Revising by Using Specific Language- Dialoguing
• Identify dialogue in a novel.
• Understand that dialogue is what happens when two or more characters talk to one another.
• Understand that dialogue is set apart from the rest of the text in a novel with quotation marks.
1. Think about the key people. Narratives include people whose actions play an important role in the story. In
your literacy narrative, you are probably one of those people. A good way to develop your understanding of
the people in your narrative is to write about them:
a. Describe each person in a paragraph or so. What do the people look like? How do they dress? How do they
speak? Quickly? Slowly? With an accent? Do they speak clearly, or do they mumble? Do they use any
distinctive words or phrases? You might begin by describing their movements, their posture, their
bearing, and their facial expressions. Do they have a distinctive scent? [Snap shots- showing as opposed
b. Recall (or imagine) some characteristic dialogue. A good way to bring people to life and move a story
along is with dialogue to let readers hear them rather than just hearing about them. Try writing six to
ten lines of dialogue between two people in your narrative. If you can’t remember an actual
conversation, make up one that could have happened. (After all, you are telling the story, and you get
to decide how it is to be told.) If you don’t recall a conversation, try to remember (and write down)
some of the characteristic words or phrases that the people in your narrative used.
2. Discuss the following points on how to write good dialogue:
a. Dialogue is a conversation between two or more people.
b. Dialogue is essential to fiction writing.
c. Dialogue brings characters to life and adds interest.
d. Dialogue must do more than just duplicate real speech.
e. Writing dialogue consists of the most exciting, most interesting, most emotional, and most dramatic
3. Do dialogue handout [see dialogue handout in dialoging post]
a. Instruct students to read their drafts.
b. Look for places dialogue would enhance the quality of their writing.
c. Fill in the following three blank “Comic Strip Worksheets”
i. On the first one, write a conversation between your main character [yourself] and another main
character. This may be the villain or the hero in your literacy narrative that has helped to define
your relationship with language —these characters will probably have a lot of things to say to each
other that will keep a reader’s attention! Remember that your dialogue should either move your story
forward or help your reader get to know your characters.
ii. On the other two, either you can write more conversations between your main characters, or you can
bring in your supporting characters.
d. Ask several students to read their added dialogue to the class and explain why they added it.
e. Ask several students to read their dialogue before and after removing dialogue tags.
4. As students create their dialogue, write the following functions for dialogue on the board:
• Provide Information
• Describe a Place or Character
• Create a Sense of Time
• Create Suspense or Conflict
• Move the Story Forward
• Reveal a Character’s Thoughts
• Summarize What Has Happened
• Create a Sense of Place