100 books like Dialogue

By Robert McKee,

Here are 100 books that Dialogue fans have personally recommended if you like Dialogue. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

Craig Detweiler Author Of Honest Creativity: The Foundations of Boundless, Good, and Inspired Innovation

From my list on creativity and deepening your spirituality.

Why am I passionate about this?

I blame my mother. She took us to the public library every week and let us check out as many books as we could carry. Consequently, reading was a joy rather than a burden. The writing came after I got over my false assumptions about English Lit and Modern Poetry. As a screenwriter, I craft silly stories to make audiences laugh. That’s why I watch movies after an exhausting week. As an author, I gravitate towards non-fiction–trying to reconcile my artistry with my faith. I’ve written about movies, music, video games, technology, and art–with an eye toward lifting our spirits and comforting our aching souls.

Craig's book list on creativity and deepening your spirituality

Craig Detweiler Why did Craig love this book?

Every time I start a new project, I run through all the reasons not to begin. Perfectionism is such an enemy to creativity.

Anne Lamott offers practical, hard-won advice on the creative process, getting over our self-imposed hurdles bird by bird (one by one). I resonated with her encouragement to compose a lousy first draft that we can then start to edit and refine. I’m so glad she challenged us to turn off the radio buzzing in our own heads.

We may not be able to see where our creative endeavors will lead, but Anne brings humor and humanity to the frightening process of plunging ahead. 

By Anne Lamott,

Why should I read it?

16 authors picked Bird by Bird as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • An essential volume for generations of writers young and old. The twenty-fifth anniversary edition of this modern classic will continue to spark creative minds for years to come. Anne Lamott is "a warm, generous, and hilarious guide through the writer’s world and its treacherous swamps" (Los Angeles Times). 

“Superb writing advice…. Hilarious, helpful, and provocative.” —The New York Times Book Review

For a quarter century, more than a million readers—scribes and scribblers of all ages and abilities—have been inspired by Anne Lamott’s hilarious, big-hearted, homespun advice. Advice that begins with the simple words of wisdom…


Book cover of Dialogue: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting Effective Dialogue (Write Great Fiction Series)

William Noble Author Of Shut Up! He Explained: A Writer's Guide to the Uses and Misuses of Dialogue

From my list on writing provocative, dramatic dialogue.

Why am I passionate about this?

Words have been part of my life since I was ten years old when my father suggested I read a page from the dictionary each school night. “Words have lives and histories,” he said, ”make them your friends.” In my teens, I saw individual words setting the tone for how someone felt, and I promised myself one day I'd write a book about words and how they were a window to one's inner self. Little did I realize that when I wrote that book, it would morph into one about dialogue writing and achieve international kudos. The book offers this simple truth: make sure each line of dialogue moves your story forward...

William's book list on writing provocative, dramatic dialogue

William Noble Why did William love this book?

I find her goal of showing dialogue as a natural extension of breathing and talking both provocative and crucial. Writers need to become the characters they are writing about and Kempton shows how dialogue can set a mood, intensify story conflict, reveal character motives, and develop setting and background. She provides challenging dialogue-writing exercises at the end of each chapter.

By Gloria Kempton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dialogue as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Craft Compelling Dialogue

When should your character talk, what should (or shouldn't) he say, and when should he say it? How do you know when dialogue--or the lack thereof--is dragging down your scene? How do you fix a character who speaks without the laconic wit of the Terminator?

Write Great Fiction: Dialogue by successful author and instructor Gloria Kempton has the answers to all of these questions and more! It's packed with innovative exercises and instruction designed to teach you how to:

   • Create dialogue that drives the story
   • Weave dialogue with narrative and action
   • Write dialogue that…


Book cover of Writing Dialogue

William Noble Author Of Shut Up! He Explained: A Writer's Guide to the Uses and Misuses of Dialogue

From my list on writing provocative, dramatic dialogue.

Why am I passionate about this?

Words have been part of my life since I was ten years old when my father suggested I read a page from the dictionary each school night. “Words have lives and histories,” he said, ”make them your friends.” In my teens, I saw individual words setting the tone for how someone felt, and I promised myself one day I'd write a book about words and how they were a window to one's inner self. Little did I realize that when I wrote that book, it would morph into one about dialogue writing and achieve international kudos. The book offers this simple truth: make sure each line of dialogue moves your story forward...

William's book list on writing provocative, dramatic dialogue

William Noble Why did William love this book?

Savvy writers don't limit themselves to writing dialogue in a single media market; they welcome opportunities and challenges in print and broadcast, whether it's writing fiction or doing film or television scripts. This book spells out how to approach dialogue writing with specific media and how to achieve realistic and dramatic effects. The author urges writers to listen... listen... listen...and “hear the people around you!” Be an eavesdropper, he suggests, and remember what you hear!

By Tom Chiarella,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Writing Dialogue as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Whether you're writing an argument, a love scene, a powwow among sixth graders or scientists in a lab, this book demonstrates how to write dialogue that sounds authentic and original. You'll learn ways to find ideas for literary discussions by tuning in to what you hear every day. You'll learn to use gestures instead of speech, to insert silences that are as effective as outbursts, to add shifts in tone, and other strategies for making conversations more compelling. Nuts and bolts are covered, too - formatting, punctuation, dialogue tags - everything you need to get your characters talking.


Book cover of The Fiction Writer's Guide to Dialogue: A Fresh Look at an Essential Ingredient of the Craft

William Noble Author Of Shut Up! He Explained: A Writer's Guide to the Uses and Misuses of Dialogue

From my list on writing provocative, dramatic dialogue.

Why am I passionate about this?

Words have been part of my life since I was ten years old when my father suggested I read a page from the dictionary each school night. “Words have lives and histories,” he said, ”make them your friends.” In my teens, I saw individual words setting the tone for how someone felt, and I promised myself one day I'd write a book about words and how they were a window to one's inner self. Little did I realize that when I wrote that book, it would morph into one about dialogue writing and achieve international kudos. The book offers this simple truth: make sure each line of dialogue moves your story forward...

William's book list on writing provocative, dramatic dialogue

William Noble Why did William love this book?

Here is a “look-see” at writing fiction dialogue while mindful of and applying some of Elmore Leonard's classic Ten Rules of Writing: when to use dialogue tags... why using “said” is best... why not to use adverbs to modify “said”...? There's history here, too, as Hough traces the refining of fiction dialogue as an art form from the nineteenth and early twentieth century to the present while providing stunning examples along the way.

By John Hough Jr.,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Fiction Writer's Guide to Dialogue as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Dialogue is often overlooked as a necessary and potent instrument in the novelist's repertoire. A novel can rise or fall on the strength of its dialogue. Superb dialogue can make a superb novel. F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote, "Action is character." George V. Higgins said, "Dialogue is character." They were both right, because dialogue is action. It comprises much, if not all, of the clarifying drama of any novel. How much physical action can there be in 300 pages, even in a crime novel or a thriller? And all conflict, even physical, begins as dialogue.

Hough explains how dialogue can reveal…


Book cover of You First

Jenn Bouchard Author Of First Course

From my list on books for your beach vacation.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been drawn to the ocean. When I decided to start writing novels, I knew that I wanted to set them in coastal locations. I live in the Boston suburbs and spend time whenever I can at the beach. I have written books centered in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and Cape Cod. I am working on a story set on the north shore of Massachusetts. I am a high school social studies teacher of twenty-four years and a parent of two teenagers. All of my writing includes cooking and the enjoyment of good food as a major focus. I hope my books make you hungry!

Jenn's book list on books for your beach vacation

Jenn Bouchard Why did Jenn love this book?

I love books that take me to other places, particularly when the settings are vivid and almost another character in the story.

A wedding book is the perfect beach read as we get a peek into family and friend dynamics and all the drama that goes with such a major event. This book is full of all of the above, with charming dialogue, road-not-taken romance, and memorable characters.

By Caitlin Moss,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked You First as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of On Dialogue

Rhiannon Beaubien Author Of General Thinking Concepts

From my list on for understanding the world we live in.

Why am I passionate about this?

I want to make the world a better place. After many failed attempts to achieve this goal, I realized that I didn’t understand the world well enough to make a positive impact. Serendipitously, I started working with Farnam Street, a company that is dedicated to mastering the best of what other people have figured out. One of our most significant projects is The Great Mental Models book series, which consists of four volumes of fundamentals about the world. Learning and using the models to co-write this book series is how I found all the books on this list. I plan to give a set to each of my children to give them a jump start on living effectively. 

Rhiannon's book list on for understanding the world we live in

Rhiannon Beaubien Why did Rhiannon love this book?

I often think that so many problems in the world could be solved with better communication. More and more we stick with people who think like us, because the challenge of bridging ideological gaps seems too great.

So, how to talk to people who have values that are in opposition to yours? How can you connect with people whose experiences have given them a life that you can’t relate to? In On Dialogue, David Bohm gives us a way to tear apart the fear and hesitation of the no-man’s land between ourselves and people we don’t understand.

There are always people with whom we don’t know how to communicate. We can’t let that stop us from trying. Bohm’s book will give you the tools to do just that.

By David Bohm,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked On Dialogue as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

David Bohm has a very high profile and is a major author

Dialogue is one of Bohm's well-known areas of study

With a new preface by prominent US management guru, Peter Senge

This book can also be sold into the management and business markets as a guide to effective communication in the workplace


Book cover of Dialogue: The Art of Thinking Together

Lawrence E. Susskind Author Of Good for You, Great for Me: Finding the Trading Zone and Winning at Win-Win Negotiation

From my list on negotiating for mutual advantage.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Professor at MIT and co-founder of both the inter-university Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School and the not-for-profit Consensus Building Institute that provides help in resolving some of the most complex resource management disputes around the world. I have been teaching negotiation and dispute resolution, doing research about the circumstances under which various negotiation strategies do and don’t work, and offering online training for more than four decades. Given the many negotiations I've observed, I’m convinced that negotiating for mutual advantage is the way to go -- avoid unnecessary conflict, get what you want in all kinds of negotiating situations, and walk away with good working relationships and a solid reputation.

Lawrence's book list on negotiating for mutual advantage

Lawrence E. Susskind Why did Lawrence love this book?

Bill Isaacs offers a pioneering approach to communicating in business and in life. His book starts with the assumption that people don’t know how to talk in a way that will make it easier for them to work together with others to solve shared problems. His company, DIAlogos, has organized dialogues in a wide variety of public and private settings. In the book, his discussion of “the architecture of the invisible” makes clear why better communication begins with listening, respect, suspending our own opinions, and finding our voice. I’m particularly taken with his discussion of how we can “cultivate organizational and system dialogue.” He also has some important ideas about how we can return to civility in our public discourse in the current time when “Red” and “Blue” have forgotten how to communicate at all. 

By William Isaacs,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dialogue as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Dialogue provides practical guidelines for one of the essential elements of true partnership--learning how to talk together in honest and effective ways. Reveals how problems between managers and employees, and between companies or divisions within a larger corporation, stem from an inability to conduct a successful dialogue.


Book cover of Death and its Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Beautiful Lessons: Field Notes from The Death Dialogues Project

Elizabeth Fournier Author Of The Green Burial Guidebook: Everything You Need to Plan an Affordable, Environmentally Friendly Burial

From my list on if you literally want to go green when you die.

Why am I passionate about this?

Saving the planet one death at a time is truly what the world needs now: to reduce our carbon footprint and go out in eco-friendly style. As the one-woman funeral service in the rural town of Boring, Oregon, I support the philosophy of old-school burial practices that are kinder to both humans, the earth, and our wallets. I have humbly been baptized the Green Reaper for my passionate advocacy of green burial, and as an undertaker and the owner and undertaker of Cornerstone Funeral, the first green funeral home in the Portland area. I love to devour all literature possible on green burial and environmentally friendly death care.

Elizabeth's book list on if you literally want to go green when you die

Elizabeth Fournier Why did Elizabeth love this book?

I first learned of the Death Dialogue Projects through Instagram. The author has a standing open call for Tiny Death Stories of 100 words or less, and a few of mine were showcased along with many lovely true tales of personal loss and grief. What a welcome resource as well as her emotionally raw nature of her podcast translates well into her pages. The book is an obvious project of passion embracing death literacy. I love how healing and understanding are weaved through the shared stories.

By Becky Aud-Jennison, Felicia Olin (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Death and its Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Beautiful Lessons as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It's Time to Invite Death Out of the Closet!

The impending or actual death of someone close to you can be devastating. It doesn't matter if you knew it was coming, or if it was a total shock-you'll never be the same. There is no right way to grieve, and no appropriate time frame. It's different for everyone.

Author and therapist gone rogue, Becky Aud-Jennison, the creator of The Death Dialogues Project and podcast, has sewn together threads from people's shared personal stories and her own experiences, using them to offer insight and comfort to those who are experiencing the…


Book cover of Three-Ten to Yuma and Other Stories

Bob Giel Author Of Shawnee

From my list on generating interest in the Western genre.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a life-long love of Westerns. I’ve researched the period and the events extensively. One of the first things I look for in any book I read is period accuracy. The books I write are historically accurate, though they are fiction. I’m on a mission, through my writing, to save the Western genre.

Bob's book list on generating interest in the Western genre

Bob Giel Why did Bob love this book?

While this is a short story, not a novel, it is, in my opinion, the quintessential psychological Western. Depicting the struggle of an ordinary man saddled with extraordinary tasks, to maintain his honor and his values in the face of temptation, it delves into the minds of the two participants, and takes the reader on a wild ride as they wait for the train. Tension you could cut with a knife replaces action, keeping the reader on the edge of his/her seat until the end.

By Elmore Leonard,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Three-Ten to Yuma and Other Stories as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The New York Times-bestselling Grand Master of suspense deftly displays the other side of his genius, with seven classic western tales of destiny and fatal decision . . . and trust as essential to survival as it is hard-earned.

Trust was rare and precious in the wide-open towns that sprung up like weeds on America's frontier—with hustlers and hucksters arriving in droves by horse, coach, wagon, and rail, and gunmen working both sides of the law, all too eager to end a man's life with a well-placed bullet. In these classic tales that span more than five decades—including the first…


Book cover of You Don't Have to Die in the End

Maureen Ulrich Author Of Power Plays

From my list on teen novels with snappy dialogue.

Why am I passionate about this?

One of my favourite sounds is teens interacting—especially when they are throwing shade. I spent twenty-five years as a junior and senior high teacher, and I miss rocking and rolling during class discussions with my students. As a writer of contemporary fiction (actually in anything I write), I work hard at using dialogue as an engine to drive each scene. Each line needs to be refined to ensure that it’s snappy, engaging, and real. I’m a writer from southeast Saskatchewan, Canada, where there’s no shortage of great one-liners to use. I hope you enjoy the dialogue in these five recommendations as much as I did.

Maureen's book list on teen novels with snappy dialogue

Maureen Ulrich Why did Maureen love this book?

You Don’t Have to Die in the End is just the sort of book I’d hand to a student who struggled with finding anything relatable. Eugenia Grimm could be down to her last chance when she is sent to Reason’s Wait, a facility for troubled teens. Because of her troubled past, she has programmed herself to lock horns with any adult who tries to cross—or help—her. I cringed during her tempestuous exchanges with social workers, staff, and fellow “inmates”—hoping one of them would find a way to save this bitter, angry girl from herself. Spoiler alert: As Daher’s title suggests, Eugenia’s train wreck of a life is salvaged in the end.

By Anita Daher,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked You Don't Have to Die in the End as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Eugenia Grimm is a tough girl living in a tough town at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. She drinks and fights and pushes against expectations. She is also hurting. After her father died by suicide on her eighth birthday, her older brothers drifted away and her mother up and left when she turned 14, Eugenia has not made the best choices. After a last-straw violent incident and faced with the possibility of incarceration, she is sentenced to time at an Intensive Support and Supervision Program located at a remote mountain ranch. There, she begins to makeconnections, explore difficult truths,…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in dialogue in, screenwriting, and Pixar?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about dialogue in, screenwriting, and Pixar.

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