- Make sure each character has a unique voice. This means giving each character their own distinct way of speaking and patterns of language use. This can include diction, syntax, tone, and word choice.
- Use dialogue to reveal character traits and motivations. Rather than simply having characters tell each other what they’re thinking or feeling, try to show it through their words and actions.
- Avoid too much exposition. It can be tempting to use dialogue as a way to deliver a lot of information to the reader, but this can come across as heavy-handed and unrealistic. Instead, try to find more natural ways for characters to reveal information, such as through casual conversation or through actions and reactions.
- Keep it natural and realistic. While it’s okay for dialogue to be a little more formal or stylized than real-life conversation, it should still feel authentic and natural. Avoid having characters speak in overly formal or stilted language, and try to capture the rhythms and patterns of real-life conversation.
- Use body language and gestures to add depth and authenticity to dialogue. These nonverbal cues can help to show a character’s emotions and add realism to the conversation.
- Use dialogue to advance the plot and reveal character relationships. Rather than just using dialogue as a means of conveying information, try to use it to move the story forward and reveal more about the characters and their relationships with each other.
- Vary the length and format of your dialogue. Long monologues can be tedious for the reader, so try to mix it up with shorter exchanges and interruptions. You can also use different formatting techniques, such as using action beats or breaks in dialogue to show a change in the conversation or to indicate a shift in power dynamics.
- Pay attention to dialect and accent. If you’re writing dialogue for characters who speak with a distinct dialect or accent, do your research and try to capture the nuances of the way they speak. However, be mindful of cultural sensitivity and avoid stereotyping or oversimplifying dialects or accents.
- Edit and revise your dialogue. Like any other aspect of writing, dialogue can benefit from multiple rounds of editing and revision. Pay attention to pacing, rhythm, and flow, and make sure the dialogue serves the overall goals of the story.