As with character, so with dialogue — it is not actual speech. You edit out the nonessentials — the you knows, the likes, the ers and ums.
It’s also not a matter of lengthy set piece speeches — convert lengthy stuff to indirect dialogue (ie, narrative paraphrasing). Especially if you want to convey something about the character that he would not blurt out about himself. When a character can’t say what he wants to say, you’ve got a nice bit of conflictedness.
Cut away from the dialogue to show detail of action, setting, character.
Stylize your characters’ ways of speaking — a character may speak in short bursts, or may repeat certain catch phrases, or use fanciful constructions, or rhetorical questions — you pick what fits the character.
Dialogue is always part of a scene, and what is at the heart of every scene? Conflict. Every dialogue is a conflict, overt or subtle, inner or outer.
Dialogue tags —
Simple: he said, she asked, he told her, she wanted to know. Don’t use grumbled, hissed, stated, expostulated, purred.
Adverbial — he said, sadly. Don’t do this. The emotional tone of the line should be clear from the words themselves and the situation of the characters.
Accompanying action — “Give me that,” he said, his hand closing around the barrel of the gun.
Cueing action. She closed her eyes, and said, “I can’t bear this.”
Contradicting action. “You want a drink?” he said, but he didn’t move the bottle more than an inch toward me.
“I’m glad to see you,” I lied.
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