Writing Tips; Rule 5

Dialogue Sets The Mood 

Dialogue is likely the most important part of writing. It is what people or characters say to one an another. How moving is the written word? People fall in love without seeing each other by only conversing or writing. It’s dialogue that stirs emotions and sets the mood. A perfect romantic night or scene can be created, but if there are no sweet nothings whispered - there is nothing.
It sets the mood, defines the character, moves the story and much much more.
Dialogue has to be sculptured. Marble must be chipped away and polished before it becomes a work of art, it is the same with writing, especially dialogue. Write it and hone it.
As an exercise take a transcript of an interview and read it. You will discover it is quite boring. Normal conversations are full of a lot of air. It us full of incomplete sentences, hmms, and uhs. Now cut and paste it into a word processor and go to work on it. Take out the meaningless statements and throw away phrases. Suck out the air and leave behind the life.
So much of everyday conversation advances nothing more than the passing of time. Conversation in a story has to advance the story and keep the reader engaged.
Several years ago a writer sent a draft of his novel. I read it and was impressed with the simplicity of style and the plot - a good book. There were, however, a few changes suggested.
In the story a detective brought and attractive female suspect in for questioning. Her name was Gabrielle and his name was O’Grady. Here is the dialogue:
Have a seat.” O’Grady said.
Without a word and only a flip of her long red hair she sat.
What is your first name?”
Gabrielle.”
Gabrielle, can you start by telling us what your relationship was with the victim?”
I thought the exchange was a little vanilla and that a subtle adjustment could be made to add tension to the exchange. Her is what was suggested:
Have a seat.” O’Grady said.
She flipped her long red hair and sat.
What is your name?”
Gabrielle.”
Do they call you, Gabby? Can I call you Gabby?”
Gabrielle.” (This created the tension needed to set the mood.)
Gabrielle, can you start by telling us what your relationship was with the victim?”
I don’t see an us,” she said, “I only see a you.”
In the draft writer used a page and a half to build the same tension.
This is just one example.
The point is, allow the characters to carry the burden of the story. They are so much better at it than the writer. If you have a wonderful thought give it to a wonderful character to speak or think.

And as a parting thought, set the mood early and build on it.