To create a good and compelling story, you need at least the two following ingredients: narration and dialogue. Dialogue plays a great role in the story, which is sometimes overlooked by writers and readers alike.
What make dialogues so important? The need to understand and to be immersed. Well-written dialogues help the reader understand the characters of a story. If their manners can say a lot about them, it’s what they say that gives a hint about their personality, their way of thinking, or even their emotions. Well-written dialogues also help the reader feeling immersed; they help the reader feeling like they are themselves part of the story — as if they were listening to the characters themselves.
On the other hand, you have bad dialogues. Bad dialogues can turn a good story into a terrible one, or they can prevent depth in character — a depth that cannot be brought by narration alone.
Now I can make a correlation between dialogues in a story and conversations in real life. In all honesty, one of the main reasons that pushed me to write this post was to rant about conversations among the average population. Just like dialogues, conversations can become quickly boring if not done properly.
I will now explain what I mean by a conversation that is not done properly. I noticed that more and more people are unable to hold a real conversation — an exchange of information between the different individuals participating. As a matter of fact, conversations became more and more one-sided. One person will talk, while the other(s) will simply listen, with no opportunity to say something other than “yes”, “I understand”, etc. It becomes rarer to find people who want to listen to someone else. On the contrary, you will find a higher rate of people who wants someone to listen to them. If the person in front of them doesn’t listen, they don’t want to listen either. In some cases, they like to interrupt the other because they simply don’t care about what they want to say. Thus, we end up with an awkward silence where the two people only want to run away. A boring conversation.
Imagine if the same happened in dialogues. Imagine a dialogue where the characters would interrupt each other all the time. We would get nothing in the end. Same goes for one-sided conversations in a story. If you want a character to speak their mind alone, we have something called a monologue. A one-sided dialogue is NOT A DIALOGUE.
Now let’s come back to conversations in real life, and more precisely written conversations. How disappointed do you think I am when I see people sending tons of pictures or memes, saying complete nonsense, talking as if they were the only ones allowed to speak or only speaking when they need to rant? Not only it cannot be considered a conversation, but rare are those who are willing to reply to people like that, or even willing to show up.
Concerning those who only appear when they need to rant, just know that no one likes to be the scapegoat and they would most likely run away if you cannot understand it. Same goes for writers. A character who complains once in a while is okay, as long as there is depth in the character as well as a story. A character who only speaks to rant will not only destroy a dialogue, but it will also push away the readers.
Overall, it is crucial to understand the importance of dialogues in a story and conversations in real life. If you can master one of the two, you can master the other. Holding a true conversation, whether it is in a fictional world or in the real world, is easier than you may think. The true key lies in curiosity, understanding and EXCHANGE.