How to Write Dialogue for Romantic Novels?

Dearest aspiring romance fiction authors! Today we will discuss one of the most challenging, unavoidable aspects of fiction book publishing: Dialogue! The best way to become a bestseller in romantic novel fiction is by conquering the art of writing scintillating dialogue.

Dialogue and Its Multiple Roles 

Dialogue should be natural and must sound realistic, but it is not necessarily real speech. In reality, most of us talk at the speed of sound, trip over words, and use many fillers. But if a hero spoke to his heroine that way, it would be a horror book. 

In romantic novel fiction, every dialogue adds an impression of the character. The right dialogue can simply characterize your hero, heroine, and even the villain. 

For instance, a brooding, rakish, confident duke might dominate a conversation with very few words. A daring heroine who doesn’t walk the usual path may be feisty in her speech. 

Characterization of Characters 

The character’s past and back story will also affect their conversion. Dialogue is often the fastest way to speed things up in a relationship or story without lengthy descriptions. 

For example, here’s a romantic banter between Nicholas and Douglas after their unexpected first kiss (A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux).

Douglas bubbling with anger, said, “Listen mister! You overrate your charms by long shot. You don’t know what women are here. Any liberated woman could live in the same house with you and not fall for you. We don’t like conceited, puffed-up peacocks like you.”

Nicholas – “Oh?” one eyebrow raised. “It is just you who is different then. In three days’ time, you kissed me.”

Douglas – “For your information, I was trying to settle you down after the nightmare. I thought I was comforting you.”

Nicholas grinned, “Comfort? You may comfort me all morning if you wish.”

Save it for your future wife, Douglas glared. Now, will you get out of my way? I need to get dressed for my Monday meeting.”

 “You are angry at me that I kissed you?” Nicholas put his hand on her arm.

Douglas became anxious. “I am angry at you because……because ……I am not angry at you at all,” she sighed and added. “I am mad at myself. I guess you are a rebound. I thought maybe you could replace Robert and my feelings for him. I couldn’t help myself.”

Nicholas – “Yes, I understand,” and then with a twinkling eye, “I know I am hard to resist. It is as the guide said. No woman can think clearly when I am near them. You know I make you feel things”

From the above example, you will learn much about the characters, their mindset, emotional state, background, and comfort zone. 

In spite of being strangers, Nicholas and Douglas are comfortable with each other as they aren’t afraid to tell what they think. Nicholas is charming, funny, and calm. He understands her and doesn’t take the “rebound” thing as an insult. 

Douglas is a strong woman, sensitive, and cares for him despite her recent heartbreak. And somewhere, they both know this. 

Background Story or Exposition 

Exposition or background description is another purpose of dialogue. Since you cannot give readers all the information to understand a story up front, dialogue can effectively give material about context and plot in critical places. 

For example, the heroine may learn about her cheating fiancé by overhearing the lobby staff, or the hero might be told about his destiny when he visits a town clairvoyant. Later on in the story, the heroine might express her fear of heights when the hero takes her on a heli-ski adventure, and when the hero has a heart-to-heart with the heroine, he learns that she also had visited the same town mystic last year. 

Dialogue in romantic Novel fiction book publishing breaks the monotony of extended prose, passages, and narration. It gives your readers something concrete for imagination, be it the character’s voice, mood, or situation. 

Different Types of Dialogue 

Writers for self-publishing employ these types of dialogue in romantic novel fiction book writing. 

Inner Dialogue: When characters converse with themselves or someone else inside their head.

Outer Dialogue: Dialogue that happens between two or more characters externally. 

Monologues: One character speaking directly to the reader, or viewers, internally or externally, to another person. It is where the characters express their thoughts and get their spotlight. 

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Applying Dialogues to Romantic Novel Fiction Writing

You must take care of a few things when writing and formatting dialogue for self-publishing. We have listed the guideline, dos and don’ts, and how to write dialogue for romantic novels below. 

Romance Novel Dialogue Writing Guidelines 

Use double quotation marks (“Hi”) in US English and single quotation marks (‘Aye’) in UK English.

“All punctuations must be inside the quotation marks, like this sentence.”

Every time a new character speaks, it will be a new paragraph. Quotations inside dialogue should be single quotations in US English and double quotations in UK English. 

If the dialogue extends to two paragraphs, do not close quotation marks at the end of the first paragraph. Use quotation marks at the beginning of the first and second paras and the end of the second paragraph. 

Use an em dash when you have to add interruption. Example: “I think that is –“ “Oh my, is that a flying ship?!”

How to Write an Effective Dialogue If You Are Self-Publishing a Book 

When you are your book’s editor, remember the following points to make your romantic conversations worth remembering. 

Write How You Actually Speak in Reality

Real people don’t speak in complete sentences or with proper grammar. For instance, you may use Aye for Yes, Nothin for Nothing, and so on. Using punctuation marks can stress the importance of the dialogue. 

Example: “I. WANT. To. Get. OUT. Now!” screamed Archana. 

Don’t Use Excessive Dialogue-Based Exposition 

Dialogue-based expositions are descriptions or information in dialogue. They help the character retell a situation to another.


Rana said, “I am going to bittu’s school to discuss the negative marks on his report card with his headmaster.” 

However, too much of a description may seem unrealistic. Just because it must feel like a real conversation doesn’t mean you dump too many details.  Writing exposition for romantic fiction book publishing could be tough. 

The best way to tackle this is to make one of the characters not fully aware of the situation so that you can offer more information naturally. 


Rana said, “I am going to bittu’s school to discuss the negative marks on his report card with his headmaster.” 

“Oh! What happened suddenly?” Devi asked without looking up from her phone.

“His teacher was telling that off late he’s picking up fights with his classmates, doesn’t talk to anyone, avoids sports activities, and has been showing poor academic results, “ explained Rana with a worried look. 

This caught Devi’s attention, and she looked up with a concerned frown. 

Use the Classic Rule of ‘Show, Don’t’ Tell to Describe Unsaid Things

Your heroine may say, “I am peachy!” But she may not mean it. Characters can say things that don’t reflect how they feel. To make your readers understand this, use description and action beats. 

Example: “I am peachy,’” Sara said with a bit of sarcasm after a long haul at the surgery table. 

Add Quirks and Catchphrases, but in Moderation

Quirks and Catchphrases give your characters a distinctive, recognizable voice. They also make readers remember the characters. However, avoid giving quirks to all characters in your story and use them only when you have to say something about your hero or heroine.

Always Use the 3-Beat Approach 

The 3-Beat Rule in romance fiction dialogue writing suggests writers have a maximum of three dialogue exchanges or beats at a time, after which they must add a tag, action beat, or another character’s dialogue. This will keep your readers interested in the face of lengthy dialogue.

Use Action Beats and Tags but Don’t Cramp Them Up

Action beats and dialogue tags add variety to the scenes. They basically spice up the dialogue with additional information. 

Dialogue tags describe the character’s tone of voice more accurately. 

Example: Douglas sighed and said, “I am mad at myself. I guess you are a rebound.”  

The most common dialogue tags are said, explained, replied, whispered, asked, wondered, spoke, laughed, wailed, and screamed.

Action beats are descriptions, expressions, emotions, movements, and internal thoughts that accompany the dialogue. They are added to the same sentence or paragraph as the dialogue to show the character’s intention and action while speaking. 

Example: Nicholas stood straight and said, “Yes, I understand,” and then with a twinkling eye, “I know I am hard to resist. No woman can think clearly when I am near them. You know I make you feel things”

Give Each Character in Your Story a Unique Voice 

If more than one character is speaking, give each one a distinctive voice. You can achieve this by altering their vocabulary, rhythm, speech pace, and reaction to a dialogue. 


Darn you lass, whot are ya doin ‘ere?!” Ramsay shouted from a distance at Lady Bronwyn exasperatedly. 

Bronwyn replied dispassionately without looking, “I wanted to get some fresh air before your ‘darned’ ceremony.”

As a book publishing company, we know romantic novel fiction’s dialogue writing could be intimidating, mainly if you are a beginner and not hiring a professional editor. 

But with the help of these tips and consistent practice, you will get better. And once you are confident, you can self-publish your book with us affordably. Check our book publishing options here

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