When youâ€™re first getting out that conversation, let it spill. Donâ€™t worry about refining your dialogue yet. Let characters have small talk. Let them go off on what may or may not be a tangent. Donâ€™t worry if someone is repeating or taking too long to explain. Go ahead and use words like â€œOkay, I suppose, Of course, Anyway, Yes, No, Umm, Well…”
“Oh, would you mind terribly if I asked you to refill the ice cube tray?”
“Of course, Iâ€™d be happy to. Itâ€™s not like I have anything else to do. When is that Yankee game over? Maybe we should buy another TV. Iâ€™d really like a 46 inch flat screen. I wonder if any are on sale. Iâ€™ll go look online.
â€œThanks, I really need more ice, so I appreciate it.â€
â€œNo, please, not a problem. I love being at your beck and call, especially when Iâ€™m missing Top Chef.â€
THEN GO BACK AND TRIM
Almost all those â€œword stuttersâ€ that help get your character talking should be cut. Also get rid of small talk and anything else that isnâ€™t necessary to the story. Go for tight, crisp talk. For the sake of example, Iâ€™m going to go to an extreme with my trimming here.
â€œWill you refill the ice cube tray?â€™
â€œDonâ€™t mention it.â€
This is my favorite tip because itâ€™s counter-intuitive. Dialogue sounds more natural if itâ€™s refined down to being unnaturally brief, clean, and distilled.
AVOID USING DIRECT NAME REFERENCES
â€œGreg, will you refill the ice cube tray?”
â€œIâ€™d be happy to, Lisa.â€
â€œThank you, Greg.â€
â€œWill that be all, Lisa?
â€œYes. Oh, and Greg?â€
â€œYouâ€™re wonderful. I really mean it.â€
â€œThank you, Greg. Youâ€™re wonderful too.â€