Posts tagged ‘dialogue’

November 14, 2012

On-The-Nose Dialogue

by limebirdvanessa

On-the-nose dialogue is a term usually applied to scriptwriting/screenwriting, but it can equally be applied to dialogue within a novel or short story. It refers to dialogue where characters are expressing things exactly as they are, without giving the reader the opportunity to use their imagination to fill in the blanks. A certain amount of on-the-nose dialogue may be useful for clarity, but overuse of it can result in dull, flat dialogue.

As an example, a character could say, “I love you” to another character, as that is exactly what they mean, but it is far more interesting for the reader if they express their love in another way. The show don’t tell mantra very much comes into play here. Dialogue becomes much more engaging if it focuses on the sub-meaning and lets the reader surmise the actual meaning.

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