Intern Marc reflects on how he learned to write dialogue.
One of the great aspects of writing a story to me is dialogue. This is because there are really no true boundaries when it comes to dialogue. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure you could make the same case for numerous points when it comes to writing a story, but, for me, dialogue seems to be the most natural, and therefore the most fluid.
Now I didn’t always have this perception when it came to dialogue. It was a struggle for me from the start. I often asked myself, “Does a person really talk like this?” Or “Do people even talk about this subject anymore?” My comfort with dialogue developed fairly late. It was during EN 219, Advanced Creative Writing, with Professor Julie Wakeman-Linn, last fall semester, when I actually started “to get it.”
Professor Wakeman-Linn gave us an exercise in which we had to go out and jot down a few pieces of other people’s conversations. Basically, eavesdropping. Then she asked us to write a scene based on how the conversation would have continued. The goal was to familiarize ourselves with spoken language and dialogue, but the one thing that I walked away with was this: You may never know what is going to make for an interesting discussion. So just go out and listen, the natural results may surprise you.