Writing Assignment Focusing on Dialogue
Write a first-person point of view scene that is primarily driven by dialogue. This means the narrator telling the story is part of the story. The narrator will use first-person pronouns: I, me, my, we, us, our.
Here are some dialogue prompts to consider:
- “Who put this in my backpack?”
- “I can’t forgive her.”
- “You were in a car accident.”
- “I’ve been waiting three hours.”
- “I found it buried in the woods.”
- “Guess whose picture I saw on the front page of The Daily Times?”
- “I haven’t spoken to my dad in five years.”
You get the idea, right? Brainstorm a list of dialogue statements, create a variation of one of the above, or use one of the above ideas to write a story.
Length and Details
The scene should be brief–two pages–not a long story. However, it should also feel complete to the reader when it closes. It should have a beginning, middle, and an end. It should have an arc (climax) like Freytag’s plot chart. That means, your main character encounters a conflict.
To help keep your scene brief, don’t include a lot of characters. One or two characters besides the narrator is enough to work with.
Use dialogue to move the story forward. The dialogue may increase suspense, show readers a trait(s) of the character(s), and/or change the situation or conflict the characters are in.
Be sure to include descriptions of time and place, so that the setting functions as a backdrop for the protagonist to face whatever conflict he/she will encounter.
Be careful to show the scene not tell it. After you’ve written your first draft, go back and find the places where you need to show more vs. telling.
Final Draft Requirements
Follow these instructions for typing the final draft:
- The scene must be typed in a Microsoft Word file (.docx)
- It must have one-inch margins, be double-spaced, and typed in a 12 pt. readable font like Times New Roman, Calibri, or Arial.
- Indent paragraphs one tab, which is five to seven spaces.
- In the upper left-hand corner of page 1, type your first and last name, the name of the class, the date the assignment is due, and the assignment name. Example:
ENGL 1465 – Creative Writing
Writing Assignment: Setting Story
- In the upper right-hand corner on all the pages, insert page numbers in the header. Type your last name in front of the page number. Example: Johnson 1.
- Be sure to give your story a title. It should be centered over the text of the entire story on page 1. Do not bold, enlarge, or punctuate the title. Capitalize the first word and each important word in the title.