Many writers come to me with their writing woes, and of all the complaints I hear about, the one that comes up the most is dialogue. The dialogue never comes across, and you don’t know what your characters would say. I love building characters, analyzing their personalities, and creating connections. Romantic dialogue is a great way to do all these things.
Before you start writing the dialogue. You need to know your characters fully before you start writing for them. If your characters don’t feel like real people, you will have difficulty writing their flirty dialogue. So if you want to make flirty dialogues, stay with me.
How to write flirty dialogue?
Typically, flirty dialogue serves two purposes: you’re trying to build a character or move the plot along. But usually, dialogue should be a little bit of both. You want your dialogue to show the readers what your characters are about. Are they happy, cynical, rebellious, or rooting? If neither of these elements is addressed, then your dialogue is useless.
I’m breaking down my advice for writing romantic dialogue, flirting, banter, love, confessions, etc. Many people struggle with writing flirty dialogue because people struggle with communicating their feelings in real life. Sometimes the romantic dialogue is awkward and goofy. It depends on the character. Now, we will discuss 10 tips to write flirty dialogue perfectly. Let’s get into it.
1. Frequently used dialogue
Common dialogue is one of the biggest issues writers run into when crafting romantic dialogue. They rely on one-liners they’ve heard a million times before, either word for word or with a slight variation. Some common romantic dialogues:
- I would cross 1000 oceans to be with you.
- Nothing could keep us apart.
- Your beauty is endless. I could drown in your ocean blue eyes.
It feels like everything has been said before. That may be true, and some phrases are inevitable. If your character is in love with someone, they will say, I love you, at some point. I’m not telling you to reinvent the wheel, but I’m telling you to avoid hackneyed cliches.
A cliche is something that’s been said before by countless other characters. If your character is saying it, either they don’t have their unique voice, or you’re shoving words into their mouth that don’t belong there. Either you’ve betrayed the character, or you don’t know them.
2. Understand the character
The better you understand your character, the better you can craft their personality, directly affecting how they speak. If you’ve created a shy character, it doesn’t make sense for their flirting to be assertive.
Instead, their sweet nothings come out soft and stuttering. Maybe they can’t communicate how they feel at all. As we already covered, an easy way to kill the romantic vibe is to betray your character’s voice.
- Before writing that swoony dialogue, get into your character’s mind and heart.
It’s so much easier to dish out the romance when you understand how this character would dish out the romance in their way.
3. Don’t focus on the romance
Sometimes the worst thing you can do when writing anything romantic is telling yourself, I have to make this romantic. You’re putting all this pressure on yourself to perform, which typically results in the flaccid piece of the writing world stale cliches.
- Instead of nailing the romance, focus on expressing how your character feels.
That’s what romance is. It’s a display of affectionate feelings. In this case, the display is verbal. Put yourself in your character’s shoes. Does their love interest make them nervous? Does the love interest make them feel free, safe at home, or horny? Allowing your character to state how they feel in their voice will help to nail the romance and ensure that the moment is genuine and authentic.
4. Know what flirting is
The definition of flirting is trying to attract someone amusingly. The keywords here are attractive and amusing. Flirting is about evoking someone’s interest in a way that should make them laugh or smile. They should be happy or entertained.
- Flirting can be expressed in a variety of ways. It can be playful, funny, teasing, sexy, and seductive.
Also, flirting will depend entirely on your character’s personality. However, you still need to know what flirting is supposed to achieve, especially if you want this dialogue to be effective. You can disregard this point if your character is supposed to suck at flirtation. But if your goal is to make the love interest and your readers swoon, remember attraction in amusement. If you don’t have those two qualities, the flirting doesn’t work.
5. Understand the circumstance and mind
Flirting isn’t the big point writers often miss when writing. Flirtatious dialogue is the amusement factor. If it’s not amusing, it’s not effective flirting. Flirting is not supposed to be forceful, demeaning, intrusive, or condescending. Many writers translate sexy flirting into something domineering or scary, or they write playful flirting as something patronizing.
If your love interest repeatedly calls the main character sweetheart, it’s not flirtatious. It’s not hard to determine the difference between sexual pursuit and force. One is welcomed, the other isn’t. Also, it’s equally easy to see the difference between playful banter and patronizing language. One makes the character laugh, and the other pisses them off.
6. Maintain the timing
It doesn’t matter how romantic your dialogue is. If it’s ill-timed, it is a total boner kill. Also, it is one of the reasons insta-love is so widely hated. A love confession that comes too soon isn’t swoon-worthy. It only makes you cringe. If you’re writing a love confession, make sure the characters have established a connection based on trust, friendship, vulnerability, and respect. If the connection is established, it’s still possible to bring the flirting at the wrong time.
- Where you place the dialog matters as much as the dialogue itself. So look for moments that carry impact and weight.
If your characters are fleeing for their lives in utter terror, raunchy flirting isn’t going to make any sense. As for love confessions, these are best saved for climactic, dramatic moments in the story. That is why we see love confessions on the battlefield or before a character goes off on a dangerous mission. These scenes carry impact, and thus they have a stronger effect on the reader. But your book doesn’t have to have stakes for you to make a memorable love confession.
7. Keep it simple
Have you ever read a long, rambling love confession that went on forever? For starters, romantic monologues aren’t necessary. You don’t need pages upon pages to get your point across. Either your character’s hearts aflutter or their genitals tickle. It is not that deep. Additionally, if your love or lust confession is endlessly long, you’re likely falling into cliche territory. There are only so many original ways you can say I love you.
Readers need to believe the romantic connection, and a lengthy monologue ultimately kills it. That’s not to say you can’t write a love confession. That’s a couple of paragraphs long. But if you’re nearing an entire page or several pages, you’re losing us. The virgins often draw a simple ” I love you ” or ” I want you ” to get the job done.
8. Make your characters realistic
The easiest way to eliminate the cheese factor is to make your readers believe what your characters say. Realism in romantic dialogue can be achieved in multiple ways. First is staying true to the character’s voice, and second is keeping it simple, both of which we’ve already covered. The third is aligning your character with your intention for this romance.
If you want your love interest to be a smooth casanova, you need to create a character that would be smooth. Make sure the characters you’ve created align with your intention for this romance. You’re in control, after all. Lastly is character self-awareness. Your characters are not real people, but try to think about how a real person would realistically act in their position. Ultimately, honesty and believability go hand in hand, and that’s the case in this situation.
9. Make your dialogue sexy sometimes
Technically, romance as a whole is subjective. Sexy is in the balls or the badge of the beholder. So if you’re writing sexy dialogue, you need to consider that. That’s not to say you should. The sexy dialogue needs to translate appropriately for your target audience. When you crafted the story, you created certain expectations.
- Let your readers know what they can expect ahead of time and then deliver on that promise.
10. Adjust accordingly
The most common complaint I hear about writing romantic dialogue is overwhelming. Everything you come up with is cliche. It’s too generic or doesn’t fit the character. First of all, take a deep breath. You can get through this. Secondly, it’s super simple. The general idea of what you want your character to express and convey and then adjust the wording to fit their voice.
Suppose you want your character to say you are so beautiful, but that doesn’t fit them. They’re way too closed off and not remotely smooth. Take your beauty and put that into the words of a closed-off and smooth character. This character finds their love interest attractive, but it’s also obvious that they got marbles in their brain and have no idea how to express it.
Avoid meaningless conversation. Give each character a distinct voice. You need to make sure that all of your characters speak differently, which reflects who they are and what they’ve been through. Think about whether or not your characters would be emotional or be polite.
Whatever the rule for writing dialogue, make sure it flows. It is counterintuitive because conversations in real life don’t always flow. Real flirty dialogue can be disjointed or go off on tangents, or someone can interrupt in the middle. I encourage you to implement these steps into your writing and let me know what you think.
Read romance books to get more ideas:
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