Dialogue Exercises

I developed these for one of my teaching classes. I don’t think I’ve ever used them.

Dialogue Exercise 1

Painting a Scene Using Characters’ Voices

Imagine two people or characters. Place them in a setting or a scene that allows them to be talking to each other. They may be involved in another activity also (gardening, jogging, eating, etc.) Create a dialogue using the third person objective point of view.

Start with a short declarative sentence that describes the setting.

Character A: a line of dialogue of six words or less

Character B: no spoken response-the narrator describes gesture by B

A: a line of dialogue six words or less

B: two complete sentences of dialogue

A: two words of dialogue

B: a line of dialogue ten words or more

A: no spoken response – the narrator describes a noise made by A

B: a line of dialogue six words or less

Narrator: a description of the body language of A and B in relation to each other

A: a line of dialogue beginning with “I remember…”

B: a line of dialogue commenting on something in the setting

A: a line of dialogue that is a question

B: a line of dialogue beginning with “I used to believe…”

Narrator: a description of an object that is a part of the setting

A: line of dialogue that is a question

B: no spoken response – the narrator describes B handling something in the setting

A: a line of dialogue beginning with “You never…” or “I never…”

B: no spoken response – narrator describes a gesture by B

Dialogue Exercise 2

Word Association Dialogue Exercise

You have been given information on werewolves and vampires. Quickly read through the information and compile a list of words, no more than fifteen with roughly half being about vampires and half being about werewolves, that you think are more popularly associated with werewolves and vampires. Then rewrite the list in alphabetical order, using the first letter of the word only. Write a dialogue in which the words from your list occur in the order on your alphabetized list. Your dialogue may not have more sentences than there are words on your list.

Dialogue Exercise 3 – Alphabet Dialogue

In-Class or Done as Homework; In-Class as a Group, Homework as a Group or as Individuals

At the top of a piece of paper write the alphabet. Write a dialogue between two people. You don’t know these people or where they are or what they are doing. Do not hamper yourself by beginning the activity with assumptions about character, setting, time, etc. Write a dialogue, using each letter of the alphabet as the first word in the sentence. Begin with the letter A and proceed through the alphabet until you reach the letter Z. If doing this in class the letters Q, X, and Z do not need to be used as the first letter in the first word of the sentence, but they must appear somewhere in the first word. If doing this at home Q, X, and Z must be the first letter in the first word of the sentence, as you will be able to use dictionaries for aid.

Once completed, reread your dialogue several times. What can you tell about the two characters? How are they related to each other? What situation are they in? Is there a story, or just a dialogue? If there is a story, what is happening in it?

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