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TITLE: One Word Leads to Another - Creating Realistic Dialogue
By
03/29/11
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This is a teaching article I created for my students to help them with writing dialogue. I teach creative writing at the local community centers in Florida.
Have you ever read dialogue in a novel that went on and on? You know what I mean, this kind of dialogue;

"James, I'm so mad at you. Why did you do that to me, you know how fragile I am right now with my father dying and my brother in jail and my job ending and how, oh how on earth could you possibly have done what you did? I don't think I could ever forgive you for this. You are just soooo¦.oh, God! I don't know what to say and why to me, of all people should you ever think of doing such a thing and oh my God! I can't take it."

So what did James do? And did you wonder if James passed out or something during this litany of his sins?

In real life conversation, James would have interrupted his girlfriend and defended himself. The dialogue would have gone something like this:

"James, I'm so mad at you. Why did you that to me. You know how fragile I am right now with my father dying and..."

"What did I do?" James shrugged his shoulders.

"Oh come on, with my brother in jail and all, you have the nerve to, how on earth could you?"

"How on earth could I what?" Now James nostrils flared as his temper got the best of him.

"I don"t think I could ever forgive you for this!" Jane huffed as she walked away.

"Forgive me for what? I still haven"t a clue what you're talking about and by the way don't walk away from me when I'm asking you a question! "He snapped.

"Oh really, then tell me why you did such a thing to me your girlfriend, why James, why?" Jane's sobbing became lower and James went to her to comfort her.

"Unless you tell me what you're talking about, I can't say I'm sorry."

"Oh you know what you did!" She huffed.

Now James looked wounded. "No, Jane, I don't know."

"You forgot to feed my cat when I left town to visit my brother and now he is sick."

"Oh for Pete sake, Jane! I did try to feed him, but he wouldn't eat. I even bought that silly freezer food you see on television. Didn't you see the container in the fridge?"

"Ohh! I thought that was one of your stupid quick meals. Oh, James I'm sooo sorry!"

James huffed, his eyes narrowing. "Yeah, well you should be sorry, I got to go!"

"James, please I'm sorry. Will I see you again?"

"Only if you never ask me to watch that stupid cat again!"

"It's a deal!" Jane smiled.

Now that is real dialogue, with bantering back and forth and the other person sometimes interrupting your train of thought. If you bring this type of dialogue into your novel, you will surely hold your readers at the edge of their seats, wondering what will happen next.

Honestly, isn't that the way we all have conversations in this day and age?
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