Can you write believable and interesting dialogue? It’s a skill we all need. In fiction, it’s a given. Drama, more so; poetry, maybe. And nonfiction? You’d be surprised. The most academic writing requires us to introduce other researchers and quote them intelligently.
You know you’re an amateur if your characters walk on and say, “Hi, Bob. I haven’t seen you since your sister married my uncle before they died returning from their honeymoon in that shipwreck off the Faroe Islands.” If so, please begin with Kathy’s Tip 1: “Good dialogue is not weighed down by exposition.” (Hey, that one also ignores my “Question the Preposition” advice.) Master all seven of Kathy’s tips and we’ll want to listen to your characters–or your fruit fly geneticists–the whole book long.