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Crafting Dynamic Dialogue by Cheryl St. John, Writer's Digest Writer's Digest Editors

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Chapter 8

How to Craft Flawless Dialogue

Elizabeth Sims

Among the many folktales I absorbed in my spongelike childhood, a particularly disturbing one stands out. A morality fable called “Toads and Diamonds,” it concerned a nasty widow who lived in a backwoods hut with her two daughters—one good, one awful just like her mother. The mother favored the one like her, and forced the sweet one to haul water every day from a faraway spring.

One day while the girl was drawing water, a bent old crone appeared and asked for a drink. The girl kindly gave it, whereupon the crone revealed herself to be a magical pixie who bestowed a charm: Whenever the good sister spoke, flowers and precious gems would fall from her lips. The girl ran home to share the news, ...

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