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Write a Dialogue in a Novel | The 5 Functions of Dialogue in a Story

Every day, we spent a million words. There are several reasons to talk with someone, whether a colleague for work, a friend, or anyone else. Sometimes, we just talk to pass the time and make conversation.

On the contrary, in narration, there is always a good reason to talk and add dialogue.

So, what are the five functions of a dialogue? In general, they have a specific dramaturgical purpose.

Let’s see them in detail.

How to write a dialogue: the five functions of a dialogue

Mainly, there are five different functions of dialogue in a story. These are recapped below:

  • Show a character through their voice
  • Advance the plot
  • Provide information about the time and place of the narration
  • Break the monologue of the narrator
  • Use the flashback to present memories

#1 Show a character through their voice

The first shows a character through their conflicts, silences, and contradictions.

The reader can better know all the sides of the character’s behavior by understanding their background, past, and inner self.

#2 Advance the plot

The second function is to advance the plot. As we have seen in our journey through the narrative techniques, the “show, don’t tell” one teaches that it is better to show than to tell when writing a story. This is very useful to catch the reader’s attention and to maintain it at a high level. Read the insight about the “show, don’t tell” technique.

Dialogue is also significant in creating the storyline because, thanks to dialogue, the writer can easily bring the readers inside the scene. They can also interact with the character by understanding the use of the voice, words, and how to act.

#3 Provide information about the time and place of the story

Thirdly, a dialogue can provide information about the story’s time and place.

When you read a dialogue, you, as a reader, can notice an increase in the rhythm of the narration. A scene is always described through the eyes and emotions of a character.

Besides that, through dialogue, it is possible to give details about the time of the narration. Vocabulary, expressions, and idioms are fundamental to this goal. For example, in 1920, people spoke differently and with different terms in paragon as today. At the same time, many particulars about the place are given through dialogue.

The reader can understand the story’s location thanks to the accent, words, and traditions.

#4 Break the monologue of the narrator

Among these three good reasons, there are other motives to use dialogue in the story.

If you think a narration without dialogue is just a simple monologue of the narrator. The writer tells and sees everything from their point of view, without narrative breaks of any kind.

Descriptions, reflections, actions: everything is planned by the writer without any other force coming into play.

For this reason, dialogue can stop the repetitiveness of a long narration.

#5 Use the flashback to present memories

Dialogue through the flashback narrative technique can introduce and unlock a memory, which helps understand the present situation better.

Flashback is a technique that allows the reader to live the character’s past and explains their characteristics, fears, and experiences well.

Do you want to know more about the narrative technique of flashback?

Good dialogue illuminates what people are not saying.

Robert Towne

Use bibisco writer software to write great dialogues

bibisco novel writing software helps you add dialogues to your narration in the right place and at the right time.

As Stephen King said, “Writing dialogue is not a simple job. It is more like art because dialogue is what characters say. It defines who they are and what they’re like.

To write dialogue correctly, you can take advantage of bibisco, which helps you write the perfect dialogue for your characters.

bibisco character section - How do I write a dialogue?
bibisco’s character section

Conclusion: how to write a dialogue

Dialogue is not an element to take for granted. It can be a very useful component of your story to catch your reader’s eye and be challenging to realize.

There are different reasons to add dialogue to your narration. You only have to find the right one for you!

Starting from here, from the functions, we keep writing about dialogues and their characteristics in the following articles.

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