Dialogue: Common Mistakes Part 1

This post, by Karen Baney, originally appeared on her site on 9/23/11.

In this series on dialogue, I’ll cover several common mistakes that writers make in dialogue.  For a more thorough study on dialogue, I suggest picking up a copy of Gloria Kempton’s Write Great Fiction – Dialogue.

Today’s Topic:  Overuse of Character Names

This is best illustrated in the following example:

“Why are you here, Kyle?” Niki asked.

“Well, Niki, I’m here because Marcy asked me to come to dinner with her and her boyfriend,” Kyle replied.

“That’s not what I meant, Kyle.  What are you doing here, in Arizona?  Out of the Air Force?”

“Why is it so important to you, Niki?”

“Why are you avoiding the question, Kyle?”

“Look, Niki, I’m just not ready to discuss it yet.”

Did you notice the extreme overuse of the character names (Kyle & Niki)?  Is it clicking yet?  If not, try reading it out loud.


Read the rest of the post on Karen Baney‘s site, and also see parts two, three and four of her series on dialogue.