Narrative Basics Lesson 4: Speech and Dialogue

Speech as action

Giving information

Often when characters speak, they are giving each other information (sometimes in response to a question.)

“Ahem! I didn’t toss Brooklyn’s phone in the sink. I dropped it. By accident. Because I was startled when she opened the door.”

Mango DelightFracaswell HymanSource

When characters share information, it tells us what they do and don’t know. It tells us what they want other people to know, and why they want them to know it.

For instance, in this snippet Mango is giving information about her actions. But why? Because she wants to set the record straight, and defend her reputation.

“I never said I was afraid for me. I said I was afraid for you. Because I’m a big scary tiger and you’re just a little boy with a stick that's on fire.”

“We have a soup special today,” he said. “Creamy pumpkin and ginger.”

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