Monday, April 12, 2010

My monologue about dialogue

At a writing workshop held by the Kenosha Writer’s Guild, we discussed and practiced writing dialogue. I’ve always believed that “dialogue” only referred to the words the characters speak. In other words, anything in quotation marks.

However, to writers at least, dialogue includes so much more. For example, dialogue can include nonverbal communication, gestures, noises without words, movements, etc. etc.

At this workshop, I was hoping to learn how to incorporate descriptions of characters’ movements and appearance with their spoken words. Also, how to know when to use tags like “he said” and when to leave them out. But, like everything else, there isn’t really one tried and true formula for writing dialogue.

But to normal people, non-writers, what does “dialogue” mean?

Found in classical Greek and Indian literature, “dialogue” is the literary form used by Plato. As a narrative, philosophical and didactic device, it taught ideas through a sense of voice and communication. The more modern meaning of “dialogue” refers to a conversation between two or more people.

A “dialogue” can also be an exchange of ideas, such as political or religious views, intended to result in some type of agreement. Finally there is what is referred to as “musical dialogue” wherein two or more parts suggest a conversation.

And, of course, a “monologue” is a conversation you have with yourself, usually on stage as an actor in a play. Or typing on a word processing program…

1 comment:

  1. Hi KM-

    I finally posted my "dialogue exercise" from the workshop -- or

    Wordbabble is very fun - thanks for sending the link!

    See you at the next KWG meeting - Theresa


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