This is a workshop handout for a beginner’s class Michael taught at the Writing Center in the mid-nineties. “For most readers, I expect it will be obvious material. But still: It’s got some points to make, even if it veers into the pedantic, and there may be something of use here for some fledgling writers.”
Download: Printable version of Dialogue – Some Basics
1. Why use it?
Dialogue dramatizes character. (Action also dramatizes character.) It allows the reader to hear and see how the character expresses herself. We can learn her level of education, how she feels about herself, how she relates to others, and more through her word choice, her syntax, her tone. If she is talking about something close to her heart, this is especially telling.
And dialogue (characters speaking) is more dynamic … [more]