We love to read novels that feature realistic and heartfelt conversations.
So, as writers, how do we make sure those conversations are genuine and interesting enough to keep readers invested?
Listed below are three tips that may help!
Each character should have a unique voice
Make sure each character’s word choice and perspective represent their specific background and culture. Someone who grew up poor in Louisiana is going to speak differently from someone who grew up in wealthy in Manhattan, New York. Each character's voice should be so strong that readers can tell who is speaking, without even seeing the tag.
Avoid dumping backstory into conversations
Dialogue is not a great time to tell the audience all about the novel's backstory. While it’s okay to pepper a little bit of backstory into conversation here and there, the majority of the dialogue should be future-focused. This helps to keep the story moving forward. That said, there are occasions when moving forward requires taking a deep dive into the past. These can be approached creativly. Perhaps a section of the book can be entitled "Twenty Years Ago" and take the reader back in time by literally putting them in the setting that occurred years ago. It's just that we have to be careful with trying to attempt this via dialogue. We don’t want characters to spout endless monologues about events that happened in the past. When that happens, it can be very boring and even confusing to the reader.
Add some action to your dialogue
People aren’t always just sitting or standing directly across from each other and speaking. We’re sometimes at work, in the middle of answering ringing phones, eating, cleaning, or taking care of a hyperactive pet. So, spice up the dialogue by directing the characters into a setting where they’re actively doing things!
I hope those three suggestions come in handy as you're crafting/editing your novel!