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Top 5 tips to write dialogue.

September 16, 2017
Writing dialogue: Top 5 tips to write dialogue.

Writing dialogue: Top 5 tips to write dialogue.


Writing dialogue: Top 5 tips to write dialogue. 


Writing dialogue is one of the most important fundamental aspects of creative writing. This is where your characters come to life and their personalities shine through. These are the magic ingredients which make the reader fall in love with them or hate them to their core. Dialogue can be tricky as it needs to sound realistic but you can’t add the general day to day conversation. These five tips will you help you to write better dialogue and bring those characters to life.


 1. Listen to conversations and write them down.


When I was doing a self-editing course, the editor suggested we should listen to conversations. As writers, we are observant and this can be a major pro. Observe a conversation, it can be with your co-workers, at school or wherever. Listen to a conversation in a café, and jolt everything down. Notice how people change the subject in matter minutes, this should reflect in your writing too.


2. Keep dialogue tags simple.



 Don’t use fancy dialogue tags. I know, the word “said” can sound boring. We writers want to be creative. When I started critiquing manuscripts, I noticed how distracting it is to use different dialogue tags. Don’t know what I mean? Here is an example.

  “Hi Sam,” Jean said.

  “Hello, Jean” Sam replied.

  “Haven’t you heard!’ Jean exclaimed.

  “What?’ Sam asked.

  “Bob was hit by a car!” Jean declared.

‘Oh, that’s terrible when?’ Sam cried.


Doesn’t that pull you away from the story? Keep it simple and stick with “said” or “asked” as those are the “invisible” tags. That kind of dialogue screams amateur. It is not a crime to add, “Shouted,” “yelled,” or “hissed” to make a point but not a continuous bombardment like the above example. Also, remember, your readers are smart and will be able to distinguish who is talking.  So no need to add “said” after that speaking character all the time.


Tip: if you are going to use yelled stick with just yelled don’t write “yelled loudly” we know that yelling is loud don’t add unnecessary words your editor will thank you. 


Another tip in writing dialogue: Top 5 tips to write dialogue.

3. Use body language to bring out the emotions and to avoid using too much dialogue tags.


Instead of using dialogue tags, you can describe your character’s body language. By doing so, you are showing what your characters are feeling. Like the below example:


Richard’s hand clutched around the glass. I feared it would smash on his hands.  He stood and followed me in the kitchen.  ‘Well, ain’t that relief, let’s open a bottle of champagne and celebrate, shall we?’ slamming the glass on the table, ‘how could you do something like this!’

He kept watching me with a hard look on his face.  ‘Well? What do you have to say for yourself?’

              I turned crossing my hands over my chest, ‘… I just…’

                  ‘What?’ He shouted.

I turned my back to him and poured red wine on the glass. Richard stomped towards me ‘what!’


By the slamming of glass and the stomping of the foot, we know that Richard is angry at his wife. Hardly any dialogue tags needed.


4. Don’t include everything and Keep dialogue realistic.


Think of how you would talk to people but as I said, you can’t include everything. If your character went to the supermarket to by milk, you don’t have to include the conversation between him and the cashier. That will bore the reader. But if your character went to the supermarket to buy milk and there is a burglary than yes, include the dialogue as that would spark interest. Dialogue needs to reveal something about your character but don’t do this:


 “Hello, Jenny, my dear friend of ten years who has black hair, blue eyes, and high cheekbones!’

Do you get my point? Do you talk to your friend like this?


And make sure you read it aloud.  


Another tip Writing dialogue: Top 5 tips to write dialogue.


5. Watch movies/TV shows to enhance your dialogue.




Movies are all about dialogue. Movies are a fun way to see how it’s done and help you improve. I’ll do a post about movies with great dialogue to help you get creative in the next post so, stay tuned.







Bonus tip: I recommend reading this book to learn about dialogue.   How to Write Dazzling Dialogue: The Fastest Way to Improve Any Manuscript



Top five movies to watch to improve your dialogue.




  1. This was very informative and entertaining! I lol-ed at “Hello Jenny, my dear friend of ten years who has black hair, blue eyes and high cheekbones!’

    All the pointed were valid. I do feel that I get tired of repeatedly saying “said”. Glad to know it’s invisible and will give the body language thing a go!

  2. Interesting post! Dialogue is one of the toughest for writers and yet, so important to master. Personally, I’ve been taught to use different dialogue tags(creative writing major), especially to convey/express emotion with the dialogue and action of the character. Of course, it shouldn’t be overused or underused. Like everything in writing, there must be a balance.

    Great post!

  3. This was probably the most useful thing I have ever read about dialogue! It’s so interesting. I feel like the biggest challenge for me as an author is finding how to create dialogue without it being dull.

  4. Prett neat and crisp ideas to follow for any aspiring writer like me. I have been stuck with my book since a long time. Hope such tips help me move forward!

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