Tips for Creating Believable Dialogue

| Posted in Writing.

Speech bubbleIn writing a story, part of the quest is to create a believable character that people can identify with and support. Believable dialogue is necessary to build the characters and drive the plot. According to Deweese, good dialogue does three things:

  1. It’s informative.
  2. It makes characters more believable.
  3. It adds interest.

Here are some tips for creating a good dialogue.

The first source of dialogue lies with you

You are your first resource. This means that you can base the dialogue your story on your own thoughts and conversations. In the series ‘Teach Yourself to Write’, Irving Weinman says that the first and best source of dialogue is your own speech. After all, you’ve been practicing talking most of your life.

You need to listen to what a real conversation sounds like

Established writers agree that the best way to learn how to write good dialogue is to listen to other people’s conversations and observe their behaviour during the conversation. If you want to write believable characters, borrow from real people.

Good dialogue flows

You would want people to read your story without interruption. Using big words in your narration disturbs the flow of the dialogue for the reader. Deweese says that you should avoid using synonyms for “said”. According to Deweese, phrases like “he spat,” “she expostulated,” and “intoned” are jarring and take readers out of the story.

Cut out unnecessary talk

While you can use real dialogue to help make your fictional dialogue believable, not all of it will work well in your story. Cynthia Riggs says that you can listen to people talk, by all means, but when you sit down to write you should cut 85 per cent of the conversation.

Write the kind of dialogue that entertains you

It helps to read dialogue written by authors that you admire. Irving Weinman (Huffington Post) says that you need to find out what you like about their dialogue and then try to emulate them in your own.

Just remember

The dialogue that people will read will be the one that interests, entertains, and informs them. The best dialogue in a story is a good representation of conversations between real people.


Written by David Hendricks

Image credit: Alper Çuğun, CC BY-NC 2.0, via Flickr


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