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Ages: 13-14
Dialogue between two characters
Amy Sparrow (mod)
4/21/2017


Gemma asked for advice on how to write dialogue between two characters without having to repeat "my mom said" over and over. I have a few thoughts.

First of all, some writing terms in case anyone reading isn't familiar with what they mean (though I'm guessing you all know most or all of these--but just in case!).
*Dialog* [or Dialogue] is any words or conversions that are written out exactly as the character said them.
*Dialog tag* is the he said or she replied part that says who is talking.
*Narration* is the part of writing that describes what people are doing or what they look like, etc.

When just two characters are talking back and forth, you can write a tag on just the first two sentences and then only write the dialog. Just be sure you have a new paragraph every time the other person starts talking. The readers will know every-other-comment is the other character. Example:

____________
"Amber, come here!" my mom called.

"Coming!" I said as I ran into the room. "I'm going to clean my room in a minute, I promise."

"Your teacher just called. She said you didn't turn in your homework."

"Oh no, I forgot. It's still in my bag."

"That's the third time this month you've forgotten. What do we need to do to help remind you when you get to school?"
_______________

Here you can tell clearly who is talking even tho it doesn't say every time. Another thing you can do is use narration to describe what the characters look like or what they are doing instead of using tags. (Show, don't tell.)

_________
"Amber, come here!" Mom's voice had that ring to it that I knew meant trouble.

"Coming!" Dropping my book, I scrambled up and ran into the kitchen. "I'm going to clean my room in a minute, I promise."

"Your teacher just called. She said you didn't turn in your homework."

"Oh no, I forgot." I grabbed my backpack and dug around, finally finding the paper crumpled at the bottom. "It's still in my bag." And a little worse for wear... I tried to smooth it out.

"That's the third time this month you've forgotten." Her hands went to her hips. "What do we need to do to help remind you to turn in homework when you get to school?"
_______________

If you do decide to use dialog tags, experts recommend sticking to the simple ones like "said." Try to avoid fancy tags like "she expostulated." Tags are one area where you don't want to draw attention to your writing. If you keep them plain and simple, readers won't notice they are there and can focus on the action.

In Gemma's example, the story is written in first person so the main character is always I and me. That means you can write the mom as "her" sometimes without it being confusing who you mean.

I hope that helps!
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Zielle S.   Better Than the Best -Awesome!
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