Practicing dialogue

Hi everyone,
David giving brief remarks
Do you sometimes have conversations in your head in which you play both characters? I do quite often and suspect that this is a trait common to most people. For writers these conversations may be important because they help develop skills with dialogue in our writing.

Almost anything can trigger internal dialogue, at least with me. Maybe I have an unpleasant confrontation with someone in a store and carry the scene in my imagination to what I should have said and what he might have said and so on. There’s a name for that. It’s what you should have said just before the elevator door closes or just before you climbed the stairs to leave.

On other occasions the internal dialogue might be stimulated by someone I see on the street, across the room, driving past, or in the newspaper. It’s an odd habit, talking to someone in your mind and giving that person words that he or she probably would never have said, or said in the same way.

Do you do that? Some writers are wonderful with dialogue. Their characters speak with such natural voices. Is this a lucky skill or one that develops by listening to how people sound when they talk and honing their skills by conducting lively and frequent conversations in their heads? Good dialogue can be one of a writer’s most crucial tools. How do you practice yours?