Narrative Basics Lesson 4: Speech and Dialogue

Speech as action

Asking questions

Characters don’t know everything there is to know about the world. They often need to ask questions.

When Brook finally met me at the front door, she asked, “Hey, Mango, how’s my hair?”

I gave the same answer I gave every morning, “Perfect.”

“Are you sure?”

“Positive.”

Mango DelightFracaswell HymanSource

What characters asks questions about tells us what they think is important.

For example, in the snippet above, Brook is asking about her hair—but she’s not looking for facts about her hair, she's really looking for emotional reassurance.

“You’re a tiger! How can you be afraid of the dark?” I said.

“I’m not, I just can’t light one for myself.”

“Why not?”

He waved one massive paw at me. “No thumbs.”

“Where are we going?” I asked Carmen, as she gathered her things.

“It’s your birthday, I’m going to show you a good time.”

I groaned. “This isn’t going to be a repeat of last year is it?”

Carmen looked at me, puzzled. “What was wrong with last year?”

Your turn

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