Bakers Dozen: Creative Writing Workbook (Chapter 6, page 2 of 5)

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Chapter 6

Here is an example of a conversation that takes too long to get to the point.

"Hey, John, how's it going?"

"Not great."

"Beautiful weather today, isn't it?"

"I haven't noticed."

"What do you think about those Bulls?"

"I don't care about the Bulls, but I would like to punch you right in the eye."

By the time the reader gets to that last line, he or she doesn't care. The last line should be the first or second thing said.

"Hi, John. How's it going?"

"Shut up, Sam. Give me one good reason why I shouldn't punch you in the eye right now."

B. With your instructor's permission, record a lecture/group discussion in class.

Listen to it for ways not to write dialogue.

C. Now, transcribe 15-20 lines from a move or television show. (Do not use soap operas that are notorious for dragging the story line out way further than it needs to be.

Identify each line of dialogue from each character with an AP if it advances plot, RC if it reveals character, RB if it reveals background, or NE if it seems non-essential.)

NOTE: Before students can actually write dialogue, they must know how to punctuate a quotation correctly. That varies according to where the dialogue tag (the he saids, she saids etc.) is located and what type sentence you have. Always remember; put quotation marks around the exact words some one says. (Do not put them around the dialogue tags.)

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