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

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Chapter 25

Conflict in Dialogue

James Scott Bell

“So tell me all about dialogue.”

“In two pages?”

“Hey, you’re the writer. Just do it!”

“Look, let’s talk about this later when—”

“We’ll talk about it now! Tell me about dialogue.”

“Sure. You’ve just helped. Your dialogue adds to the conflict.”

“How?”

“By arguing with me. Put two characters together who have different agendas. That should be revealed in their dialogue. In fact, that is one of the two primary goals of dialogue—to create conflict.”

“Oh yeah? What’s the other?”

“To reveal character. And you’re doing that, too. Our readers will get the idea you’re a rather brusque fellow.”

“Says you!”

“See? And you don’t talk like me. That’s another key. Each character should have his or her own way ...

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