There is a huge difference between filling a page with words to meet a page requirement, and utilizing dialogue in order to enrich your story and to accentuate meaning. The comic strip above is a clear indication of how NOT to dialogue. By using specific language such as dialogue to expand our writing, we must understand that in order to successful, dialogue must do more than just duplicate real speech.
Dialogue when done right, brings characters to life and adds interest, by consists of the most exciting, most interesting, most emotional, and most dramatic words.
In order to relate dialoging to my ENC 1101 class I handed out blank copies of the dialogue comic strip [shown above]. I then ask my students to consider a conversation between themselves and another main character- a conversation that has helped to define their relationship with literacy. For many this conversation took place in their tension filled moments leading up to the narrative’s climax. As I provided blank comic strip figure, they could insert facial expressions, draw in additional props or backgrounds, and even if there is no response in some segments, they could put “thought shots”. After giving them a few minutes to create their “masterpieces,” I randomly selected a few students to come to the projector and narrate their dialogue. Next, they would then have to explain to the class why they added this dialogue and to place it in context. Their peers would then provide them with questions or feedback on how to ensure that that dialogue adequately fit the context they have shared. Such things as tone, accent, and voice were discussed as a class. I found this activity to be very successful, and a creative way to get the students to participate in a writing exercise.