* Show character
* Reveal information
* Move the story forward
* Increase tension
Show character - A character is more than just a flat person. It is who the person is inside. Their hopes and dreams, goals and moral code. All of that comes out in how they speak. People from the same area may have similarities, but they will also have differences. Men and women speak differently also. Think of that when writing a character.
A great way to show differences in characters is giving them a speech flaw or oddity. I suggest you don't do it with everyone, you'd overload your reader. But you can have one person who speaks shorter, clipped sentences and another a touch more rambling.
In Beauty and the Chief, the book I'm releasing next month, I have a character that refers to my heroine with flower names. The funny thing is, it wasn't planned, she did it herself when I was writing her.
Reveal Information - Dialogue is a great way to let us know something without telling us. We can learn things as our characters do. Just make sure you keep it natural so it doesn't feel like an information dump. Don't force the conversation to get the info out there.
Move the story forward - Remember every scene should move your story along its path. Don't add fluff scenes just for word count or to ramble, unless you have a character that rambles and even then there needs to be a point to it.
Increase tension - We can learn a lot about what going on by the way character talks and acts. Short phrases quicken the feel of a scene where as longer sentences slow down the mood. that kind of goes into pacing, which we'll save for another day.
These are just a few things to think about. Good Writing.
Alysia S. Knight - Heroes for all times