Writing Dialogue That Reflects Characters’ Emotions

Let’s talk about emotions! Yes, the joy, the heartache, the thrill, the fear—it’s all coming into play in this section. Your character’s emotions can, and should, be a driving force in your dialogue. It’s how your readers connect, empathize and ultimately invest in your characters.

The Role Emotions Play Within Dialogue

Just as you and I wear our hearts on our sleeves, our characters should too. Well, not literally! What I mean is, their feelings should be evident in their speech. Emotional dialogue can deepen characterization, highlight conflict, and even advance the plot when written well.

How to Convey Your Character’s Emotions Through Dialogue

The Role Emotions Play Within Dialogue

Unlike in a film where the actor’s face does half the work, written dialogue needs to carry all the emotional weight. No pressure, right? The key is to use the right words, tone and rhythm to mirror the emotion you’re trying to portray.

Let’s say your character is angry. An angry person might speak in short, curt sentences, their words biting and harsh. But a character in love might have a softer, more poetic dialogue.

Tips for Writing Emotional Dialogue

  1. Show, don’t tell: Instead of saying, “I’m angry,” show the reader through the character’s words and actions.
  2. Use strong, emotive language: Words have power. Choose words that convey the intensity of the emotion.
  3. Vary your dialogue based on emotion: Different emotions should result in different dialogue patterns.

Avoiding Melodrama: Finding the Balance

Oh, the drama! We love it in our soap operas, but too much of it can come across as cheesy in our writing. Striking the right balance ensures your readers stay engaged without rolling their eyes. Remember, less is often more. Subtle hints of emotion can sometimes carry more impact than an outburst.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Writing Emotional Dialogue

  1. Overdoing it: Emotional doesn’t mean dramatic. Keep it real.
  2. Being too vague: If your reader can’t identify the emotion, you need to clarify it.
  3. Ignoring body language: Dialogue isn’t just about the words. It’s about the whole package—what your characters are saying, how they’re saying it, and what they’re doing while they say it.

And there you have it! Writing emotional dialogue might seem like a challenge, but with a little practice, you’ll be tugging at your reader’s heartstrings in no time!