How to Craft Snappy Dialogue in Your Writing

DON’T write a conversation to fill up white space. Always, always, always avoid dull dialogue. Look at every sentence. Do you need it there? Who wants to read:

“Matt this is Shelly, Daniel, Natalie and Phillip. Karen, you know Taylor, William and Randy.”


Blah!

Your readers are smart. Don’t lose their respect by repeating information. DON’T write:

Joanne looked around, proud to be a Cancer survivor. She stepped to the podium and spoke into the microphone. “Hello, I’m Joanne and I’m proud to be a Cancer survivor.”

Does your dialogue have meaning? If it’s just banter then dump it. It’s not relevant or even vital to your story.

DON’T bore your readers. Get rid of:

“What are you watching on TV?”
“Just a show.”
“What type of show?”
“Just something I ran across, flipping through the channels.”


Spice it up a little bit. Try:

“What are you watching?”
“Just a show.”
“Geez, that’s porn!”
“I was bored.”


And DON’T use modifiers after every piece of dialogue. Like:

“Have you heard from the doctor?” he said as he sat on the couch.
“Not yet,” she said, sliding into the easy chair.
“Maybe he’ll call soon.” He twittled his thumbs.
“Maybe.” She crossed her legs.


Reading this type of dialogue throughout a story can be quite tiring. DO use these descriptors every now and then, though, to enhance your story.

Finally, DO let narrative and dialogue share the spotlight. You could say:

I couldn’t read the name on the door but I knew it was my doctor’s office. “I’m here for my test results.”
The nurse showed me to an examination room. Five minutes later, Dr. Jones came in.
“Mrs. Cramer. I think you should sit down.”

Never force your dialogue. If you’re dialogue doesn’t flow smoothly and naturally, the reader will be able to spot it immediately and your plot line will stall completely.