I love everything about dialogue. I love reading it, I love writing it, and I flat-out adore hearing beautifully-scripted dialogue in films and television. When I’m writing first draft material, I fill pages and pages with nothing but dialogue (which reads like some floating heads jabbering away because I’ve forgotten to put in any physical details or action).
I know plenty of writers who don’t feel this way, though, and it doesn’t matter one whit. We all have our strengths and weaknesses: It’s knowing your own weaknesses and being willing to work on them that will lift your work to the next level.
Truly, the best advice for writing dialogue is the same as for writing anything else; you just do it. Make yourself write lots and lots of the stuff, even if the results are awkward and unusable; practice, practice, practice.
The other thing to remember is that you’re not trying to mirror the way people talk in real life. If you write dialogue the way people really talk, you’ll end up with unreadable nonsense full of filler words (such as ‘um’ and ‘er’), repetition and boring chitchat. You should aim, instead, for the illusion of reality.
Here are some tips for writing great dialogue: