Dialogue can get really cluttered with dots all over the place.

If you're reading this you've probably heard one of these statements before in your life:

  • "Your game has too many ellipses!"

  • "This character acts like he never thinks!"

  • "You don't read enough articles just for fun!"

Well, I'm no professional by any means, but I do believe I have some sliver of writing talent in regards to character dialogue. Or maybe just general writing talent. Though, that really just depends on how much you want to compliment me. Anyway, if you have problems conveying thought and you hate having unsightly dots all over, the list below should at least give you a starting place for just that!

"I-I want the medium shake, please."

While this can often be an endearing way to show shyness or indecisiveness, it's also a pretty good way to show thinking! In real life, spur of the moment decisions can sometimes force words out of you. In this case, the act of stuttering can give you a moment to collect your thoughts and convey them better than if you tried to force the mess that's up there out the way it is! Definitely do NOT make a character stutter on every word unless they're VERY flustered.

"Weeeeeell, I guess the red one is okay."

No, this article didn't become inappropriate. Elongation of words is an even more effective way of showing thought than stuttering is. Elongation's only real drawback is that it can make your character seem childish and it sometimes makes the word harder to identify. Also be careful about your writing becoming questionable - a narrator thinking this way is most likely a bad idea. Elongating every word is also a bad idea, not even a very flustered character will elongate every word. Use your best judgement with this one!

Key Words
"I suppose we could set up camp on the low ground."

Key words are a must when writing thinking dialogue! You'd be surprised how often you unintentionally use a key word in a character's dialogue without even thinking about it. Some key words include, but aren't limited to: suppose, could, would, but, maybe, guess, huh, what, who, when, why, where, how, well, hm, uh, um, if, then and however! These range from questioning something to logically concluding an answer. Pick and choose the key words you need to convey thinking. The important part here is that the word displays a characters indecisiveness. Without indecisiveness, even logical conclusion isn't being conveyed correctly without it unless the character already knows the answer. A subcategory of this would probably be certain interjections, which I included up there. (huh, hm, well, uh, etc.)

"What's wrong with me...?"

You've most likely done this - you have a thought and you want to see what others think so you throw it out there as a suggestion. Simply saying the thought as a question is a very powerful way to suggest thought. If they're asking it, they're probably thinking so hard about it that they can't even keep it in. In that sense it can be intense - in another sense, it very clearly shows the character has a thought so mission accomplished right there! Not every thought should be uttered, in fact, most thoughts shouldn't be uttered so keep this one at a minimum for crucial moments. This ones is also a very good combination with an ellipses as shown in the example above! Oh, what's that? You say that's counter to what this article is trying to achieve? You're brain's about to explode then if that bugged you~! <3

"No... I can't just leave her behind!"

Whaaat? You thought I hated the ellipses, didn't you? Actually, my favorite way of conveying thought is with the ellipses! While this article is trying to get you to be less dependent on these all important dots, this section is here as a reminder. I'd like to remind you to not completely stop using this bit of punctuation. It's clearly the most potent tool you have as far as thinking is concerned. Just make sure you strike up a healthy balance of the ellipses and the other various ways of conveying thought.

Happy writing!


Pages: 1
I have to admit, every time I write a long series of dialogue; I have to go back and murder those dots. >.< Or if they are necessary use the \. to make them feel like they are actually doing what they're doing.

........ tooo......

..... need .... words...........

Feeling............. too ....... EMO........ with ......... too ...... many dots....
Pages: 1