Dialogue Vs. Description

By Britney Pieta

Some of us think we write better dialogue then the descriptive parts of our writing, while some of us are the opposite. Here is some background information to help you get an understanding of dialogue vs. description and how to switch from using each throughout your story.


What is it?

Dialogue is when two or more characters engage each other in a conversation through words.

When do I use it?

You use dialogue anytime the characters want to communicate with each other.

How do I make it sound natural and conversational?

1. Think about how if the characters were real how it would sound

2. Don’t force it- leave natural pauses

3. Remember that run-on sentences are okay for dialogue

Why is this part of a story important?

A big portion of a story is characters interacting with each other and it helps you see inside the character’s minds. It is the life blood of the story. It keeps the story moving along.

How to make a good transition from dialogue to description?

Think about where a person would naturally end a conversation. If you have been going on for pages with dialogue, it may be time to go back to description for a little while.

Ex. of ineffective dialogue

“Hi how are you?”

“Good. You?”


“That’s good.”


Ex. of effective dialogue

“Hey, where have you been?”

“I have no idea….I was….”

“What…what happened?”

“I’ve been having blackouts and not remembering where I’ve been.”

“We must get you to a doctor!”

“You mean right now?”

“Yes now! We got to get to the bottom of this. This isn’t normal.”

“Alright… But it could be nothing.”


What is it?

Description it the use of adjectives or action words to give an account of something that uses your five senses.

When do I use it?

You can use it when describing the physical features of a character, the background of a setting, to describe something using your five senses: touch, taste, hear, see, and smell.

How do I find the right descriptive words?

You can use a thesaurus to look for similar or close words, play around with the words to see what fits the best, and try to imagine you are in the scene and telling us what you are observing from that scene.

Why is this part of a story important?

It is important for setting different scenes, giving you an image of what the main characters look like, and it is a break in between dialogue.

How to make a good transition from description to dialogue?

For this too, think about when you have done enough description and need more interaction with the characters.

Ex. of ineffective description

A big rock stood out against the blue sky and the green grass that I walked towards.

Ex. of effective description

A big rock the shape of a heart stood out proudly against the bright blue and cloudless sky. The rock was hidden within tall, lush green grass and beckoned me to get a closer look.



Filed under Bloggin' with Britney

2 responses to “Dialogue Vs. Description

  1. I do not do this type of writing; so it has little value for me. However, it makes sense to recognize the difference between the two. Cheers.

  2. Paulette Winston

    I have a new email address. It is Pwin_Wins@yahoo.com. Thank you. Paulette Winston

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