Basic Rules for Dialogue writing!
Definition and characteristics of a good dialogue
Dialogue is a conversation between two or more persons. Dialogue writing is a useful form of composition since it enables a student to express his views in a natural and colloquial manner.
Dialogue-Writing is a lively Art:
Dialogue-Writing is a lively art. One should write as one speaks. When one speaks with a friend or an acquaintance, one does not speak in a polished or sophisticated style. There should be living in one’s speech.
(a) Qualities of good dialogue
Good dialogue has the following qualities:
A good dialogue must have natural and conversational language. The students should not use learned words, strange idioms, or long quotations in dialogue.
Hamid: (Rising), Hello Saleem! So glad to see you. Won’t take a chair?
Saleem: (Sitting), I just dropped in to wish a farewell to you to the foreign land. Are you leaving for London tomorrow?
Hamid: Yes; I am bound for London tomorrow. It is so kind of you to come here and congratulate me on my success.
The language used in the conversation mentioned above is quite natural, convincing, and simple.
A good dialogue must be lively and forceful. In order to make a dialogue forceful and lively, we must take care of these things.
- We must introduce digressions and side issues in our dialogue.
Suppose two friends are discussing the weather. If we make them talk about the weather all the time, the dialogue will grow dull. Introduce little bits of digressions. Allow the two characters to shoot off to other topics now and then.
- There should be plenty of interruptions and jerks. One should not always finish one’s sentence before another begins.
Saleem: Hello Hamid! Bothering about the books, as usual, come man, shut up your books and come. Let us go out to the garden, it is fine weather.
Hamid: I am sorry, I cannot do that. The examination is drawing so near and I want to utilize every minute I can get for study.
Slaeem: Oh! Hang all examinations. It has started raining outside. The clouds have gathered in the sky. It is a lovely sight to enjoy.
Hamid: Rains have always spoiled my sense of joy and humor. Last year my uncle slipped on a road during a rainy day and died by accident. Since then, I have always hated rains.
Saleem: Strange are the ways of God to man. Man is helpless before his destiny. We should not blame the weather for it.
Hamid: That may be so, but this idea has clung to my mind.
Slaeem: I wonder, how superstitious you are! You must come out to enjoy the beauty of thick dark clouds and light showers. You will soon be relieved of your sick ideas.
Hamid: Oh! Well; your point of view is decidedly convincing and natural. I must come out to share your company. (The dialogue on weather deals with digression when Hamid talks about the death of his uncle. Digression does not mean that the main topic should be out of mind.
Basic Rule for Dialogue writing
The gestures and movements of the speaker must be indicated
When a man talks, he does not talk with his tongue only. His whole body talks. He makes easy, explanatory uneasy gestures. He walks with his feet. He nods his head and makes movements with his hands.
Bano: Dear, I am so thankful, you have come! I was worried that you might be delayed due to the huge volume of traffic.
Siama: (Sitting in the chair), How could I forget your birthday? I was late because dear mother fell ill all at once. How comfortable and cozy your room is. I wish I could have one such in my house.
(With the radiation of joy on her face)
Bano: Thank you, for your liking of my room. Please, take this chair, that one is not comfortable.
(She points out to an arm chair covered with black satin)
The gestures and movements make the dialogue lively.
Basic Rule for Dialogue writing
The tones of the various speakers voice should be indicated if possible
This will add realism and liveliness to the dialogue. In a written speech, we cannot hear the speakers. So the tone of their voices should be indicated, so that we may understand the spirit of the dialogue more clearly.
Hamid: Oh, bad luck! “You failed once again”. Destiny has played havoc with you.
Ahmad: Oh, no, I do not curse my fate. I did not work hard this time to deliver any good in the examination.
Hamid: Um! Very good of you to say so, your approach towards life is realistic and impartial.
The use of the word’ Oh; ‘bad luck’, ‘Oh, no’ and ‘Um’ add to the realism of the dialogue.
One should make one’s dialogue dramatic and this can be done by adding a good deal of human interest to it. In other words, the characteristics, mannerism, or peculiarities of every. Speaker be hinted at. The language spoken by a tonga wala, a farmer and a labourer must be different from that of a scholar and a doctor. The dialogues spoken by them must reveal the character or personality of the speaker.
Master: Hang the almirah. You must have misplaced it. Did you not stuff the clothes, dishes and books in the wardrobe in haste on the arrival of the guest last night?
Servant: No, sir, not at all, sir! I did not keep them in the wardrobe.
Master: (Withe face hot red with anger) be off, from here. You are a scoundrel of the blackest dye you have always deprived me of my good and costly things.
Servant: Pardon me sir, be kind to search your book once again.
(The conversation given above clearly shows the personality of the servant and the master.)
(B) How to write a good dialogue
The dialogues are of two kinds:
- Dialogue dealing with controversial subjects.
- Dialogue dealing with interest and shared interest.
Before writing any type of dialogue, the following thing must be noted down:
- Think a little over the subject. If it is a controversial subject, jot down on a piece of paper. The pros and cons of that subject. One speaker should represent one point of view and the other speaker should oppose him. Arrange the pros and cons carefully. If the subject is just an interesting topic of discussion, jot down the point you are going to deal with.
- Think out the character of each of your speakers. Do not let the characters of your dialogue turn out to be mere talking machines. Each man should be given some mannerism or peculiarities. To do this you must have in your mind a clear idea of the way in which each character is to express his views. For instance, a scholar, a poet, or a professor will definitely speak in a different way from a laborer and servant.
- Do not make dialogue the monopoly of one speaker.
- Let one speaker sometimes interrupt the other in real conversation. One person sometimes interrupts the other, and breaks in on what he is saying of such interruptions are sparingly used. They add to its naturalness.
- Use, exclamatory words in your dialogues.
- My word! Good heavens! “you do not say o”, really?” “well”
“How nice”, “Splendid”, “Excellent” “Well done!”, “Good, Very good”, “Wonderful”.
- Anger or irritation:
“Confound it”, “Bother”, “Hang it”, “My God!”
Pray, sir, please; well, sir; That’s all right; yes, of course; thanks, sorry; Good luck to you.
Ah; I am afraid; curse it.
- Bring your dialogue in an interesting way so that the reader’s attention may be caught from the start. The conversation should lead to some definite conclusion. It should not end abruptly.
Basic Rules for Dialogue writing
Examples of some dialogues:
Imaginary Dialogue between Two Friends
Ashraf: (Rising) Hello, Hamid, so glad to see you. Won’t you take a chair?
Hamid: (Sitting) I just dropped in to wish you a good journey to London. Are you leaving for London tomorrow?
Ashraf: No, I shall leave for London after a few days. Some of the formalities for air travel are yet to be executed. It is kind of you to drop in.
Hamid: That’s all right. But what have you decided after all? Would you do a Ph.D. in English in London or take up some higher course in Business Management? (Looking around) What comfortable room you have?
Ashraf: Thank you for your appreciation of my room. Father wants me to try for Ph.D. in English but I am really interested in M.B.A.
Hamid: Oh, well, you cannot disagree that Ph.D. in English will give you better chances of employment. Though you are quite well-off, one has to think of this aspect of the problem too.
Ashraf: You are correct in your views. I shall try to do both courses. I am not interested to come back to the country soon.
Father wants to see me as qualified a man as possible.
Hamid: That is a good idea. If you do the courses, you are sure to get an honorable job.
Ashraf: I think so, too.
Hamid: I hope, you will see all the important places of London and let me know through correspondence about the beautiful sights of the city.
Ashraf: Yes, of course, I shall have enough time and opportunity to see the beautiful and historical places of London. I shall try to share my experience of visiting those places with you through letters. I may also send you the snaps of those, places.
Hamid: Lucky man, I wish I had your means to go about as I liked! You must be feeling very excited and all that.
Ashraf: Of course, I am very excited these days. But sometimes, I become a little sad about the poor health of my mother. She is not particularly well these days. It is very painful to leave her in that condition.
Hamid: Oh, no, you should not worry about her health. She would recover soon by the grace of God. You should not feel worried about her. You can visit your house during every summer vacation.
Ashraf: Surely, I have decided to come back to my house during summer vacation.
Hamid: I hope you must write to your old friends, during your stay in London.
Ashraf: Certainly, you will definitely get my letters regularly. But why are you getting up?
Hamid: I should not take your time any more. You must be busy packing
Well, I wish you the best of luck.
Ashraf: Thank you. Goodbye. (They shake hands.)
A dialogue between two girls on the choice of profession.
Salma: How are you? I am very happy to meet you today. Do you know that the result of B.A. examination is going to be out tomorrow?
Najma: I am quite well. Yes, I have also read in the newspaper that the result of B.A. examination is being announced by the University tomorrow. How many marks do you expect to get in the examination?
Salma: Well, I attempted all the papers quite well. I hope to get very good marks. What have you decided to become after passing the examination?
Najma: I also hope to get very good marks. There is not much to be decided in my case. My father wants me to become a teacher. I am also interested in teaching. I shall get admission to the teacher’s training college at Lahore.
Salma: Do you think you will like teaching?
Najma: It is not much a case of likes or dislikes. My parents are my well wishers and they have chosen for me a good profession. I also like teaching. Teaching is a noble profession. Would you like to become a teacher?
Salma: I also like teaching but I am not interested to become a teacher. I have neither the patience nor the knowledge to become a good teacher.
Najma: This is a truthful admission of facts on your part. I appreciate this habit of yours. What would you like to become in your future life?
Salam: I want to do M.B.A. I am interested to do job in a bank.
Najam: This is a good idea. Your father is a leading businessman in the city. You can get a job in a good bank without much difficulty.
Salma: No, I do not depend on the efforts of my father in getting a job. You know, I am a hardworking and painstaking girl. I depend on my ability, I hope to get the job on merit.
Najma: The merit system in Pakistan has failed. However, a few talented students get a job on the basis of a good education. You must do your M.B.A from some foreign country.
Salma: I have chalked out a plan to go to the United States and obtain my degree of M.B.A from some prestigious University.
Najma: May you succeed in your plan. Please also pray for my welfare and prosperity.
Salma: May God helps all of us in building our future careers. May Allah bless us with happiness, peace, and prosperity.
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