For me, one on the most enjoyable aspects of writing is dialogue. However, this is not true for all writers. Many struggle with conversations between their characters resulting in too much narrative. Not that narrative isn’t good (as well as necessary) but too much of one thing is seldom productive.
There are several reasons why dialogue is so important in writing: it breaks up the narrative, helps with characterization, gives the reader insight into the character, and makes the story real and believable.
The human eye needs white space when reading. All narrative is not only boring but tedious to read as well. Injecting dialogue into the story breaks up the never ending line of sentences and gives the eye a much needed break. It also keeps the reader engaged and interested in the story. It keeps them turning the pages.
Dialogue can be used to describe a character, their looks, their background and/or their past without being an info dump. For example, in my book, The Adventures of Dixie Dandelion, my character, Big Mike talks about Dixie this way: “I expected a wee snip of a shy girl. You neglected to tell me she’d be a stick of dynamite with a fuse of wild, scarlet hair.” In two sentences the reader discovers that Dixie is far from being shy, she’s spontaneous and explosive, and has red hair.
How characters talk is also a great way to describe their background. For example, In Soldiers in the Mist, my character Charlie is well educated while his friend, Specks never learned to read or write. Charlie would say: “I have none,” while Specks would say, “I ain’t got none.”
Using certain words and phrases in dialogue is yet another way to describe your character. Big Mike is Irish. Using phrases such as, “Top of the morning to ye, or Tis a big shillelagh ye have there,” tells his nationality and adds flavor to the story.
Dialogue is nothing more than two or more people talking. If I ever get stuck in not knowing what to say, I act out the scene and just say what comes to mind. Sometimes I have a friend help me with this.
People talk. So do your characters. Sometimes their conversations can surprise you and can turn the story in a whole different direction. Be brave. Write their words.
Give your readers something to talk about!