By Jeff Schill
I love dialogue.
To me, a story is all about the characters. And I especially enjoy when these characters interact with one other. But at the same time, dialogue can fall flat when it does not resonate or make the reader feel something.
Dialogue is much more than just the words on the page. Dialogue is largely about how we, as writers, express our characters’ emotions and how the reader, in return, responds to these emotions.
Creating Emotion in Dialogue
In 1967 Albert Mehrabian, a professor at Stanford University, specifically looked at emotion and communication. In his study, he concluded that 55% of emotion is communicated through a person’s nonverbal cues: facial expressions, gestures, posture and movement.
To emphasize how powerful nonverbal behavior can be in dialogue let’s look at a few lines where I took the nonverbal cue away.
- “And a place in Beverly…
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