What makes dialogue good? What kind of lines do you remember–quote often?
Before you can make dialogue good and believable, you have to know your characters. What makes them tick? Do they have a phrase they say often? Are they serious? Sarcastic–if so what kind of sarcasm do they use? Humorous, mocking, snide? Are they whimsical? Aloof? Are they witty, shy, dry?
Once you know who your characters are, how they think, what drives them, motivates them, moves them, then you’re ready to make them talk!
Dialogue comes naturally for some, while for others it’s difficult. I’m one of those writers. It just flows smoothly, I don’t have to think about what my characters are going to say. They tell me. Loudly. But then, I have to think about the senses around me. I have to work at that.
Dialogue doesn’t always need a tag.
If your characters are bantering, you don’t have to put in a “she said, he said” every time. It will flow smoother, deliver the tone you’re going for and engage the reader. Here’s an example of bogged down dialogue tags: