3 Tips on How to Write Dialogue



Many writers struggle to writing dialogue that sounds real and believable, not only from the characters but in the readers imagination as well. We want dialogue that roles off the tip of the readers tongue. We want it to sound natural, as if two people are literally standing next to the reader having a conversation.

But how do we achieve this?

Good question.

Writing dialogue is something that I haven’t found a lot of advice on over the years. It’s something that I’ve had to learn about through trial and error. Today I would like to share with you some of my favorite tips and ways that I’ve found success in writing dialogue. Because, strangely enough, it used to be my least favorite part about writing, but now, it might be my favorite.

Tip #1: Listen to the Character

While this may sound cliche, it’s one of the most important pieces to writing dialogue in my opinion. Think about it. What do you do when you write dialogue? Who are you listening to, yourself—or the character?

Too often as writers we’re tempted to take the story into our own hands and write what we feel should happen. But, whenever I’ve tried doing this in the past, it simply doesn’t work out. Because this is your characters story, therefore they should be the one making the decisions, right?

Don’t label me with a mental disorder yet, stick with me here.

Characters are the glue that holds your whole story together. Imagine for a second that you take your main character out of your story… *crickets chirp* Yeah. Did you see what happened there?

There was no story.

Which brings me back to my point here. Dialogue.

If you’ve been writing for any length of time then I’m sure you have experienced the voices of your characters inside your head. (Yes, the joys of being a writer…) However, sometimes writers will block those voices out of their head and instead write it the way they see fit. *collective character gasp* And this is their biggest downfall in writing dialogue.

There’s no better way to get true, authentic dialogue then to write it exactly how the character said it in your head. A lot of times I try to take over the story and write the dialogue how I think it should go. But you know what? Whenever I do that, it never feels real to me. Not like when I let the characters talk, that’s when you can get the richest dialogue.

Tip #2: Write Screenplays

I’ve always been a nut for screenplays. Reading them, writing them, looking at them. I love everything about it. They fascinate me. (#nerdmoment) Especially when I was younger, I loved imagining up the most ridiculous stories and then writing them into a screenplay. (Then said younger self would convince her siblings to act out the play… we won’t go into that.)

But little did my younger self know was how much that helps in learning how to write great dialogue! (I was a genius and I didn’t even know it!) Because in screenplays there is little to no description—just the bare minimum—and it focuses solely on the dialogue. You don’t get any tag lines to say, “he said enthusiastically”, or, “she exclaimed as she cast her eyes about the room”. That’s not a part of screenplays.

So… what do you do? You have to relay that emotion through the dialogue. Tough, I know. But so invaluable to learn!

Because too many tag lines bog down your story—you can’t rely on them. Besides, it sounds more like an after thought when you throw the emotion in the tag line. No! Express it in the dialogue! That is the purest, most natural way to go.

So my advice? Try your hand at writing screenplays. Even if you don’t complete a whole story, just try writing pieces of dialogue. See what happens and grow from the experience.

Tip #3: Ask for Feedback

This is the possibly the most important tip. Because no matter how much you practice, no matter how much you attempt to grow in writing dialogue, you will have no knowledge of what you’re achieving—or if you’re achieving anything at all—if you don’t ask for feedback.

As I said at the beginning, I always knew dialogue was an area in which I struggled with. Even now I can’t hardly read my old stories because the dialogue feels so fake. But, because I took notice of that, I worked harder than ever in that area to improve. However, I never knew if I was improving or not. Until I asked for feedback.

It was one of the first times I had asked for feedback on something I wrote. Actually, come to think of it, it might have been the first time I had given my writing to a non-family member. I was nervous and scared, but I knew I wanted another opinion on my story.

I don’t remember all the feedback my friend gave me on that story but the main thing that stuck with me was what she said about my dialogue. She told me that she felt as though she was right there with the characters hearing them speak. It felt real to her. I was amazed quite frankly. All I had ever known was how much I struggled in that area, and in my eyes I had never gotten any better.

But hearing my friend’s encouragement meant so much to me, and it was so helpful to know that I had finally come somewhere in an area I had been working for so long to improve in. But I never would have known that if I hadn’t asked for a second opinion on it.

Fun little bonus tip: read your dialogue out loud while writing. Sometimes in your head you can’t hear how it would sound. You would think it wouldn’t make that much of a difference, but it does. I often use this tip and find flaws that I wouldn’t have noticed otherwise. (Yes, I’m the writer who mumbles as she writes. Yes, I’m mumbling right now as I write this. Don’t judge, we’re all crazy here.)

In conclusion, writing dialogue can be hard, yes, but once mastered it can be the most beautiful part of your story. I hope that you will give these tips a try for yourself and that you find success through them. Never give up, my friend, because writing is a beautiful thing and your words can bring that beauty into this world. So press on, and keep writing!

Your turn!

What are your tips on writing dialogue? Have you ever tried writing a screenplay? Do you enjoy writing dialogue?

Blessings, Allyson


15 thoughts on “3 Tips on How to Write Dialogue

  1. These tips are GOLD! Especially the screenwriting one! I don’t typically have a problem with dialogue (thank the Lord), but I had a scene come to mind while I was in the shower, so as soon as I got out, I went and jotted down the conversation screenplay-style in a notebook. When I finally got to write the scene on my computer, having the dialogue already there made the scene flow SO MUCH smoother! I’d do that all the time if I could!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ugh! I’m jealous! 🤣 I’ve always struggled with it but it really has become a part of writing that I really love! That’s great!! I do that all the time as well! I’m always having bits of dialogue come to mind whether it’s for my current WIP or not (sometimes it’s the start of a new idea 😂). I always write it down and love it when I can use it later!! It also makes it really nice when you’re writing a scene and can add dialogue you’ve already previously written. 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. AWESOME tips, girl!! Listening to the character is so key… it’s when I try to force MY words into characters’ lines that it inevitably falls flat on its face, lol. Thank you for sharing this!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks!! YES!! I have the same problem! And too often I try to make the scene go my way when it always sounds best the characters way. 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Aw, haha! Don’t worry, I have plenty of other weak spots to make up for it! 😂 Absolutely! It works so well! (Except for when you come up with the PERFECT line and can’t write it down…and then you forget it. Forever. And ever. 😭😭😭)

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Oh, I love these tips! Listening to the characters yes! Some of my best and most favorite lines of dialogue came from doing just that!
    I have never tried writing a screenplay…hmmm, might have to test that out. (Also, my older sister used to write screenplays which we would act out and video…I think it’s cool!)
    Feedback is always helpful! I love the critic circle my sisters and I have with each other! And we read our stuff out loud it sooooo helps!
    Sometimes I struggle with dialogue other days not so much…it kind of depends on my mood and whether my characters are cooperating…lol…
    Awesome post, Allyson!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! Yes!! I can’t tell you how many scenes I’ve had to delete and start completely over because I didn’t listen to the character. It always sounds best when you do.
      It’s so fun!! You should definitely try! (Oh, how fun! We never videoed it but it was a lot of fun when my sisters and I did it!)
      Yes, it is! I love all the feedback my friends give me, it’s so helpful. That’s great! Yes, I love reading my writing out loud! 🥰
      Haha! Yeah, same. And sometimes those stubborn characters get it into their heads not to cooperate at all…lol!
      Thanks so much!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Lol…same! Lately though my characters have been sulking…haha…
        I’ll try to remember to…lol…(yeah, it was lots of fun!)
        Lol…exactly how my stubborn characters are acting now….haha…
        Of course! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. You’ve always been a genius. *slaps a certifiably insane sticker on your forehead*🤭 But no, seriously, this is brrrrriliant! And to be honest, I’d rather read 7 pages of straight dialogue then 2 pages of prose with some speech mixed in. *ducks* It’s what makes the story!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. *tears sticker off and slaps it on your head* There. That’s more like it. Oh, I totally agree with you there!! There’s even times when I’m not necessarily enjoying the book but I want to see how it ends so I’ll just read the dialogue. I’ve done this many times. The dialogue is so important!! And it’s so fun. 😎😂


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