"So? What did you think of the book?"
"The book. The one I got you for your birthday? What did you think of it?"
"Mmmmm...it was okay I suppose."
"Okay? That's it? Okay?"
"To be honest, I didn't actually finish it."
"Why on earth not?"
"Well, the dialogue put me off if you must know. All the time nobody was speaking it was fine, but as soon as the charcters started talking it fell flat on its face. The people came across really stilted...not a bit natural."
"Duh. It's a book...not a movie. They're not real people."
"But that's just it, they should be real people...in your head. But these didn't feel like that. It really spoilt the book for me; the storyline was fantastic, the characters believable, but the dialogue...diabolical."
"Does it really matter that much?"
"God yes! The characters bring the story alive, without good dialogue they just come across flat and, quite frankly, unreal."
"So you're saying, that one little thing, can murder a story."
"Completely. Dialogue has to be realistic or it lets the whole thing down."
"Suffocates it dead in its bed."