10 Tips On How To Write Good Dialogue

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In my courses I usually come across two types of authors: some who hardly write dialogue and the other, Write my essay less common, who cannot stop writing dialogue. The latter usually have to fine-tune, paint a lot. The former often need a nudge and then some practice.

In any case, you can learn to write good dialogues! So the knot bursts and finally things run smoothly with the Writing dialog.


What is dialogue?

Dialogue, also called direct or literal speech , is what someone utters when talking to someone. So you need someone to talk to for a dialogue, otherwise it's a monologue (someone is talking to himself). A monologue can also be written in quotation marks like a dialogue - BUT only if it is also pronounced aloud . If it is just a thought , i.e. an inner monologueMy Premium Essay you can write it in italics or insert a thought I / he / she so that the reader can follow.

Indirect speech, on the other hand, is much like reporting on a dialogue. Indirect Speech Example:

He asked her if she would go out with him. But she replied silly that she already had a boyfriend and that her fridge was full too.

(You can see that here the subjunctive is used with would / would / was and it reads rather bulky.)

A narrative summary of a dialogue would read like this:

He had asked her if she would go out to dinner with him. But she had replied silly that she already had a boyfriend and a full refrigerator.

But now let's move on to the 10 dialogue tips:

10 tips for writing good dialog

Dialogue, literal speech, buy assignment online takes place when two or more people or characters are talking. So far, so clear. But in the novel, writing dialogue usually means that you are not writing a faithful rendition of "real" dialogue. Dialogues in novels are artificial or art. So what can you watch out for in order to write these dialogues true to life, but also meaningful and legible? Because the goal is to entertain the reader and not write a boring report.

1. Write dialogues with special character language

You must have constructed good  characters for your novel . Make sure that your main character speaks exactly as only they can speak. How do you recognize her if you could just read the text of the dialogue without knowing that she was talking? Does she have favorite words? What is your vocabulary like? Does she escape a lot?


Are there certain types of sentences that are typical for you? Is she constantly interrupting others or herself? What about the pronunciation, buy thesis online intonation or accents? Is she even stuttering?

But please remember not to overdo it. Otherwise the dialogue quickly looks excessive and is no longer easy to read. But a way of speaking that is characteristic of your characters is like salt in soup for your story! Don't leave it out!

2. Characterize figures

Just as your character should be recognizable through its special way of speaking, it should also reveal something about the character - preferably in such a way that you don't have to mention it in your story at all. Which region does your character come from? From what milieu? Is she educated? Poor? Introvert or a daredevil?


Same statement, different speaker:

"Hey, throw it over there!" Vs.

"Would you hand me the salt, please?"

Of course this is exaggerated, but hopefully makes it clear that you can see an incredible amount of the figure from the choice of words . Take advantage of that!

3. Dialect u.ä.

Dialogue about how the beak has grown

Reading a dialogue as it occurs in real life would be very exhausting. Constant messing up, incomplete sentences, buy argumentative essay online breaking the word, a lot of colloquial language ...

Written dialogue should sound natural, but it is always an art form. The most important thing remains that the reader does not fall out of the flow. For example, if a character speaks English, you should actually continue to write in English. But your reader is reading a German novel right now. So doesn't make sense.

You can solve this by adding just an English word or two, but then continuing to write in German. Or, you can explain that your character will answer in English. You can also do the same when it comes to dialect.

"Wonderful!" She replied in English. “I will never forget this excursion!


“No, no. With us you put on slippers. Those dirty Äppelkähne stay out there! ”She pointed to Friederike's well-worn shoes and then to the landing in front of the front door.

4. Punctuation

How do you write a dialogue?

Even if Roman writing rarely has anything to do with what we once learned in school, buy cheap dissertation online what we learn is important when it comes to punctuation. But, oh dear, then there was also the spelling reform and everything has been something different since then. So that there are no more uncertainties, here is the correct spelling. It is worthwhile to internalize the correct spelling for once. Then you have to correct much less later.


Writing a dialog Example:

Each new speaker receives a new line.

"Hello," he said.

"How are you?" She asked.

"I'm fine."

"I'm fine too," she replied.

Wrong : "I'm fine too," she replied.


Period, exclamation mark and question mark are inside the quotation marks. The comma follows the quotation marks and before asked / said / answered etc.!

If followed by “said he / she” must be followed by a comma after the quotation marks. This also applies if there is an exclamation mark or question mark in the dialog. But be careful: You only put a point at the end of the spoken word if asked / said / answered etc. does not follow.


Check that the speaker is clearly recognizable in the line of dialogue. If not, mention him by name.

"Hello," said Matthias.

Or even better:

"Hello." Matthias raised his hand in greeting. But more about this under point 10 "Stage Action"

Don't use the characters' names too often! If it is clear who is meant by "she", just use "she". It's a typical mistake that I keep seeing. Too many mentions create a greater distance to the reader and the reader can no longer easily put himself into the figure.

And use paraphrases like daughter, wife, girl, boy, etc. even less often!

5. Goodbye school!

Write dialogues with said, asked, answered, replied

This brings us to one of the most common problems I know:

I already mentioned school. Unfortunately, what you learn there is not always useful for writing novels. This also includes the exercise of using as different "Inquit formulas" as possible. What is meant is that you use many verb variants of said and asked, such as whispered, screamed, babbled, hissed, etc.


But that is total nonsense for your novel!


Writing dialogue in a novel means not wanting to prove how well you can express yourself. It's all about getting the reader excited and drawn into the story. That means that in most cases he doesn't need to know how something was said, but what !

It's not boring to use said a lot. You don't have to add variety here for the reader! The great thing about said, asked, answered, replied is: You read it over and continue to concentrate fully on what was said.

Of course, there are some cases when it makes sense to focus on how. For example, when someone screams when they should be quiet, or when they speak surprisingly squeaky even though they are muscled.

If you don't believe it, then count in popular novels how often it says “said” on two or three pages. If you still dislike writing "said" so often, then wait and see point 10. :-)

And a dialogue tip on the edge: You can not smile or laugh a little, these are not verbs of saying.

Wrong : "That's nice," she smiled.

Right : "That's nice." She smiled.

6. Subtext

Subtext for good dialogues

Subtext is what is between the lines. So what is meant but not spoken. A great tool for manipulating characters, but also for creating misunderstandings and complications.

Subtext examples are something like:

“Don't you think there is a draft here?” From a

formal point of view, the statement is: I think there is a draft. And the question: you too?

The subtext could be: "Please close the window".

Another subtext example:

"I'm going for a walk now." Clear statement.

The subtext could be: "Your last chance to come! Come on, make up your mind and come with us ! "

Subtexts are also wonderful to observe during interrogations in crime novels. In the case of the classic, the subtext is sometimes pronounced by the interrogated person:

“Where were you on Friday at 1pm?”

“How, am I a suspect now? Do you suspect me? ”

Here the interrogated person interprets the subtext in the question and sees himself as suspected.

In romance novels, a dialogue with subtext can lead to complications because what was said using subtext unfortunately did not reach the recipient.

Subtext enriches dialogues immensely, makes them exciting and spicy.


Subtext exercise : Try to make yourself aware in novels and also in films what the message in a dialogue is and what was actually meant.

You are also welcome to check the dialogue you have already written to see whether you are using subtext.

You can practice subtext by considering in advance what your character "actually" wants, but why it is not addressing it directly. Often, however, someone also believes that they have already clearly said what they want, even though it was only hinted at. According to the motto "I said that!" (but actually she only meant it, not said it!). So what does your character want and how does she end up saying it?

7. Drama, Baby! 

Good dialogues have a purpose and conflict

I'm exaggerating:

"Good morning." His grin hung cold on his face.

"Tomorrow." She should have climbed out the bathroom window. Why was she down? But she already knew the answer. She still couldn't believe what had happened yesterday.

"Do you like an egg?"

She held her breath . "Better not today. Thank you, ”she pressed out. He knew she was highly allergic to egg white. Now she was sure; she'd have better escaped the bathroom window.

Oh, by the way, by conflict I don't necessarily mean World War III or a death threat. A conflict is a goal with obstacles. So always ask yourself what is your character's goal here and what is standing in their way. Then you can easily find the conflicts.

8. Boring?

No boring exchange of blows, but rather pushing the action forward

This brings us to the 8th point, which could also mean: delete any superfluous dialogue .

How do you recognize unnecessary dialogue now? Stroke it (haha) then you know! If nothing is missing, it remains deleted. If something is missing, then still ask yourself whether you really need the dialogue or whether a summary would not be better.

Instead of a long exchange of blows in which two characters try to find an appointment, you can also write briefly: It took a full hour until Melanie finally gave in and agreed to an appointment on Thursday.

There would even be a conflict, but the dialog about finding an appointment would not have driven the action. Good dialogue should always do that! (Ok., Sometimes dialogue is only allowed to characterize or entertain one character if it's funny.)

In order to write really interesting dialogues, you have to make sure that the dialogues always have to do with your story and keep it going. If your story is about solving a murder, then the dialogue shouldn't be about the six-year-old detective's swimming lessons. Unless it's a detective tactic and has something to do with the case again.


Dialogues bring variety and liveliness to a text. However, avoid long exchanges of blows and occasionally add a narrative text.

I also find the quote from Elke Bockamp in an interview at the 1st Online Authors ' Fair on the subject of "Writing interesting dialogues" very nice :


9. Pack the information

Do not put any information waste in the dialog!

Please never use rash dialogues to convey information to the reader. In the vast majority of cases this seems totally unnatural and the reader can sense the intention of the author. So all reading pleasure is in the bucket.

It reads like an American commercial show.

Here is an example of bad dialogue:

“Oh look, Wiebke. If I pull the lever here, a wheel will move up there. ”

“ Wow Richard, that's exciting! ”

“ Wiebke, there, there! Now the belt is loosening! ”

“ No! ”

“ Yes! ”(Ok., I'm exaggerating ;-))


If the reader absolutely has to know how the machine works for the course of the story, either wrap the topic in a conflict or sum it up.

You could create a conflict if you let Richard try to explain the machine to his boss because his job depends on it. He has been able to improve it, which his boss has not yet understood. His boss, however, thinks that Richard is to blame for the slow production.

A summary, however, could be as follows: Richard pulled the lever as he did every morning. The machine rattled off, the gear loosened the belt and production started. Richard knew every mechanism inside the box by heart. ...

10. The supreme discipline

The stage action for the perfect dialogue

Now my absolute favorite tip!

Slightly concise: when you write a script, you almost always write dialogue. But the viewer will see a lot more, namely also the stage equipment and, above all, the acting of the actor - that's what I call the “stage action”. These are all things that you, as a novelist, have to write in your story in order for the reader to start “ mental cinema ”. Perhaps that now seems like a lot of work to you, but that's exactly what makes writing a novel so appealing, doesn't it? You can also use it for the supreme discipline in dialogue writing :

Do not write who is saying something (he said), but show what he is doing!

So you save yourself the eternal "said" and show the reader what is happening where. The reader also automatically knows who has just spoken.

Tatata! The perfect solution!


Would you like a dialogue example?

"Where's the bitch?" Asked Sabine and rummaged through her handbag.

"Now take it easy!" Replied Anton and rolled a cigarette.


Sabine rummaged through her handbag for the car key. “Where's the bitch?”

“Now take it easy!” Anton leaned against the car and started rolling a cigarette.

Not an award-winning text, but you can see that you can do without any verbs of saying if you let the characters act and insert that before or after what is spoken. You can kill a lot of birds with just one stone! Wonderful!

Dialogue exercise : Cross out the verbs of the saying and insert action (if you haven't already done it).

These were the 10 most important tips for writing good dialogues.

It's best to choose one tip after the other and set about checking and revising your previous dialogue. Then it will soon be easy for you to write really good dialogue too.

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