on Fiction University:
Make sure your dialogue is helping your story, not chasing readers away.
I read a lot of first drafts, and one area that frequently needs work is the dialogue. It’s understandable since we often need to write the dialogue before we know what the character’s voice sounds like. Think of it as placeholder dialogue—it’s there to remind us what the character needs to say, but it might not be the way they ought to say it.
For example, the character might be too formal, or say something too on-the-nose about how they feel, or they sound like every other character in the room. The dialogue is more “this is the information the character needs to convey” and less “this is what the character says based on how they feel right now.”
As long as we revise that dialogue later, there’s no problem. But when we forget, we wind up with dialogue that’s full of flaws and doesn’t serve the story. Which isn’t good, since…