, April 23, 2021

Creating believable and engaging dialogue is key when creating a story. It’s not only used to convey important plot information, but also emotions, motivations and rapport amongst the cast.

Dialog can be an effective way to convey information or raise conflict that maintains the momentum of the comic. The primary goal is to have characters progress to the climax of the story whilst gaining enough knowledge and/or tools to address it and bring it all to a satisfying conclusion.

Even a chat about the weather can be used to convey this.

For instance:

Character A: “To think even bones could freeze. And yet it is only fall,”

Character B: “I do not wish to imagine what the next few months have in store for us. Come, let us walk in what little sun there is left. The citadel is not far,”

In two lines not only have the characters begun moving towards their destination, but have als revealed the time of year, their current location, the time of day and the current temperature. You get a sense there is a friendship there, as Character B takes note of how Character A is feeling, steering them towards warmth as well as hinting at their personalities. With comics, we have the added benefit of punctuating scenes like with visuals so also keep that in mind.

Dialogue can reveal details and communicate how character’s feel.

Let’s use our weather example. Take the below for instance:

Character A: “It’s cold today,”

Character B: “Yep. It’s been cold for a week now.”

Character A: “I hope it gets warmer,”

Character B: “Yeah, I like warm weather,”

You can turn flat dialogue around by focusing on revealing something about the characters and their relationship to each other.

Character A: “After an entire week of old weather I would have thought to bring a jumper! This wind is getting into my bones!”

Character B: “You might have to leave your hermit’s cave more than twice a month,”

Character A: “A deal with weather like this? No thank you! I’ll take the warmth and cave mushrooms any day!”

Already you feel a connection between the two characters. You’ve learnt that Character A is an indoors type, and that they get ribbed about it. However, they’re confident within themselves, choosing to participate in banter with Character B rather than become defensive. Character B also reveals that they don’t take things seriously and enjoy joking around.

Good dialogue that serves a purpose provides further depth to your characters and story. When combined with the inks, colour and lettering, good dialogue really pops on the page as it is the first thing people see.

What do you regard as good dialogue? Let us know in the comment section below! And join us on Sunday evening for our Quackchat at 5:30PM(EST)!

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Banes at 7:53AM, April 23, 2021

Great stuff! Well said...appropriately, for this topic. I admit I love playing with dialogue and making it character-revealing, funny, and as efficient as I can manage - but making it reveal setting and pushing us toward the climax of the story is worthy of more effort.

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