3/23 – Character & Dialogue

Daily Warm Up: Write a story that begins with this line: It was the first time I killed a man.

Daily Focus: One of the key ways you reveal character is DIALOGUE. How a person talks, what they say, what they talk about, and who they talk to all tells us a lot about them and the quality of their relationships.

So today we’re going to listen to a GREAT example of dialogue, written by a former City High Student and we’ll talk about what makes it so darn great. However, be warned that this particular scene is rated NC-17 or R. Like a Quentin Tarantino level of violence and cussing.

Briefly, we’ll talk about dialogue, both the minor stuff (how to space and punctuate it, what dialogue tags are, which dialogue tags to use and when) as well as the major stuff (what makes dialogue believable vs. common mistakes that make dialogue unbelievable and some practical advice about making dialogue ring true).

Today’s Experiment: Write a short scene from the story you planned that portrays a conversation between two characters. It should NOT be exclusively dialogue, but it should use the dialogue elements we discussed as effectively as possible. It can help enliven your dialogue if you focus in on a conflict. If you’re stuck, feel free to use one of these:

  • Two people who both have romantic feelings for the same person (think any love triangle every)
  • Two people who are trying to escape from a common enemy (think Rey & Finn in their first scene together during The Force Awakens)
  • Two people arguing about a limit (think you and a parent negotiating curfew or other rules)
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