bibisco Novel Writing Software


How to Create Realistic Dialogues in a Novel

In the previous articles, we wrote something interesting about dialogues.

We now know what their functions are and what a subtext is. A short tip: if you lost them, you can get these fundamental points back thanks to our Dialogue Series.

But how can you create realistic dialogues?

First things first, a clarification needs to be done. There is a difference between dialogues in real life and dialogues in fiction.

Let’s see it in detail.

What are realistic dialogues?

Dialogues in fiction have to be realistic, not real.

When you read a dialogue that sounds like a real and natural conversation, you easily understand that this is realistic.

Each line of dialogue must pass a piece of information, implicit or explicit. The reader intuits implicit information, and words do not express it. On the contrary, explicit information is clearly declared.

Taking inspiration from a spoken dialogue or a real conversation is never a good idea because this risks misleading the structure of realistic dialogues.

To create realistic dialogues, you need to understand their opposite: real-life dialogues.

What are real-life dialogues?

Have you ever noticed a non-realistic dialogue? It may happen in novels but also in movies or plays of poor quality.

You can recognize artificial dialogues by their unrealistic nature. They seem more forced ways of speaking that make everything unrealistic, fake, and also a bit irritating.

On the other hand, in real life, dialogues have some characteristics:

  • They are full of interruptions, repetitions, and digressions.
  • Most of the time, the goal is to pass the time.
  • They are based on topics of minor importance.

Starting from the first bullet point, try this simple exercise: record a dialogue between two people in your daily life and write it down. You will see many pauses of digression words that, in a fiction dialogue, there cannot be.

Translating an oral dialogue into a written one for a novel makes it unbelievable and unadventurous.

Moreover, most of the time, the goal of dialogue in real life is just to pass the time. We often chat with someone at the bar, at the bus stop, or in the queue at the supermarket checkout.

This kind of dialogue is mostly based on worthless topics such as the weather, the latest news, or about seasons in general.

How to create realistic dialogues in a story

#1 Way of speaking

The way of speaking has to be consistent with the character. A dialogue must respect the character’s knowledge, age, and education.

Moreover, dialogue needs to reflect time and space. Think about a character who lives in a little town in West Virginia in 1800. We can easily imagine that this dialogue would have been entirely different from one of a boy born in New York City in 2000.

So, always respect the portrait of your character, even including the behavior and the social environment.

#2 Indirect dialogues

Properly use direct and indirect dialogues.

The first is a typical conversation between two or more people, with a call and response. On the contrary, the second one reports what happened in a conversation without an exchange of words.

You can use direct dialogues to put the accent on some relevant event. This way, you can create the proper tension between the characters involved in the conversation, catching the reader’s attention.

On the other hand, you can reserve the indirect dialogue to describe a less relevant event or something that is not so essential. For example, you can create an indirect dialogue to write about a scene that aims to enrich the narration but is not so significant for the story.

#3 Enrich with details

In general, details are not to be underestimated. And they have not even to be in dialogues.

Think about a dialogue interrupted by the description of characters who nervously bite their fingernails. What does this detail reveal to the reader? That these characters have something to hide or that they know a truth not yet shown in the story.

Besides this, details in dialogues have the role of enlivening the conversation and the reader.

#4 Alternate dialogues with descriptions

A very long dialogue without a description does not engage the readers but bores them and does not reflect the characteristics of a realistic dialogue.

Adding descriptive elements not only enriches the narrative but also provides essential context, allowing readers to immerse themselves more fully in the scene and better understand the characters’ emotions, motivations, and surroundings.

#5 Convey information between characters not to the reader

Dialogue serves to convey information between characters within the story, not directly to the reader.

By maintaining this perspective, you can ensure that characters only express thoughts and details relevant to their interactions, avoiding redundant or unnecessary exposition. This approach maintains the integrity of the dialogue and keeps the narrative focused and engaging for the reader.

Dialogue should simply be a sound among other sounds, just something that comes out of the mouths of people whose eyes tell the story in visual terms.

Alfred Hitchcock

bibisco helps you to create realistic dialogues

As we have seen, there are some essential things to remember to create realistic dialogues. A non-realistic dialogue taken from real life can risk spoiling the narrative, making the conversation bland to the reader to the point of not continuing reading.

With bibisco novel writing software, you can find the right way to create authentic, realistic dialogues and involve your reader.

How to create realistic dialogues? bibisco's characters' section - bibisco blog | useful resources by your novel writing software
bibisco character’s conflict section


To create realistic dialogues, one of the most important things is to understand the difference between a real-life dialogue and a realistic one, which is intended to give information to the protagonists, make the narrative exciting and lively, and encourage the reader to read the story in one go.

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