Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Letter D in the Challenge- Dialog

Dialog or Dialogue depending on which spelling you use means conversation. This is face to face conversation or the written work in the form of conversation.

Dialog is a key element of stories written for children. Here are the tips about dialog that I am still learning to master:
  • Dialog must be realistic
  • Dialog must be purposeful
  • Dialog must move the story along
  • Dialog must be active or show action, emotion, and characteristics of the speaker.
  • Dialog must be strategically placed to not ruin or interrupt a story but to build it up and enhance the drama of the story
  • Dialog must be age appropriate and written like the character would be expected to speak in real life
That is a tall order for the author. A story for children must have conflict, a beginning, middle, and ending and now we have to write in dialog. Wow. And for my part, I like it to be written correctly so children reading it will learn from it.

How does a new writer learn this skill?

Read, practice, read, practice, and study how successful authors have accomplished this skill. It is not learned overnight. It does take a bit of learning. Practice writing dialog with your next story. Read it out loud to see if it flows and sounds natural. Put the piece away for a few days then re-read it to see if it still flows. Now check to see if it moves the story along. That's how you do it.

Ps. You must know your characters well to know how they will speak before you can attempt to write their conversations in the form of written dialog.

Writing prompt: D words for 3rd graders. Write a 200-400 word story with these D words and try to include a bit of dialog.

decisions, decorate, delight, diary, display, double,


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