Dave Freeman’s Dialogue Tips.

Quick recap of Dave Freeman’s dialogue techniques:

Types of Dialogue:

1. Someone’s answer reveals their character.

2. Interrupting each other.

3. Answer a question with a question.

4. Different ways of speaking around different people.
eg. how you speak to your boss
eg. how you speak to your child

5. Own track – A ignores B and continues on their own track

6. Tangent – a question or remark sparks a tangential answer.
‘Have you read the DaVinci Code?’
‘Damn. I’ve got to go to the library to return those books!’

7. Left-field – a question or remark sparks a totally unrelated reply.

8. Sentence fragment – when you drop more than one word.

9. Underground river – where the topic is raised, left, returned to later.

10. Delayed answer – A asks question, B talks about other stuff before answering A’s question.

11. Starts again – A starts, then stops and starts again differently
e.g. ‘There’s a technique I want to… Let me tell you about a particularly effective technique…’

12. Response implies answer, e.g.
 ‘How was your day, honey?’
‘Is our car insured?’

13. Silence is dialogue.
eg. ignoring question or comment
eg. meaningful silence
eg. action instead of verbal reply

14. External interruptions – doorbell rings, waiter arrives, etc
e.g. In Shrek, every time Shrek and Fiona are going to kiss
Donkey arrives. This is good. Builds suspense.

15. Displacement – you put your anger, affection, passion on someone or something nearby because it’s too scary to do it to the person with you…

16. Subtext – what the character is saying or feeling below surface.

17. Action is a form of dialogue.

eg. slamming doors/driving recklessly/touching someone…

18. Dialogue is about hinting at emotion, not stating it bluntly.

Thanks Dave Freeman.

Mark Dark

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