Dialogue Light: using indirect dialogue.

by slowdancejournal


Speech bubble.Direct dialogue, complete with tags, quotation marks, multiple paragraphs and full declarations by your characters creates full, vivid scenes.

But what if you want more economy, a quicker pace but still want to retain the feel of conversation?

Try indirect dialogue.


John told Mom he was on the monkey bars when Max pushed him over backwards and he hit his head on the lower bar so he jerked Max by the ankles and then the teacher sent them both to timeout.

This has the breathless tone and speech pattern of a kid telling his mother what happened, but it avoids all the conventional hoo-ha of writing dialogue listed above, it moves fast and is economical.

How about a little of both? Sure, Why not? Combine direct and indirect dialogue and you have pace along with the voice of a character talking.


John told his mother about the fight on the playground. He said it wasn’t his fault. “I was just sitting on the top of the monkey bars, I wasn’t doing anything, then Max just pushed me over!”

Have a scene that is running long and bogging down? Give indirect dialogue a shot.