Sunday, September 2, 2007

This Week's IWW Practice Exercise

Exercise: Dialogue (Version 3)

Prepared by: Alex Quisenberry
Reposted, revised, on: Sun, 2 Sep 2007

Exercise: In less than 400 words, write a scene including two characters
in conflict. Use dialogue heavily to make the reader see the conflict and learn
something of the characters' personalities.

Using dialogue in their works is one of the more difficult skills writers must

Dialogue is not the presentation of words in the manner we speak them. Few
of us steadily use complete sentences in our daily speech, and our written
dialogue would tend to sound stilted and unrealistic if we used them there.
On the other hand, dialogue written exactly the way people talk would be
full of "uh" and "ah," starts and stops, "I mean," and all the rest of the
oddments we throw in to keep our conversations going. Writers have to
learn how to make dialogue sound realistic, even though it is far from what
one would hear in a taped conversation.

Dialogue can show us a great deal about the people speaking and the
circumstances in which they are interacting. In this exercise, make dialogue
the main vehicle for telling your story.

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 (


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