Write A Story In Dialogue

We’re changing tack today: writing in dialogue!

The Prompt

Write a story containing only dialogue

  • You can write this in play format if you like, using each speaker’s name at the beginning of the line, but I would discourage you from using stage directions.
  • Try to convey everything from emotion to movement the setting in the characters’ words alone.
  • If you’re not using play formatting, limit the story to a dialogue between two characters, to keep things straightforward.
  • You could use the two characters you’ve been working on for the past two days since you already have their voices and a sense of who they are. Put them in a room together and see what happens!
  • As well as conveying setting, emotion and movement through words, concentrate on making each speaker sound different. If one is witty and speaks in one-liners, let the other be long-winded and speak in complex phrases with sub-clauses.
  • You can vary these rhythms throughout the story for each character. On character could start relaxed — using relaxed language rhythms — and become gradually more upset — using short choppy language, while the other one goes the other way. Or you could let one character go through a bell curve of these rhythms: starting upset, getting more relaxed, getting upset again; or vice versa.
  • A good way into a story like this is to have two characters discussing something, having an argument, or needing to reach a decision about something. Each should have a slightly opposing view. It can be more powerful emotionally if the two characters actually like each other and want there to be no conflicts between them.
  • You can resolve the story, or one character can storm off leaving everyone shouting “Where you going?” It’s entirely up to you.

Leave a comment to let us know how this went. Was it easy? Did it feel almost-impossible? Did your dialogue sound realistic?

21 thoughts on “Write A Story In Dialogue”

  1. Wouldn’t you know it, the day after I wrote a story using practically all dialog, the prompt from Julie is for a story written…you guessed it. All dialog. So I decided to write one that’s all-dialog, just only with the reader hearing one side of it. I hope it works. Drew from my nascent reporter days for the setting and character(s).
    http://wp.me/s1AR9N-deadline

  2. I love writing dialogue, I find that once I’ve thought of my two characters and started the dialogue, their characters grow as the conversation hots up. I chose a couple in a car; Anna and Roger driving over to a friend’s party. Things start off a bit shaky and descend from there. I need to revisit it though to make the dialogue more focused towards the conclusion.

  3. May 9th, 2016- used this prompt today. Love the Ugly Duckling prompt and story, but too pooped and not enough time to do it justice. Had fun dialoguing with 2 ‘dudes’ – and used the 100 Colorful Words to use in place of said.

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