Oblique dialogue creates tension

Tags: Writing Dialogue

Sol Stein advises that "oblique" dialogue is engaging dialogue because it creates tension. When a character says precisely what they mean, there's little tension. Nothing his hidden below the surface; it's all on the page. Oblique dialogue, on the other hand, creates questions in the reader's mind. That escalates tension. The reader knows that something is wrong and wonders what it is and how it will be resolved. It may imply things about the characters' relationships with one another, and hidden backstory that may remain in play through the interaction.

  • See Stories repeatedly raise and resolve tensionStories repeatedly raise and resolve tension
    Tags: [[Writing]] [[Story Structure]]

    According to George Saunders, the fundamental unit of story is a kind of call and response. A story introduces an expectation or question and then responds to...


Stein 2014