Composition Writing | 3 Ways to Write A Good Line of Dialogue

Often, when I mark compositions, I come across lines of dialogue that sound like this.

  • “Yay! Yippee!”

  • “Hurry up!”

  • “Oh no! I am late!”

  • “How are you?”

  • “I am at the bakery!”

Are these good lines of dialogue? Although people talk like this in real life, all of these lines of dialogue make for boring conversations! In story writing, everything you write has to push the story forward, no matter what. At LBM, we encourage the students to write a line of dialogue when they start a composition, but we need to learn how to write a good line of dialogue to start the story.

So how do we write a good line of dialogue? Let me give you three tips!

Composition Writing

Creative Writing Workshop

Our instructors will aim to:

  1. teach you to describe a setting vividly using your five senses

  2. introduce two ways of building up towards the climax of a story via characters and insertion of clues

  3. provide you with a framework (AIM) to create compelling characters

  4. aid you in adding details to the climax of a story

  5. show the transference and application of techniques in composition writing


Tip number #1: Think about what the character wants

At the start of the story, how does the character feel? If it is a hot day, it’s all too easy for the character to say, “Oh, it’s so hot!”

But you must think deeper. Because of how the character feels, it means that he must want something! If the character feels very hot, what do you think he would want?

  • Ice cream?

  • A cold drink?

  • To lie down in air-conditioning?

All of these three answers are correct!

You can write a line of dialogue like this:

“Oh, I would kill for a chocolate ice cream,” I mumbled to myself as I rushed out of the school gates.

Tip number #2: Think about who the character is talking to!

If it helps, you can think of what your main character would say to the second character at the start of the story. If you and your best friend were at the swimming pool, what would you say to him?

Think about what the both of you would want to do!

  • Do you want to jump into the pool to see who can make the biggest splash?

  • Do you want to play tag and race him or her to the pool?

  • Do you want to playfully push him into the pool?

You can use any of these three ideas! Let’s choose the second idea and change it into a line of dialogue.

“Last one in the pool is a rotten egg!” I shouted.

Tip number #3: Think about how the character feels about the problem

Sometimes, if you plan your story from the climax onwards, this means you’ll know what happens at the end of the story. If you’re writing a story about cheating in a test, then you know that your main character in the story will cheat in the test.

Because you know what he will do later, you can hint that something bad is going to happen in the line of dialogue.

What would your main character say at the start of the story?

  • Would he look forward to taking the test?

  • Would he hope and pray that the questions would be easy?

  • Would he hope that he did not have to use his “secret weapon”?

Because of this, you can write:

“I sure hope that I don’t need to use my ‘secret weapon’,” Gareth prayed.

In this way, this line of dialogue intrigues the examiner and make him or her want to read more!

So how do we fix the first scene with Ms Xie at the bakery?

  • How is she feeling?

  • Maybe she is feeling peckish?

  • Maybe she wants to have her favourite Portuguese egg tarts?

So what would she say?

Let’s see how we can transform this into a line of dialogue.

“Do you think my favourite egg tarts are still in stock?” Ms Xie asked Cynthia. Last Saturday, Ms Xie and Cynthia were at the bakery buying bread.

So how can you write a good line of dialogue?

#1 Think about what the character wants

#2 Think about what the first character would say to a second character

#3 And lastly, think about how the character’s thoughts and feelings about the problem

These tips work for different topics and there is no one size fits all solution. Ultimately, make sure that the dialogue moves the story forward and will pique the curiosity and interest of the reader.

Happy Writing!

Ms. Xie

Ms. Xie is an English Teacher at Lil’ but Mighty. Her best subject has always been English and she’s been writing ever since she could hold a pen. Her first book, Dragonhearted, was shortlisted for the Scholastic Asian Book Award in 2014 and published in 2016. It was also shortlisted for the Singapore Book Awards in 2017. She also won the Hedwig Anuar Children’s Book Award in 2018.

Have something to share? Drop us a comment below!

Leave a Reply

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest

Other related posts

Insert Exciting Dialogue Tags to Your Primary School Composition!
To start off with, let me share with you the power of using dialogue. Dialogue is an essential part of the story.
Teachers Who Love English, We Want You!
5 Commonly Confused Pairs (or is it Pears?)
Steps to Score Well in Situational Writing for PSLE English
I Love Reading | 3 Tips for Reluctant Readers
The First Write Recipe Workshop at Greenridge Primary School!
Understanding IF Conditionals!
Fans of Fiction: 3 Websites to Check Out This Holiday
NYT Copy-Edit This: Free Editing Resource
3 Writing Skills to Start Nurturing from Primary 2
5 Ways to Start a Primary School Composition
2 Common Errors to Avoid When Sharing Oral Stories
4 Lively Literary Devices to Use in Your Compositions
Comprehending Comprehension: 3 Pitfalls to Avoid When Understanding Questions
3 Composition Techniques You Can Reap From Reading
4 Fun & Interactive Classroom Display Tools!
How to Pronounce the /th/ Sound?
In this post, I would like to help you to start mastering the /th/ sound with 2 simple steps.
Perfecting the Paragraph: Know When To Start A New Paragraph
We all know that to write a good story, we need to have a clear structure. But how do we structure our stories? If your answer is, “by having paragraphs”, then you are very nearly correct.
7 Essay Types at the O Level
Five Essentials to Score for Formal Situational Writing
Let’s Go On A Learning Journey | Two Awesome Places To Visit During the December Holidays!
Activities for the Holidays!
Between Two Commas: How to Deal with Extra Information
Continuous Writing: 3 Specific Things to Check For!
PSLE English Specialist Teacher Wanted!
Paper 2: Don’t Lose the Marks Everyone is Getting!
5 Graphic Novels To Check Out This Holiday
Authentic Learning Activity | Editor on the Move!
Free News Sources for Kids
Holiday + Learning = Fun!
Primary 4 Marching Onto Primary 5: Changes You Need to Know for English
Continuous Writing | 4 Tips to Address the Topic
Reading | Video: A Totto-ly Delightful Read!
Conquering Correlative Conjunctions in Sentence Synthesis: 3 Commandments to Comply with
Drawing From Your Own Experiences To Write Well In Primary School Compositions
Look Back in a Flash! 3 Ways to Craft Effective Flashbacks
Building Grammar Foundations: Start Young, Start Now
“E” is for Empathy | What Every Primary School Child Needs!
3 Tips On How To Prepare For Primary School Oral | Stimulus-Based Conversation
Primary School Vocabulary: Confuse, Confused, Confusing? Which is Which?
Introducing: Mighty Monsterella!
Study Smart! | 3 Revision Tips for Primary School Students!
Announcing the Winner of our ‘Queen of Your Heart’ Mother’s Day Contest!
Accuracy in Situational Writing: Check for These 3 Things!
Comprehension | 6 Steps to Tackle “Support With Evidence” 2-Part Questions
Last Comprehension Question (3 Types) in your Primary School Examination Paper

Like what you are reading?

Subscribe now to receive news and tips hot off the press!

Primary School English Tuition| Lil' but Mighty English