Writing Dialogue In Historical Novels, by Adrian Goldsworthy

Writing Historical Novels

Dialogue is one of the most important things to get right in telling any story.  Done well, it helps to drive the narrative as well as making it easier for the reader to get to know the characters.  Whether the novel is contemporary or historical, the dialogue aims to sound realistic rather than actually be realistic.  If you think how much conversation in daily life is banal and repetitive then you will understand why we want it to give a flavour and the essence of how people speak rather than set down everything they say.

Characters can convey a lot of information to the reader in speech, but you need to be careful to make it all seem natural.  Even if someone in the story is supposed to be instructing or reporting you cannot afford to simply write pages and pages of explanation which simply runs the risk of becoming…

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