on Fiction University:
Have you ever written a scene where two characters argue, but it just seems to fall flat? Have you ever felt like a dialogue scene never sizzles, no matter how much conflict you pump into it?
Your story might have a bad case of character bickering. By that I mean that the characters are arguing, maybe insulting one another, but the conflict doesn’t really show who they are as people.
Bickering feels bratty and shallow. True character conflict feels much deeper and more gripping.
If you suspect that your characters might be bickering, don’t worry. The bad news is that it will take a little bit of digging and brainstorming to fix the problem. The good news is that there is a solution. Three of them, in fact.