How to use dialogue to move your story forward

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Dialogue is one of the things your readers will enjoy about your book. That’s because two or more people telling the story is easier to read than a boring narration that does the same thing.

Use dialogue to tell your story

Give your readers the story via the characters. Let the characters speak for themselves to tell your readers what’s going on.

Some examples:

“I didn’t go to the store last night because my car broke down on the side of the road.”


“I saw your boss hit on your wife last night.”

This is telling information to your reader but not in narrative voice but in the fun, humanistic voice of your character. Doesn’t that sound a lot better than:

Sam ended up not going to the store last night because he was having some engine trouble and had to pull over to the side of the road.


Justin runs out of the office shaking his head. He couldn’t believe he saw his friend’s boss hitting on his friend’s wife.

The point of using dialogue to tell your story is to show the emotion of the character, see their voice and their mood and to also move the story along. Dialogue story moving will push your story forward with all the given benefits.

Show Don’t Tell

  • Let your dialogue show the mood of your characters

If your character is saying something that’s really important to them you want to be sure his words match his emotion.

Example: “I freakin’ hate this stupid house!” Alicia says to her mom before storming off.

You can see the emotion the character feels for the house without saying Alicia hates the house. The dialogue speaks for itself.

  • Use strong verbs and adjectives


Words that add detailed images that your reader can see in their minds such as: snatched, choked, grinned, threw, took, pinched, pretend, screamed, etc.


Example: “Mom, I just got suspended from school because I was only pretending to listen to the teacher talk and she caught me pinching Sally’s arm in class.”


Can’t you picture a kid teasing another kid by pinching them? Can’t you imagine the student only pretending to listen to their teacher? And this dialogue tells the story without narration.


  • Act like you’re talking to a friend


You want your dialogue to sound realistic to your readers so if you’re having a hard time, try pretending like you’re writing to a friend. But using your character’s voice.


What would you say to your friend if you had something to tell them? How would you say it? What words would you use?

Remember: Dialogue is an ongoing skill and the more characters you create the more it feels like you’re starting from scratch to get their dialogue down pack.

But keep writing dialogue and let your characters’ voice be heard.

I thank you for taking the time to read this article on dialogue. Please feel free to share what you think of dialogue story moving in the comments.

Happy Writing,


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About the Author

Shaquanda Dalton

Hello, my name is Shaquanda Dalton and welcome to! I'm from Milwaukee, Wisconsin and graudated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a degree in Creative Writing. I fell in love with writing at the age nine and love it till this day. :)


  1. Sequau Malone

    Awesome explanation. A middle school kid can write dialogue now. Thanks!