When a character speaks, regardless of the topic, they’re also revealing things about themselves, their unique perspective on the topic at hand. When a character chooses to speak (or whether they choose to speak) implies what is important to them, just as how they respond demonstrates their mood and general opinion on the topic, and their opinion of those around them.
When writing dialogue, it’s important to consider both what the character is saying, and what they are revealing. There are 4 ways that dialogue can reveal new information to the audience:
1. Questions a character asks.
2. Statements a character makes.
3. How a character responds
4. Vague Remarks & Implications
Clarity is an essential component of any good story. In dialogue, clarity means making sure audiences know who is speaking. The most common method is to identify the speaker by name, typically by using a tag such as “(name) said”. But it’s also important to make sure a character’s voice is consistent.
Medium to High Complexity
Medium to High Importance
Debates are a little more intense, a little more conflict driven. Where a focused conversation has at least one invested character, debates have at least two, each with their own position. Debates are, in many ways, a median between focused discussion and argument. A focused discussion may transition into debate on the way to becoming an argument, just as an argument may downgrade to a debate or even a focused discussion.
Conversations take many forms, but they generally hinge on 3 variables: complexity, intensity, and importance/value.