Writing Group Session: Unpacking Conversation
To show how important dialogue can be in a story, let’s look at just part of a conversation and see just how much we can guess about what is going on in the story.
Look at the following passages and jot down what you can tell about each book, who is talking; does it suggest a certain genre; is it modern or pre 20th Century, English or American; can you guess the theme of the book, the setting, the era of the story…?
’She never brought her back to the house?’
‘Did she ever tell you that she was going to meet her’?
‘I really don’t recall, Mr Caton.’
‘Who did you think this Corrie was, Mrs Amroush?’
‘A school friend, I suppose. I don’t know.’
‘Just one last question,’ he said. ‘Have you ever heard the name Hoyland?’
I asked the guy behind the counter if there was a phone I could use.
‘One mark for ten minutes,’ he said, placing a phone on the counter.
‘That’s expensive,’ I said.
‘No,’ he said, ‘That is the price.’ …………….
‘Dussman,’ she said, sounding out of breath.’
‘Did I make you run across the office?’
‘I hope you don’t mind me calling you at work?’
Share and discuss ideas and look for similarities or differences.
The following piece of dialogue starts part way through a conversation and mid-sentence!
‘…. and if you had told me that, I probably wouldn’t have done it.’
Write the first half of the sentence using at least 10 words.
Compare and discuss. Look at similarities and differences and how much you can tell about what is going on in the story in each case.
If time, or for homework, write a synopsis of the story so far (as each member has imagined it).
Share and discuss briefly.
NB Spoiler Alert!
The answer to the origins of the two examples is given below.
The passages in Task 1 are from, Example 1: ‘Backwash’ by Bill Rogers, a British contemporary writer of Police procedural novels set in the present.
Example 2: ‘The Moment’ by American author, Douglas Kennedy, writing a book about enduring love in insurmountable circumstances at the time of the Berlin Wall.
The part sentence in Task 2 is completely invented for the purpose of the exercise!
Category: Group Sessions. Tags : Dialogue, Practice