Day Three – Wednesday, June 21, 2017 – Say What?

Local fiction writer, Bob Morris, says one of the most interesting ways to open a story is in the middle of a conversation.

Many memoir writers shy away from writing conversations, called dialogue, because we can’t remember the exact spoken words, but that’s not what dialogue is. Dialogue is reconstructed speech. It is giving a person in our story a voice based on what we remember was said, what we know about the person speaking, what we took from the situation.

Let’s use Morris’ technique and start a story with spoken words. This could be a conversation from long ago or one you overheard recently. If nothing comes to mind, use one of a writer’s greatest tools—eavesdropping. We all do it whether we intend to or not. If need be, go to a park or cafe and do a little creative listening.

Then open your story with at least three or four lines of dialogue. Include actions and gestures that reveal characteristics of those you are writing about. Chronicle the story from your life or make up a scenario for the people you observed. Ready? Go.


photo credit: Tim Morgan speech via photopin (license)

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