As some of you might already know, in an effort to write better dialog for my stories, I've taken on the challenge of writing a visual novel, one of the most dialog heavy modes of entertainment that I know of.
Well, it's already been helpful and I've learnt things by doing this that I might never have figured out otherwise.
#1 It's okay to have a sentence before you have a speaker.
A conversation doesn't have to be a 'round robin'. If a character truly wouldn't say the words that NEED to be said to push the conversation along, it's perfectly fine to pick the character that would say it. (EG: It's Kenyon's 'turn' to speak, but he wouldn't say that - or, really, anything to push the conversation along - but Eleria would, so it's a great idea to have her say it.)
#2 You don't have to use the first words that come to your mind.
I have a fairly specific way of talking and thinking - I think most people probably do - so the first words that come to my mind won't always be the words a character would say. There is nothing wrong with taking a few moments, reminding yourself which character is talking and getting their words right. Or even during a read-through, changing the when it's obvious they wouldn't say that.
#3 Backspace and delete is your friend.
Sometimes the conversation/scene can't be saved. You've gotten off on a tangent that there's no editing and improving. So what if it's two pages worth? Delete it. Don't even think about saving it. Delete!
And there are three things that I've learnt during this experiment. Sure, they seem totally obvious to me now, but a few months ago, I never had even thought any of these things.