You know how sometimes dialog rambles on with little happening to advance the plot? Last Saturday I attended a terrific workshop on dialog with novelist Janet Fitch during Spokane’s Get Lit! literary festival. Fitch is the author of White Oleander and other novels and her dialog jumps off the page.

Since I am currently revising a novel and all three of my Hamline students are working on novels this semester, it proved timely.

I kept these suggestions in mind all week as I worked on scenes in my novel.

Some Dialog Tips from novelist Janet Fitch:

* Dialog should NEVER be used to impart information or back story.

* Dialog is for the reader, not the other character. Therefore, don’t repeat what has already happened or been mentioned in story.

* Every character’s dialog should be particular to them. A line that anybody could say – nobody should say.

* Purpose of fictional dialog is to reveal tension, characters putting pressure on each other. Purpose of real life conversation is to avoid conflict.

What do you think? Any of these ring true for you?