Dialogue in Novels

It’s that time of the week – Discussion Tuesday.

From those who are new, each week I post a topic (relevant to my WIP) and try to unravel the mysteries and perspectives of it.
Last weeks topic was Information Dumps, it wasn’t as engaging as the week prior (Profanity in novels) nevertheless it still attracted some engagement. But if you did missed out you can contribute on the link above.

For now, this week’s topic is:


I think writing dialogue isn’t about replicating a real-life conversation. It’s about giving an impression of it  and improving on it.
Some real-life conversations can lead nowhere but as readers we don’t what to read about nothing, we need conflict and motivation in dialogue.

Give the characters conflicting goals – one of them wants one thing, the other something else. Even if it doesn’t end in a shouting match here and now, the underlying tension will be all you need to keep the readers turning those pages. And when characters have conflicting goals, consequences are sure to follow later in the novel.

Sometimes a simple exchange of information between characters will be exactly what is required.

Your dialogue, therefore, should advance the plot in some way

But for the most part, go for tension and disagreement and conflict between the characters.

How do you create effective dialogue?

Post your comments and answers below. If you think someone has an interesting point of view and answer, please invite them or share this post to them.

#DWTSmith #dialogue

13 thoughts on “Dialogue in Novels

  1. Dialogue is one of my favorite parts of any WIP! I think effective dialogue has the elements of “sounding” completely natural without all the ums, wells, and boring bits normal speech. I also have a strict rule against any info dumps in dialogue.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is one of my favourite as well. The ability to move plots and show character motives through their voice is a magic.
      Info dumps in dialogue is tough, for experienced writers that should be invisible to the readers

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on kirstwrites and commented:
    Some interesting thoughts on the function of dialogue in fiction. It’s something I always enjoy writing, but always seems to sprawl out of control: I like the suggestion that it should be an improvement on, not a mirror of real life conversation, and serve to advance the plot. What do you think?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for re-blogging 👍
      I love the idea of improving real-life conversations because sometimes day-to-day talk goes nowhere.
      As creators of worlds and characters, we too should conjure meaningful conversations that amplify plots and characters motivations.


  3. Personally, I read my dialogue out loud to make sure it flows, or I’ll have someone else read it. As for the ums and ah’s etc. I use them sparingly and are usually character specific. I think it’s important to give characters… character and have their dialogue style reflect who they are realistically but not real-world everyday conversation. Nobody wants to read about the mundane things they talk about with coworkers or how heavy the traffic was on the drive to work. I pick up a book to read stimulating dialogue that has a plot driven purpose and I want it to be interesting. I agree with not dumping information via dialogue, that’s what the narrative is for.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not a fan of the ums and ahs, using dialogue tags sparingly and effectively show your writing skill.
      Dialogue in novels need to warrant why it’s present. Sometimes the narrative info dump can be overloading for readers, I think combining conflict with info dumps and dialogue create an intrigue scene for readers to want more. What do you think?


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