Welcome to the course on writing dialogue. If you’ve read my other writing courses, you know I’d normally start by explaining I teach a little differently (in a practical, more useful way) and then a chapter defining what exactly I mean with Plot, or Character, or whatever.

Not this time!

Dialogue needs no lengthy explanation. It’s a conversation between at least two people. Anytime characters in your story directly communicate with each other (in whatever way), it’s dialogue.

It’s one of the four tools a writer has to convey information:

  • Dialogue
  • Description
  • Beats (or action)
  • Introspection (only really possible in novels)

It’s perhaps the most important one to master. Especially if you’re writing a screenplay (and not a novel), you’ll have to rely on dialogue for almost all exposition. Moreover, people are naturally attuned to dialogue and know what it should sound like. If you execute it poorly, your dialogue quickly feels stiff and unnatural, breaking immersion.

I do want to make a clear distinction between dialogue and monologue. For many, a monologue just means somebody is speaking on their own. You really only see this in theatre. Most people, in real life, do not talk to themselves all the time. As such, it’s highly recommended to not add monologues all over the place in your story.

This is a rather vague definition, however. Writers often joke about villain monologues in superhero movies. The villain just talks and talks, explaining their whole plan and motivation for no reason, while the superhero just … waits.

Yes, there is an intended target. There is somebody else in the room. But they’re not participating in the conversation, and that’s the major difference.

A dialogue means multiple characters participate in the same conversation.

As we get further into this course, you’ll see why this is so important. Dialogues are at their best when structured like a mini-story, where one character wants something, and the other character is the obstacle standing in their way. This can’t happen if only one person participates in the conversation!

Next chapter will talk about how to write down dialogue. Not only a very useful skill to learn first, but also necessary to allow me to give examples of dialogue.

Then I’ll talk about the many tips, tricks and ideas behind writing good (or bad) dialogue. These go from “most important, but most abstract” to “less important, but very specific tips”.

I do not provide a list of practical challenges or exercises. Because the exercise is always the same: with every book you write, you get numerous chances to practice writing dialogue. And because every book has different characters, you are naturally forced to approach the dialogue in a different way each time.

Additionally, every day of your life, you can listen to how others talk. That’s how most writers find unique verbal quirks or amazing quotes.

So just keep reading, writing and living amongst a variety of people—that’s the best dialogue training you’ll ever find.

Let’s get started!


If you haven’t yet, I recommend reading the Storytelling course first. It’s a practical guide for beginners that talks about the entire process of writing a book from start to finish. Where possible, it links to more specific courses such as Plot, Character, Worldbuilding, or this one.

Continue with this course
Support me and this website!

Want to support me?

Buy one of my projects. You get something nice, I get something nice.

Donate through a popular platform using the link below.

Simply giving feedback or spreading the word is also worth a lot.