Our editing tips over the next few months are part of a series called Dial up Your Dialogue, by Writing Your Life editor Teresa Bruce. Be sure to follow along each month for Teresa’s fantastic tips to energize your dialogue.
If you’ve ever heard Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s on First?” routine, you’ve witnessed the hilarity of an ambiguous conversation crafted with care. In most cases, however, you’ll want readers understanding your dialogue without confusion.
Be sure your readers can tell who speaks each line of dialogue. In the example cited in last month’s Dial Up Your Dialogue editing tip, context revealed Timmy and Mom as the speakers. In a scene with more than two individuals present, vary the use of dialogue tags—he said, she said, Timmy said, Mom said—with action beats that show each speaker acting in a way that enhances the story.