What Is Dialogue? What Is It Not?

21 Feb 2016 09:40 | Deleted user

What great fun it was to refresh our memory about the art and science of dialogue with Susan Tiberghien at our monthly GWG meeting at the Press Club yesterday! Susan had selected some excerpts of great dialogues for us from fiction, non-fiction and prose poetry, and also gave us some fun exercises to stretch our own writerly muscles.

We also discussed what dialogues is NOT:

  • ·         Chit chat
  • ·         Aimless conversation
  • ·         Too much like real life
  • ·         Info dump

So, what is dialogue? It fulfills four main functions:

  • ·         Enhances characterization
  • ·         Moves the plot forward
  • ·         Contributes to tone and atmosphere of the work
  • ·         Conveys information

We also explored all that is unsaid and hidden in the dialogue, and how to leave room for the reader to interpret things.

Thank you to all the very keen participants, especially those who had to brave a long journey and the winter holiday traffic jams! Special thanks also to those who volunteered to share their poignant examples of goodbyes between parents and children or lovers. For a light-hearted touch, we also listened to several fun dialogues between two strangers on a plane at the start of a VERY long journey!

At noon we had two readings: poems from Emily Bilman’s recently published volume ‘Resilience’ and the intriguing opening of Carol Masciola’s YA novel ‘The Yearbook’.

Finally, thank you to all those who patiently sat through my waffling and explanations of how to use the website, Twitter and Facebook (and thank goodness for the technical support of Massimo!). I hope you get much pleasure from trying out all of the new features, and we hope to post a step-by-step guide very soon up on the website.


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