Prepared by: Alex Quisenberry
Posted on: March 23, 2003
Reposted on: April 16, 2006
One of the more difficult skills for a
writer to master is dialog.
Clearly, dialog is not the written
presentation of words in the same
speak them. Few of us in "conversation" will even use complete
the sentence fragments we normally communicate with are certainly not
acceptable as written dialog.(The notable exception - In a script we
see fragments or short, choppy sentences in scenes of high emotion or
On the other hand, dialog that approaches
prose sounds like a
Might help to listen to others actually
talk - listen to how the
strung together - for meaning - for effect - for speech quirks, and
shortcuts. Make your dialog "real" - put us in the same room with your
DIALOG TELLS THE STORY - EXERCISE:
Find that fine line between
the-way-we-speak and the-way-we- write
a DIALOG Exercise using a MINIMUM of other written material.
300 words or less, write a scene between
two characters. When the
we should know the central conflict between these two, and a great deal
We've done this exercise a couple of times
and the results have been
spectacular. Good luck!
Alex Quisenberry's wrap-up
Posted on: March 30, 2003
Dialogue tells the story - Wrap-up
300 words or less, 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.
Most did an excellent job of doing THIS
part of the exercise. The
plot lines we
got from this group was as varied as I've seen (this is our third time
this exercise) - from ending life support, to explaining a plane crash
child, young brothers who want the same toys, a wounded sister (and
military conflict, a lady saying a forceful goodbye, a scared daughter
her Mom in the dead of night, a psychic with powers that others would
a missing-mail alert, two teachers discussing the dumping-down of
ketchup and mustard, etc. I read most. Enjoyed them all.
DIALOG TELLS THE STORY -
Find that fine line
between the-way-we-speak and
to complete a DIALOG Exercise using a MINIMUM of
I was looking for dialog that came out of
our characters in such a
way that a
"minimum of other material was necessary" to tell a story. And I gave
example: two guys in a car, one was injured, the other was driving
little too fast out of his concern. In the example there was NO other
material, but that was not a requirement, merely a direction.
I'd say we all learned a little more about
"dialogue" in the process
our Sub and looking at the ways others handled this writing skill.
I closed the instructions by writing:
We've done this exercise
a couple of times and the
been spectacular. Good luck!
I think you may have outdone yourselves.
Good luck with the next exercise.
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