Its the dream: Find a smoldering someone on a dating app, match with them, and quickly launch into a conversation filled with subtle compliments, definitive date night plans, and witty repartee.
According to research conducted by Preply,
– a language learning app and platform, more than 70 percent of dating app users surveyed said its possible to engage in meaningful conversation, and even fall in love with someone, before ever meeting in person (having only spoken on an app).
The challenge, of course, is getting there, shifting from the notification that “Its A Match!” into dialogue worthy of a Shonda Rhimes production. Its a daunting task, so we brought in the pros: rom-com authors. Mashable spoke with several – all with books jam-packed with quippy dialogue out this spring and summer – to get their expert takes on how to write witty banter.
“Impeccable dialogue is what distinguishes romance writers from every other genre,” says Mackenzie Newcomb, founder of Bad B*tch Book Club (a virtual book club of more than 20,000 members dedicated to uplifting female-identifying readers, authors, and protagonists). With that in mind, here are five acclaimed romance writers tips and takeaways for dating app dialogue.
Emily Henry: Embrace your own sense of humor and surprise your matches
Emily Henry, author of New York Times bestsellers like Beach Read and People We Meet On Vacation, as well as the just-released Book Lovers, is, arguably, the queen of quippy dialogue. Hers are the types of books that make you laugh out loud on the subway, the kind youll be reading until 2 a.m. when your roommate texts to ask, “Why are you awake and cackling right now?” (I speak from personal experience.)
One of the most powerful elements of her writing is that it often surprises readers – either taking jokes a step further than you expect them to go, or breaking sentimental moments up with silly retorts. This same approach can be applied to dating apps. In Henrys words, “one of the prime elements of humor is that element of surprise.”
“When Im writing dialogue, Im thinking of conversation in a way where one person puts something out there, and instead of just saying the natural response that proves you received that, youre kind of building on it,” she explains. “Take what [your match] has given you, and instead of just confirming that youve heard it… throw it out in a more extreme direction.”
Consider, for instance, that your match confesses theyve just gotten a terrible haircut. Rather than insisting that they look fine, youre sure (the standard response), Henry suggests throwing out a fun, light-hearted comment instead. Like, “Thats the worst. But somewhere in the world, two otters are holding hands right now. And I hope that fact makes you feel a bit better.”
“If you have a specific sense of humor, you kind of want to know if [the person] youre talking to can hang with that, or if theyre going to be put off by it,” she says. “Its kind of a good litmus test.”
Casey McQuiston: Keep up the pace and text like a real person
Another expert in crafting quick-witted banter (for all ages!), Casey McQuiston is the author of free dating sites New York Times bestsellers Red, White Royal Blue and One Last Stop, plus the newly released young adult novel I Kissed Shara Wheeler. Their characters are known for being sharp-tongued and big-hearted, and the resulting dialogue pops off the page making everyone and their mother wish they could be best friends with Alex Claremont-Diaz and Prince Henry (myself included).