Romance Dialogue Exercise – Say it with Words


Time: 30-60 minutes


Action Step #1 – Dialogue bridges the gap in your story scenes. A story that is strictly narrative is boring. Your characters don’t ring true to the reader because you only get to see them from the point of view of the writer. The reader is told what to think about them instead of forming their own opinions.


One of the main points for writers to remember is to “show, don’t tell.” That can be accomplished with dialogue.


Write a scene with a teenager and a bad-tempered old man. They can be anywhere – in the grocery store, on the cross-town bus – they just need to come in contact with each other in some way. Write the scene without dialogue. Is it easy or difficult? Will a reader want to read more of your story?


Now, write the same scene with dialogue. How does it open up? What would these two say to each other in their current situation?


Action Step #2 – There are many aspects to dialogue. It is a versatile writing tool. Dialogue can add credence to the setting and time period of your story.


Create a scene that takes place in the Southern United States in the 1950s. How will the dialogue be written to reflect the times? Correct dialect in writing dialogue adds authenticity to your characters. Research on culture of a time period extends to their language when writing stories and novels.


Action Step #3 – It is a real possibility that all of your characters will wind up sounding the same. Yikes! That goes back to character development. Who is this character? There are certain basic types of character personalities – Artist, Giver, Adventurer, and Reformer. There are many others. The point is that who they are determines how they will speak in different situations. It also sheds light on their value system.


Pretend you are a teacher and you ask your students a question like “Do you believe in the afterlife?” You can choose your own question. The point here is to hear the responses of your different characters. Take the characters from one or several of your stories. Have them answer the question and compare responses. If you know your characters, their responses will differ based on personality.