Reposted on: Sunday, 19 October 2008
Exercise: In less than 400 words, write a scene including two characters in conflict. Use dialogue to make the reader see the conflict and learn something of the characters' personalities.
Dialogue is one of the more difficult skills writers must master. But we must be aware that dialogue is not the presentation of speech in the way we would speak it. Few of us always use complete sentences in our daily speech. If we did, our written dialogue would tend to sound unrealistic and stilted.
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 we'd hear in a recorded conversation.
Dialogue can show us a lot about both the character and the circumstances of the speakers. In this exercise, tell us you story mainly through the use of dialog.
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.