Dialogue a how to guide

Definition: noun

a conversation between two or more people as a feature of a book, play, or film.

"the book consisted of a series of dialogues"

synonyms: conversation, talk, communication, interchange, discourse, argument;

Dialogue: What does it do?

- Dialogue allows the characters to become more familiar to the reader.

- You can tell more about your characters' thoughts and feelings if you include dialogue in your stories.


Let's look at a story without dialogue.

Sharing a room with her sister wasn't always fun. Kristi was tired of always cleaning up after her sister Ashley. Just because they shared a room, that doesn't mean they had to share the mess! Ashley was always leaving dirty dishes on her desk, and there were always dirty clothes under the bed. Kristi had tried to talk to Ashley about cleaning up the mess, but somehow talking didn't help.

Let's add some dialogue to that story.

Sharing a room with her sister wasn't always fun. Kristi was tired of always having to clean up their room.

"Ashley, you've left your clothes on the floor again! I'm not picking them up for you this time," said Kristi.

"I'm sorry, Kristi, I don't mean to be a slob!" joked Ashley.

"I just don't notice the mess--really! I guess it just doesn't bother me.“

"Well, it bothers me! You know it does," said Kristi.

"I'll try harder, I guess," sighed Ashley. "But I can't promise anything. Neatness just isn't my thing!"

Your audience will have a better understanding of Kristi and Ashley after reading the conversation that takes place between them. It's more interesting to read...AND...it helps to understand how both Kristi and Ashley FEEL .

Dialogue lets you tell so much more about your characters.

It allows your readers to understand your characters more too.

RULES: Write this down

1. Use quotation marks to show dialogue.

2. Every time a new character speaks, you must begin a new line.

3. Include clues to show who is speaking.

4. Indent the line every time someone is speaking.


The following passage has no dialogue. To improve the story, rewrite as much of it as you can in your notebook, including appropriate dialogue.

Paul and his dad were planning their first fishing trip of the year. Paul wasn't sure what to bring with him, so he asked his dad. His dad told him to bring his pole. His dad would bring everything else. His dad also told him to dress warmly because it's always cold in the morning near the lake. Paul told his dad he was excited about going and would have trouble sleeping.

Here's a sample of what your story might look like.Notice the quotation marks and commas.

Paul and his dad were planning their first fishing trip of the year.

"What should I pack, Dad?" said Paul. "I don't want to forget anything."

"Just bring your pole, Paul. I've got everything else we'll need already in the car," said Dad. "Mom's already packed us a big lunch. We want to get an early start!"

"Should I bring a sweatshirt?" questioned Paul.

"Oh, it's always cool in the morning near the lake. You'll need more than a sweatshirt. You need to make sure you dress warm."

Paul headed up to bed.

"I don't think I'll be able to sleep, Dad. I'm too excited!"

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