Once of the things I think I’m pretty good at is dialogue. I was decent at it when I first started writing and I’ve only improved. I can craft voices for characters, I know to make it interesting and relevant, I only use dialogue tags when absolutely necessary. And of course, I remember that dialogue in books never sounds like dialogue in actual conversations.
If there’s one thing to remember, it’s that last point. Have you ever read a transcript of a conversation between two actual people? Let me put it this way: if you tried to pass that off to an editor, you’d get laughed out of his/her office. Ever read Waiting for Godot? Probably one of the more realistic conversations I’ve ever read.
Weird, isn’t it? It’s kind of the same as the rule of believability—namely, that just because something happened in real life, doesn’t mean a reader will by it. The difference between fiction and real life isn’t truth or lies. The difference is that fiction is crafted to make it seem real, not to be real.
Keep that in mind while writing.
So, in the battle of realistic versus believable, which side are you on? Is it possible to meld the two? Heck, is that even necessary?