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IWW Practice-W Exercise Archives
Exercise: Dialogue (2)

These exercises were written by IWW members and administrators to provide structured practice opportunities for its members. You are welcome to use them for practice as well. Please mention that you found them at the Internet Writers Workshop (http://www.internetwritingwor kshop.org/).

Prepared by: Alex Quisenberry
Posted on: Sun, 9 Sep 2001
Reposted on: Sun, 12 Sep 2004

A back-to-basics exercise where every member is expected to post a SUB.

This week we'll look again at DIALOGUE, essentially a repeat of Practice-W's 2nd exercise. We started in January with about 35 members, and some of those are no longer with us; however, even with the losses Practice-W now numbers closer to 65.

One most difficult skills for a writer to master is DIALOGUE.

Clearly, DIALOGUE is not the presentation of words in the manner we speak them. Few of us in 'conversation' use complete sentences. Yet, the sentence fragments we normally communicate with are certainly not what we normally see as written dialog.

On the other hand, although we learn to write in complete sentences and thoughts, using this "complete" structure in our DIALOGUE is awkward and stilted. We do not write DIALOGUE the same as we wrote prose.

Find that fine line between the way we speak and the way we write to complete a DIALOGUE Exercise using a minimum of other written material.

Take between 300 and 500 words to write a scene between TWO characters. When the scene ends we should know the central conflict between these two, and a great deal about their personalities.

Alex Quisenberry's wrap-up
Posted on: Sun, 16 Sep 2001

This is a tough week to summarize. After Tuesday morning's tragic news *everything* was, and remained, a little out of kilter . . .

The DIALOG EXERCISE had many restrictions and several parameters. It seemed as though we didn't want to be confined to all these rules this week.

A good number of us presented a conflict between our characters.

Many, but certainly not all, stuck to the two character requirement.

Some developed these characters so that we knew a good deal about them at the end of the post, and this week we had the latitude of using up to 500 words for that development.

Several used DIALOG with a minimum of other material to carry the story to their readers.

A couple of us even used Dialog in such a fashion that the story was shown (and not told).

But oddly, only a few of us did all the things required. All the subs were excellent, well writing, but I think we were a little . . . distracted.

This was our 2nd time to offer DIALOG to the group. We did learn that good dialog which carries the story line is still one of the toughest tasks in this craft.

I appreciate all who participated this week, when our hearts might not have been in the effort.

The work was remarkably good. And, if you feel you missed the mark this time, rest assured, we'll look at Dialog again.

Alex Quisenberry

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