'Nice day, isn't it?'
'Oh, it sure is. The sun is a beautiful shade of yellow. Copperish, don't you think?'
'Copper would be a wonderful way to describe it. Do you know what this is?'
'No, what is it?'
It's conversation that's boring. There's no conflict, there's no point, the story isn't going anywhere..
How can we make our dialog sizzle?
1) Be aggressive, threaten - ('Go ahead, make my day.')
2) Be passively aggressive -submissive characters wreak havoc on dominant ones. (“No, dearest, I don’t mind picking up your socks and putting them in the wash for you,” Susan said, as she threw them in with a red shirt.)
3) Provocation - one character can taunt or dare another. ("Ron," he said. "You have to confront her now. If you don't she won't stop calling you.")
4) Use undercurrents - The words and actions or expressions do not match. (He slammed his glass down on the table. "I would love to go to Bermuda with you.")
5) Be ambiguous - Is there conflict? Isn't there?
6) Subliminal conflict - While the two characters are engaged in innocent banter, disaster is waiting for them around the corner.
7) Word choices - there are fighting words. ("Want me to kick your butt?")
8) Sentence & Paragraph length - Shorter, abrupt sentences and paragraphs are more confrontational.
9) Repetition - Repeating key phrases add emphasis. "When I talk, you listen and you listen good."
10) Use imperatives. And in case you don't know what that means it's commands. Sit. Lie. Die. Buy. Pie. No, that last one's not really one. But I could sure use some...
And don't think that because you write sappy love stories or children's fiction that you can't have dialog with conflict... take a novel entitled The Three Billy-Goats Gruff:
"Who's that tripping over my bridge?" roared the troll .
"Oh, it is only I, the tiniest Billy Goat Gruff , and I'm going up to the hillside to make myself fat," said the billy goat, with such a small voice.
"Now, I'm coming to gobble you up," said the troll.
"Oh, no! pray don't take me. I'm too little, that I am," said the billy goat. "Wait a bit till the second Billy Goat Gruff comes. He's much bigger."
"Well, be off with you," said the troll.
Pic source: here