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IWW Practice-W Exercise Archives
Exercise: Dialogue (Version 4)


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 (http://www.internetwritingworkshop.org/).

Prepared by: Alex Quisenberry
Posted on: Sun, 9 Sep 2001
Reposted on: Sun, 12 Sep 2004
Reposted, revised, on: Sun, 2 Sep 2007
Reposted, revised, on: Sun,19 Oct 2008
Reposted on: Sun, 12 Jan 2014

_____________________

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.
_____________________

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.
_____________________

In your critiques, consider how much you learned about the characters and their
conflict, and how well the writer used dialogue to convey that information.


Web site created by Rhéal Nadeau and the administrators of the Internet Writing Workshop.
Modified by Gayle Surrette.