Tips for better dialogue
- Use “he said, she said,” tags, not fancy dialogue tags like “he expostulated.”
- Include action in a bunch of dialogue. “Pass the salt, will you?” happens in the middle of a discussion at the dinner table
- Don’t use dialogue to tell the reader things. “Well, Jack, since you and I are brothers and our father is a lawyer…”
- Keep it short. People don’t talk in long speeches. Dialogue is more like a tennis match.
- Avoid phonetic spelling and different accents. They’re too hard to read. Give one or two indications of the dialect and the reader will do the rest.
- Remember conflict. A dialogue should be like a tennis match, conflict. If the dialogue has conflict in it, it will move the story forward.