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Writing Dialogue. D. Koepke Creative Writing. Dialogue Introduction. Dialogue should be true to life, but it cannot be exactly true. Real speech is often aimless, halting, or unfinished. Thus, the trick is to write dialogue that seems real, but that is easy for the audience to follow.

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writing dialogue

Writing Dialogue

D. Koepke

Creative Writing

dialogue introduction
Dialogue Introduction
  • Dialogue should be true to life, but it cannot be exactly true.
  • Real speech is often aimless, halting, or unfinished.
  • Thus, the trick is to write dialogue that seems real, but that is easy for the audience to follow.
repetition
Repetition
  • One character picks up on a word that another character has just said:
  • Character 1: “You’re not open to any new ideas. You won’t even listen to a word about immigration!”
  • Character 2: “A word! I’ve listened to volumes!”
interruptions
Interruptions
  • One character breaks in on another, completing the first character’s line.
  • Character 1: “If only we could get enough—”
  • Character 2: “Hard cash?”
slide6
TAGS
  • In writing dialogue for a story, you start a new paragraph each time the speaker changes. Using tags helps the reader to know who is speaking.
  • “I’d really like you to sit down,” she said.
  • He whined, “I’m tired of watching this movie.”
  • “What are you doing?” she asked.
  • “That’s stupid,” hissed Julia viciously.
use action
Use Action
  • Instead of getting in the TAG RUT, try incorporating some action:
  • She pointed across the room. “Get over there!”
  • She slammed her hands down on the table. “NO!”
more tips
More Tips
  • Don’t create non-parts with your characters in dialogue. This is the agreeing, nodding, uh-huh-ing character.
  • Work to reveal information from both sides of the conversation.
slide9
And watch that punctuation…

In his usual rush, Orion tumbled through the door. “Mom, I’m home,” he shouted. “Take your shoes off,” she called.

“Did you take your shoes off?” he sassed back.

practice
Practice!
  • Use the comic strip on the following slides to help you craft interesting dialogue.
  • Step 1 = Study the scene
  • Step 2 = Write their words (the ones you think they’re saying) as they would appear in a comic.
  • Step 3 = Rewrite this into a paragraph that uses tags and dialogue action. You may add description if needed.
slide11

Practicing dialogue:

1. Think about what is going on in this scene.

slide13

3. Then, re-write this as a conversation with tags and action

(add description where you need it).