Writing Exercises

Author Aerobics: Dialogue Puncutation Exercise

Are your running shoes on? I will post the Author Aerobics challenges on Mondays from now on, to allow time for ideas to marinate, and more time to write!

Dialogue Punctuation Exercise

This week’s challenge focuses on the mechanics of dialogue. I don’t pay as much attention to punctuation as I should. Here’s a chance to drill in the rules via practice.

Include the following types of dialogue  into a scene (1000 words or less) that incorporates the theme “spring”:

Using a comma to denote who is speaking
“I’ve assigned more homework,” she said.
He replied, “I can’t wait.”

Separating action and dialogue
“I really need the practice.” She cracked her knuckles in anticipation.

Using exclamation marks and questions
“How’s your schedule this week?” he asked.
“It’s pretty busy but I think I can manage!”

Using dashes and ellipses
“But it’s so hard to concentrate when it’s sunny–”
“That’s no excuse!” she interrupted. “You should see how packed my schedule…”

Interrupting dialogue with a dialogue tag
“I’m not sure, ” she said with a frown, “that I’ll be able to come up with something good this time.”

Delivering multi-paragraph quotes (a soliloquy, a monologue)
“This is all just an exercise. Write whatever comes and don’t worry if it’s good or bad.
“I think that’s how some of the most creative writing comes about.”

Interrupting multi-paragraph quotes
“When in doubt,” he said, “just write whatever comes to you first. We’re just playing with words here.
“If you’re really stuck, you can always throw in a kitten. Writer’s seem to like kittens. What is it with writers and cats?
“I know a few writers who are dog people too,” she interjected.
“Writers post cat photos on Twitter every day. I just can’t figure it out.”

Dialogue Resources:

If you participate please be sure to add a link to your writing in the comments or paste it in here. I’ll have my piece up on Friday.

Spring… the season, or the coil? Thinking, stewing.


Post Exercise Recap! Here’s who answered the challenge! First is a little taste of fantasy: warriors have been called to battle against the unending winter. Next we have another tale of the seasons, with a bloody twist.

A Taste of Fantasy by Stephen Watkins
Spring by T.S. Bazelli

6 Comments

  1. Also, count me as one of the dog-lovers. Nothing against cats – I love cats, too, I just happen to love dogs a tiny tiny bit more. And I happen to have a dog. And I happen to have a number of family members who are varying degrees of allergic to cats.

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