Twitter Dialogue Clinic

When social media isn't being perverted to censor dissidents and manipulate elections, it sometimes achieves its intended purpose of bringing people who share common interests together. Occasionally you even see useful ideas being exchanged.

A case in point recently occurred on Twitter, where a number of award-winning and best selling science fiction authors held an impromptu clinic on writing dialogue. Yours truly even chimed in at the end.

Dialogue 1

Dialogue 2

Dialogue 3

Root out "As you know, Jim" maid and butler dialogue. Your sentences work for you. Put them on double duty. Following these rules will give your writing a significant leg up on the dreary workshopped prose that NY publishers are trying to pass off as cutting edge sci-fi these days.


  1. Every sentence in a story matters, dialogue included. Cut the fat.

    Honestly, I think Whedon did the most damage in the area of dialogue. Look at how many modern SFF books are advertised as "comedic" or "funny" and are nothing of the sort. They rely on irreverent dialogue and snark among characters which end up slowing down the plot, or stopping it entirely. All this is done in order to get an audience reaction outside of the story itself.

    It also gives many the false impression that Whedon dialogue is actually realistic when it is anything but that. Unless you're a snide preteen girl, anyway. Nobody actually talks like that.

    Just have the characters talk like normal people and you will quickly realize what the audience needs to hear and what can be skimmed over.

    I realize this whole post was a tangent, but I think it needed to be stated.

    1. Dialogue should not emulate real-life conversation. It should be the "best-of" real-life conversation.

  2. This really useful advice and readily applicable. Question: why would writers write dialogue between husband/wife or lovers to convey conflict? Tension I understand but conflict?


  3. Mr. Niemeier, I believe we've crossed paths from time to time on Mr. Wright's blog. You may know this already, but I have a YouTube channel where, in addition to airing thoughts on politics and culture, I also perform poems and hold discussions on those poems with some friends.

    We've been joined by John C. Wright and Tom Simon for some of these discussions, and I thought you might be interested in joining us as well some time. If so, I can e-mail you with further details, including upcoming poems. Thanks.

    Here's an example, if you're curious: https://youtu.be/dSOi8cg1CiE

  4. I am curious to find out what blog system you’re using? I’m experiencing some small security problems with my latest blog and I’d like to find something more safeguarded. Do you have any recommendations? Insta profile