You probably have a pretty good idea of what mastering dialogue could do for your writing. If you write short stories or novels, you want your characters to captivate and convince the reader. Those characters come to life—or fail to—when they speak. 

Crisp, revealing dialogue that fits naturally into the mouth of its speaker is something most serious writers work hard to achieve.  

You may not know that many literary agents and acquisitions editors skip to the first dialogue passage when they’re “sniffing” manuscripts to determine what’s going to make it into the briefcase for reading. But understanding the importance of superb dialogue doesn’t automatically translate into writing it superbly. 

The reality is that nothing translates automatically into the creation of superb dialogue—not even, necessarily, that brilliant, tone-perfect “ear for dialogue” few writers are blessed with. Writing superb dialogue starts with superb characterization—it takes complex, distinctive, interesting people to have interesting things to say to each other, to speak with snap and bite and occasional wit. Such characters can only be created by a writer of some intelligence and imagination. So it follows that if you have strong characters, the chances are that you can create strong dialogue for them. If you know what its components are, you can take steps to make sure your dialogue hits the mark.