Fiction Writing help: How Do I Write Great Dialogue?

If you get in the way of your characters, they won’t sound and feel like real people. This article gives specific tips for developing a good ear for how people really speak. You also get a sneak peek at my work in progress, THey All Died Smiling #dialogue #WritingSkills

(NOTE: Post updated to add new material to aid with dialogue writing).

I love writing dialogue! The characters speak and I take dictation. At least, that's how it feels to me. Here is a snippet of dialogue from my work in progress, They All Died Smiling. Kassidy, a writer/demon hunter, talks with her friend Floyd:

While finishing an assignment for the paper, I dialed my phone. “Floyd, I’m borrowing your studio for a half hour this afternoon, OK? Thanks. I appreciate it.”

“Uh…you’re welcome. Thanks for asking ahead of time.” I heard the smile in his voice and imagined him brushing a stray lock of blond hair out of those eyes that look like the sea.

“My pleasure. You won’t be in the throes of artistic fervor this afternoon. You will be at the gallery for your viewing.”

“You truly are a mess, Kass. It’s a showing, not a viewing. A viewing is what they do for dead bodies.”

Floyd was a good verbal sparring partner; I let him tease me in honor of our first meeting. I made that faux pas for real when interviewing him for a story about green pottery. Having come right from a wake to the gallery, I accidentally used the wrong word.

“Floyd, just the reception room, not the part full of your cherished creations. And I promise to make it up to you.”

“Ooh, that should be fun. I’ll hold you to it. You owe me big time for using my space.”

“Yes, I do.” My face flushed. “Sell lots of pots.”

“It’s a good thing you put an s on that.”

So many authors I know struggle with dialogue. Maybe I as a blind person have a distinct advantage over you sighted people, because I pay so mush attention to what I hear.

What's at the Root of Dialogue Problems?

My observations tell me that problems with dialogue come from 2 main issues with writing dialogue:

Dialogue Problems

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