Easy Steps to Writing Better Dialogue

Yeah, they say I’m good with dialogue. I’ve lived a life, I’ve heard enough [expletive] conversations, I ought to be.


Dialogue is one of those elements of writing that people really seem to struggle with. I feel lucky, as this was always a strong suit of mine. I talk to a lot of different people and I don’t often feel intimidated to strike up a conversation with a stranger (see Bukowski’s quote above).

Still, writers want to know how to make their dialogue sound more realistic, and how they can improve it. When I’m teaching dialogue in my creative writing classes, I utilize the rules I made in this short video to make it sound more engaging and realistic.

If you just want the number one rule, it’s to read your dialogue out loud. Please. Understand how important of a rule this is. We read things differently than we say them and this is the trick to making your dialogue sound not only realistic but engaging. For example, read a student’s writing example below:

“Hello,” Mike said.

“Hello,” said April.

“Do you like peanut butter?”

“Yes. I love peanut butter.” April replied.

“Wow. Me too.”

“Awesome. Can I have some?”

“Sure,” Mike said.

This interaction doesn’t seem great, but it might be passable if you read it in your head. However, read it out loud. Nobody in this world talks like this. It needs serious re-tooling to make it sound like an actual conversation between humans.

If you’re interested, please watch the video posted below for more helpful tips! I came up with them on my own, and they are tried and true!


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