We know who you’re talking to

How to improve your dialogue. Stop calling each other by their names.

When first writing third person, characters addressed each other by name WAY too often.

Edwin: “How’ve you been, Bob?”

Bob: “Fine, Edwin. You?”

Edwin: “I’ve got this weird itch on my ovipositor, Bob.”

Clive Owen: “Look out, Bob and Edwin! The Atomic Hamster Reserve is about to explode!”

All my posts are hamster-related

All my posts are hamster-related

See what’s wrong with that dialogue? Correct. You don’t actually say the name of the person you’re addressing that often in real life. It’d be weird. Also, the whole point of an Atomic Hamster Reserve is that it’s nonvolatile.

I’m not really sure why novice writers like myself add so many of these in their dialogue. Perhaps it’s because, when writing 3+ characters, it’s crucial to make sure the reader knows who’s talking. So constantly saying names becomes a type of dialogue tag.

After all, if one character addresses another by name, you can follow that up with “Blah blah blah,” she replied. We know exactly who’s talking. You just named her in the previous dialogue.


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