Every fiction writer knows dialogue is an important (some would say the most important) element in their storytelling. Here are a few pointers I've picked up from people far more clever than me.
- Look over your manuscript for places emotion is expressed outside of your dialogue. The odds are that those emotions are actually explanations of one type or another. See how the dialogue reads without it. If it doesn't read well, you may need to improve your dialogue.
- Do you need every one of those 'he said/she said's? You might not.
- Do you refer to your character in the same way throughout the scene? Or is it 'Charlie said' and then 'Mr. Bopper said' and then 'Chuck said'?
- Check those adverbs. Do you need them? And (in my opinion) the answer to some of them might be 'yes'.
- Read your dialogue out loud. It's the best way to discover if it's sounding too formal.
- Dialogue can smoothed and polished to the point where your character's voice is lost. Beware.
- Is that awkward dialogue really disguised exposition?
What's your best tip for creating effective dialogue?